Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Counting On The Instructor

How long should an instructor wait before correcting a student’s mistake?

When the airplane didn't return to its base of operation, the operator called the FAA, who started a search. The county sheriff's department located the wreckage the next morning.

Data downloaded from the airplane's multifunction display (MFD) and primary flight display (PFD) showed that at 2:13:30 p.m., the maximum recorded airspeed was 115 knots with a ground speed of 124 knots. The engine rpm was reduced from 2,440 rpm to 1,840 rpm at 2:13:34. At 2:17:10, the airplane was at 3,257 feet, heading 078 degrees.

The airplane began to pitch downward with an indicated airspeed of 60 knots and a ground speed of 57 knots. At 2:17:19, the airplane had descended down to 3,138 feet on a heading of 082 degrees with an indicated airspeed of 75 knots and a ground speed of 63 knots. The engine rpm decreased to 1,050 rpm at 2:17:28, and the airplane was heading 081 degrees at 50 knots indicated airspeed and ground speed. At 2:17:29, the airplane began a 13-degree, left-wing down roll before it reversed to the right.

The right roll reached 28 degrees before it reversed back to the left. At 2:17:34, the airplane was at 3,131 feet heading 064 degrees, the engine rpm had increased to 2,500 rpm, the indicated airspeed was 54 knots, and the ground speed was 52 knots. The airplane entered a left-hand spin at 2:17:35. The data ended at 2:18:02.

The flight instructor, 23, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot receiving instruction, 30, also held a flight instructor certificate with the same ratings. The instructor had 1,299.1 hours as a flight instructor, of which 473.4 hours were in the SR20.

The pilot receiving instruction had 175.6 total hours with 132.2 in the Cirrus SR20. This was his second dual local flight with the instructor. The flight had been scheduled to take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The training syllabus for the flight included takeoff and climb procedures, traffic pattern operations, operations of systems in flight and air work, including slow flight, stalls, emergency and abnormal procedures.

Weather at Sanford was VFR with wind from 150 degrees at six knots, visibility 10 miles, clear sky, temperature 21 degrees C., dew point 5 degrees C.

Investigators determined that the airplane's ballistic parachute system had been activated and the activation handle was separated from the handle holder. The handle holder bracket was bent downward and the activation cable was separated from the cabin roof. Activation cable continuity was confirmed from the handle to the firing pin actuator.


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