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NTSB Prelim: Cirrus SR22

He “Just Happened To Look Up” And Saw That The Airplane Was Flying Directly Toward A Large Pine Tree

Location: Martinsville, VA Accident Number: ERA24LA007
Date & Time: October 11, 2023, 21:30 UTC Registration: N253BC
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22 Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On October 11, 2023, about 2130 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR-22, N253BC, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Martinsville, Virginia. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot refueled the airplane, completed a preflight inspection, updated the airplane’s electronic flight instrument system, and departed Blue Ridge Airport (MTV), Martinsville, Virginia, for a night, visual flight rules cross-country flight to Oklahoma. The pilot reported that on takeoff, after he established a positive rate of climb at an airspeed of 95 kts, he retracted the flaps, which had been set to 50°. 

Shortly thereafter, he reported that the primary flight display blinked off momentarily and then reappeared with a “Taxiway! Taxiway!” banner. He looked at the multifunction flight display and noted that it was “completely orange” and appeared to depict an autopilot track turning directly left, which made him wonder if the autopilot was engaged. He further reported that it was “an extremely dark evening” and he “just happened to look up” and saw that the airplane was flying directly toward a large pine tree. He attempted to avoid the tree; however, the airplane struck trees to the left of the departure end of the runway. The pilot was able to maintain control of the airplane and the engine was developing full power as it continued to climb to the traffic pattern altitude. The pilot stated that the airplane was very “shaky,” and he was unable to see the altitude on the primary flight display. He was not certain if the autopilot was engaged, so he repeatedly pressed the autopilot disconnect button. He circled back toward MTV, trimmed the airplane for landing, and made a safe landing on runway 13, after which he immediately cleared the runway and shut off the engine.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings. The inspector also observed that the pitch trim was set in the full nose-up position. 

The airplane was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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