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Dramatic Video: Fiery Cirrus Crash…with Minor Injuries

Sometimes, the report doesn’t tell the whole story. This time it’s not even close.

Dramatic video has surfaced of a crash that, if you had only scanned the NTSB preliminary report, you wouldn’t think was a very big deal. First, it says the pilot only received minor injuries. Secondly, the report states that no Board investigator traveled to the scene of the accident.

But after you see the video, you might feel differently.

The accident happened last November at the private Mountain Air Country Club strip near Burnsville, NC, and video of the accident sequence recently appeared on the YouTube channel “What You Haven’t Seen.” It shows a 2003 model Cirrus SR22 on final approach to the club’s 2,900-foot runway 32, seemingly configured for landing and in clear weather. The approach appears stable at first, but the aircraft’s sink rate gradually increases, followed by a severe drop of the left wing from a bit more than one wingspan above the runway. The drop proves unrecoverable and the plane cartwheels into trees and a restroom facility for the golf course.

Considering the fireball that ensues, still photos of the wreckage show the Cirrus to be incredibly intact and free of charring. This suggests that the bulk of the remaining fuel was somehow separated from the aircraft when its wings were shattered by contact with the trees.

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While we have no idea if this played a part in the accident, an interesting note appears on the sectional chart just south of the airport. It reads, “CAUTION: Severe turbulence may be encountered in the vicinity of Mount Mitchell.” Mount Mitchell is a nearby peak about 1,000 feet above the airport’s elevation, and the highest part of a ridge that passes completely across the approach end of the runway.

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