Introducing NTSB Dockets on the COPA web site

Introducing NTSB Dockets on the COPA web site

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.

  • Rick;

    The links to the full report of the Charlotte acident take you to the evidence not the full report.  I think you have link problems.

  • Thanks, John. Fixed.



  • I wonder why the Indianapolis International Airport Police Department’s Aircraft Accident Investigation report shows, “Jeremy [front right seat passenger] stated that he then grabbed the right sided yoke and attempted to help his father keep the aircraft nose elevated” but that notion does not appear anywhere in the FFA investigation?

  • I believe I may have come close to being in an accident similar to the Indianapolis crash one night.  The scenario was that I was an instrument rated private pilot completing a night dual cross country in a borrowed 2006 SR22 with my instructor in the right seat and the owner of the aircraft in the backseat.  This was one of my first flights in any Cirrus. We departed KRVS, flew uneventfully to KADM, did a touch and and started to climb out to return home.  At a few hundred feet AGL I engaged the auto pilot to track a heading and preselected an altitude of 7500 feet.  The autopilot did not respond as I expected and seemed to attempt to fly the aircraft in straight and level  rather than climb.  I became distracted by this and began to pull back against the yoke, working against the autopilot.  We were climbing but too steep and all at once the owner seated in the backseat alerted me to the dropping airspeed.  I had pitched up to the point of reducing airspeed to 78 knots without realizing it and my instructor in the right seat had not noticed.  The error was quickly corrected by releasing aft yoke pressure and disengaging the autopilot momentarily.  The autopilot functioned  normally for the remainder of the flight and to this day I still do not know if the autopilot had malfunctioned or if I failed to provide the correct inputs since at that time I was unfamiliar to the 55x autopilot and the SR22 in general. Had I continued to pull back on the yoke we would have no doubt have entered a stall.  Could something similar have happened in the Indianapolis accident?