Pilot Stated… That He Encountered Wake Turbulence On Short Final

Location: KNOXVILLE, TN Accident Number: ERA22LA089
Date & Time: December 16, 2021, 10:07 Local Registration: N162AM
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp SR22 Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 16, 2021, about 1007 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR22, N162AM, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Knoxville, Tennessee. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

A review of preliminary radar data and voice transcriptions revealed the pilot of N162AM was conducting practice approaches at the time of the accident event. Air traffic control (ATC) advised N162AM to extend their downwind and issued a traffic advisory for an Airbus A320 on a 3-mile final. The pilot of N162AM advised ATC that he had the traffic in sight. ATC instructed the pilot to follow the Airbus A320 and was cleared for landing. Preliminary radar data showed N162AM turning base approximately 1.8 miles behind the Airbus A320. About 1.5 miles on final approach, at 1,000 ft, the radar target of N162AM was lost.

According to first responders, they observed the pilot about 30 feet from the airplane on arrival to the accident scene. They reported that the pilot had third-degree burns on his body and was alert, conscious, and responsive to verbal commands. The pilot stated he was returning from a 45-minute flight, and that he encountered wake turbulence on short final. The pilot said that the airplane lost lift, rolled inverted and he activated the ballistic parachute. He said that the airplane “hit the ground and burst into a fireball.” He said that his passenger climbed over him and assisted him out of the airplane, and bystanders utilized fire extinguishers to extinguish the flames.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov