Cirrus SR-22 Airplane Crash in North Las Vegas

Cirrus SR-22 Airplane Crash in North Las Vegas

On November 26, 2019, a Cirrus SR-22 collided with terrain approximately 10 miles north of the North Las Vegas airport (KVGT) in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 3 family members aboard the plane.

The aircraft was intending to land at the North Las Vegas airport and was being vectored for landing by Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the time of the crash.

Although it is too early in the investigation to determine the precise cause of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is likely to examine several possible factors, including information, or the lack thereof, provided by Air Traffic Control to the pilot.

The plane was travelling through the Class B airspace which surrounds Las Vegas International airport (KLAS). Class B airspace requires two-way communication between aircraft and ATC. Under FAA Order 7110.65, air traffic controllers are required to provide aircraft in Class B airspace separation and safety alerts to aircraft under their control. Safety alerts include terrain alerts when an aircraft is in dangerous proximity to terrain.

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Class B Airspace with Gass Peak

As can be seen from the below flightpath, the aircraft appears to have been vectored by ATC towards mountainous terrain, and then specifically towards the hightest peak in the area, Gass Peak. The aircraft was at 6,500 feet and Gass peak is 6,937 feet. The collision with terrain occurred at Gass Peak.

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Flight Path of N7GA

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Flight Path of N7GA

The air traffic controller's screen would indicate Gass peak as the highest obstacle in the area with an inverted "V" along with other obstacle heights and minimum safe altitudes.

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Sample Controller Screen

The Cirrus SR-22 Aircraft

The Cirrus SR-22 aircraft is a single-engine piston powered aircraft which can carry 4 persons. It was first introduced in 2001 and is one of the most popular selling small general aviation aircraft. It is best known for a Ballistic Recovery System, a.k.a. parachute system, which can safely bring the aircraft to the ground under a parachute. The system must be activated by the pilot and therefore requires certain situational awareness and time which may not be available in situation like this one given the dark night conditions and the presumably unexpected rising terrain.

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Cirrus SR-22 N7GA

Past Kreindler FAA/ATC Cases

Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has successfully investigated and prosecuted many similar ATC cases against the FAA.
A partial list of cases includes:

Early v. FAA - FAA air traffic controllers failed to provide minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) alert to Cirrus SR20 aircraft on final approach into Stewart International Airport

Saltsman v. FAA - family traveling from Smoky Mountains to Florida - ATC gave improper vector below minimum safe (vector) altitude resulting in aircraft crashing into rising mountainous terrain

KAL 801 - FAA - approach control facility on Guam failed to provide low altitude safety alert and mis-programmed the minimum safe altitude warning system

Katz v. FAA - failure to provide Minimum Safe Altitude Warning on landing at Islip Airport resulting in crash short of runway

Adamo v. FAA - intentionally disabling MSAW aural alert system and failure to provide complete and accurate weather information and low altitude alert, resulting in impact with terrain

Finnegan v. FAA - Denver CO (Continental Flight 1404) ATC failure to give correct and complete landing information concerning cross winds resulting in aircraft inability to remain on the runway

Karoly v. FAA - New Bedford, MA. Providence approach control provided inaccurate radar vectoring to TBM on an approach and incomplete weather information.

Chawla v. FAA - failure to provide accurate and complete icing information and failure to vector to a safe altitude leading to loss of aircraft control in a TBM 700

Sigurdson, et al v. FAA - California midair involving flight school aircraft (successfully represented two Swedish student pilots against FAA)

Degregorio v. FAA - midair collision at local NYC airport, ATC failure to monitor traffic, provide safety alert, improper vectoring, etc.

Giordano v. FAA - directed aircraft in distress to a non-existent airport which had been closed 10 years earlier resulting in aircraft forced landing, killing the pilot

Military-trained pilots and Kreindler partners, Brian Alexander, Justin Green and Dan Rose as well as partner Anthony Tarricone handle the firm's aviation cases.