The public release of the NSTB probable cause report on the Indianapolis, IN, fatal accident caught a lot of COPA members by surprise. Intense discussion on the COPA forum in the thread "Autopilot induced stall" explored many aspects of this report and the underlying accident.
The completeness of that report, the detail of the flight information, and the surprising nature of the last moments of the flight that did not support our earlier beliefs of pilot incapacitation, all pointed to a heightened interest in what the NTSB had done.
Following some private communications about this accident, I was invited to contact the NTSB investigator who produced the report, Jim Silliman. He expressed keen interest in learning how the COPA community responded to this report. He acknowledged that it was a very interesting investigation, in large part because the Cirrus avionics provided such a rich source of data with which to reconstruct and analyze the flight.
For instance, the Avidyne EX5000 PFD records flight parameter information every second. So, the NTSB could track the flight profile very carefully. This lead to work with Cirrus Design to conduct several flight tests in an effort to match the accident airplane configuration, weight & balance, and performance to determine what might have caused the behavior observed in the flight data.
Also, some inconsistencies among the published reports of pilot incapacitation and the passengers' statements during interviews prompted further inquiry. I was invited to request a copy of the investigative reports through the NTSB Docket Management System.
So, I promptly went on-line, found the order form, made my request, and waited 3-4 weeks for the disk to arrive. When it did, the information was fascinating. It quickly became apparent that the COPA community would benefit from also having access to this material.
With the capabilities of the COPA 2.0 web server, we have uploaded these NTSB Docket files and made them available to you. At present, the uploading process is manual, so I've started with only a couple, including the Indianapolis accident. After all, this accident has 59 items in the docket that total over 50 mb of storage! Once we can automate the upload process, we'll add NTSB Docket files for all of the fatal accidents and parachute pulls.
4 Oct 2008 21:18