Anatomy of a textbook CAPS deployment this week.

One never knows how one will respond when given an impending engine failure. Some freeze and take no action while others panic and do the wrong things. Then there is the pilot who methodically follows his training to a successful outcome.

This week an SR22 engine began showing signs of failure. OIL PRESS caution amber annunciations followed by the red OIL PRESS warning alerted the pilot at 5500’ above a large lake. The pilot testified to investigators that “my oil pressure gauge went to zero and my engine began to overspeed” and “my tach was at redline”. He also stated “I reduced power on my engine to lower the RPMs”.

The pilot immediately declared an emergency and diverted towards shore while maintaining 5500’ as long as possible with the power available. His statement to investigators noted that he was unable to reach a useable runway and elected to deploy CAPS at 2000’ agl near shore.

The uninjured pilot and passenger exited the stricken Cirrus and swam the short distance to shore. The engine was inspected and a hole discovered in the casing above cylinder no. 6.

Lessons learned:

1. Maintain altitude if able, otherwise pitch for best glide speed.
2. Immediately divert to nearest runway or safe CAPS location.
3. Troubleshoot engine using your knowledge of powerplant/fuel systems.
4. Notify ATC.
5. Deploy CAPS at 2000’ agl if possible.
6. Never fly beyond glide range of shore without approved flotation devices onboard.

Well done captain—Bravo 👏

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