ASN Aircraft accident Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II N280KL Denver-Centennial Airport, CO (APA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 12 May 2021
Type:Silhouette image of generic SW4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II
Operator:Key Lime Air
Registration: N280KL
MSN: TC-280
First flight: 1978
Total airframe hrs:29525
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-10UA-511G
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,9km N of Denver-Centennial Airport, CO (APA) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Salida Airport, CO (SLT/KANK), United States of America
Destination airport:Denver-Centennial Airport, CO (APA/KAPA), United States of America
A privately registered Cirrus SR22 (N416DJ) and a Key Lime Air Swearingen Metro II (N280KL) collided on approach to Denver-Centennial Airport, Colorado, USA.
The Cirrus departed Denver-Centennial Airport (APA) for a local flight about 09:21, and the Metro II departed the Salida Airport (SLT) about 09:56.
The Cirrus was performing a right-hand traffic pattern for runway 17R at APA, and N280KL was on final approach for runway 17L at APA, when the collision occurred. Both airplanes were in communication with air traffic control during their respective approaches to the airport.
About 10:22:43, the Metro II was about 5.5 nm from APA and had completed a right turn to align with the final approach course to runway 17L. At this same time, the Cirrus was on the downwind leg of the right-hand traffic pattern for runway 17R just before he commenced a right turn to the base leg of the traffic pattern. The Metro continued its approach and remained aligned with runway 17L. The Cirrus continued the right-hand traffic pattern through the base leg, and then began to turn toward the final approach course for the runway. The airplanes collided at 10:23:53 when they were about 3.2 nm from APA. The Metro was aligned with runway 17L while the Cirrus was turning from base to final and heading about 146° when the collision occurred.
After the impact, N280KL declared an emergency, continued to APA, and landed successfully on runway 17L without further incident. The Cirrus pilot reported that the airplane was not controllable after the impact and he deployed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The aircraft came to rest about 3 nm north of APA.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause and Findings:
The Cirrus pilot’s failure to maintain the final approach course for the assigned runway, which resulted in a collision with the Swearingen which was on final approach to the parallel runway.
Contributing to the accident was the failure of the controller to issue a traffic advisory to the Swearingen pilot regarding the location of Cirrus, and the Cirrus pilot’s decision to fly higher than recommended approach speed which resulted in a larger turn radius and contributed to his overshoot of the final approach course.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 11 months
Accident number: CEN21FA215
Download report: Summary report

Mid air collision
Forced landing on runway


photo of Swearingen-SA226-TC-Metro-II-N280KL
accident date: 12-05-2021
type: Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II
registration: N280KL
photo of Swearingen-SA226-TC-Metro-II-N280KL
accident date: 12-05-2021
type: Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II
registration: N280KL
photo of Swearingen-SA226-TC-Metro-II-N280KL

Video, social media

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Salida Airport, CO to Denver-Centennial Airport, CO as the crow flies is 154 km (96 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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