Cirrus Crash Third In Five Weeks


A Cirrus SR20 crashed November 3 on relatively flat terrainin a wildlife refuge near Las Vegas, N.M., killing Ralph Steenson, theaircraft’s non-instrument-rated private pilot and sole occupant. Local METAR observations reported a 500-footceiling, and initial police teletype reports noted heavy fog and mist at thecrash site. There were no witnesses. Lt. Tom Meserve, state police, Las Vegas,N.M., told AVweb, "I’ve been toother crashes … this guy didn’t spiral in. He glanced off the ground and thenthe thing started cart-wheeling." He also said the debris field was morethan 800 feet long and 300 feet wide. Bill King, Cirrus vice president ofbusiness administration, told AVweb thatSteenson, 75, had taken Cirrus’ training / transition course. Steenson’sdaughter Brenda told The Forum that her father began flying in the early 1950s.The FAA’s airman database lists Steenson’s private pilot certificate date ofissuance as 01/29/2001. Steenson’s daughter said "… he called midwaythrough the flight. He said it was a beautiful day and a great day." Theaccident is the third within the past five weeks for Cirrus models. October3,a pilot used the aircraft’s parachute after an aileron became partiallydetached and on October 15 a Cirrus hit a deer.