Chute Deployed in Dallas Cirrus Crash

Engine trouble after depture: NTSB investigating.

The pilot of a Cirrus that crashed shortly after departure from the popular Dallas-area GA airport in Addison reported a rough running engine after takeoff for a cross country flight to Houston. The pilot asked for a return to the airport. The NTSB reported that the pilot attempted two ILS approaches but called off the approaches both times. The airplane crashed after the second aborted attempt while maneuvering. A passenger on the flight was killed in the crash and the private pilot and a second passenger were seriously injured.

While the official weather report sounds like marginal VFR conditions, the actual weather was worse, with ground “haze” and low scud, making visibilities intermittent. A witness reported seeing the Cirrus coming out of the clouds level and at very low altitude before reentering the clouds.

The whole-airplane recovery parachute was found deployed at the crash site, near railroad tracks not far from the airport. No one on the ground was injured. It is not clear from the NTSB report when the pilot activated the chute, perhaps because investigators are not yet clear on that timing. Based on the severity of the damage to the airplane -- there was a ground scar, indicating a violent impact, and a wing and two prop blades were separated from the airplane at the crash site -- it is possible that the chute was deployed at the last moment or activated due to the force of the crash. It is also not clear whether the chute slowed the airplane, lessening the forces in the crash. The NTSB will surely look into all of those questions as it conducts its investigation.

Investigators say that they have recovered three memory data chips from the airplane, including chips from the PFD and MFD, as well as a main data chip.

The airplane, a Cirrus SR22T, was part of the PlaneSmart! shared ownership program. The company is assisting the NTSB with the investigation.