November 18, 2011, New Orleans, La., Cirrus Design Corp. SR20


At 1030 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it ditched in Lake Ponchartrain after a total loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The air transport-rated pilot sustained minor injuries. Instrument conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was in effect.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot observed the No. 2 cylinder head temperature rapidly increase followed by a drop in oil pressure. The pilot turned back and requested short vectors for an instrument approach. When the airplane was about four miles from the runway, the engine “blew” and the propeller stopped. The pilot slowed the airplane and prepared for a water landing. The pilot said he broke through the low cloud layer at 300 feet above the water, extended flaps to 15 degrees, reduced airspeed until he heard the stall horn and activated the ballistic parachute system. The pilot rested on the tail of the partially submerged airplane for approximately 45 minutes until a local fisherman picked him up.


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