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Pilot Had Vertigo Before Deploying Plane Parachute

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The Cirrus single-engine plane that crashed. (credit: Elbert County Emergency Management)

The Cirrus single-engine plane that crashed. (credit: Elbert County Emergency Management)

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. (AP)- The pilot of a small plane reported he was suffering from vertigo when he activated an airframe parachute system that carried the aircraft to the ground in Elbert County east of Denver last week.

The pilot suffered minor injuries and the single-engine Cirrus SR-22 airplane had substantial damage from the Jan. 30 accident, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report released late Friday.

The pilot’s name hasn’t been released. The plane was registered to Fitch Bergner Aviation of Parker.

The pilot was practicing nighttime approaches at Front Range Airport at about 6 a.m., the NTSB said.

The pilot told investigators he was turning right when the plane accelerated and went into a severe angle relative to the ground. The pilot said he couldn’t regain control because of vertigo so he activated the parachute, the report said.

The report doesn’t list the plane’s altitude at the time the parachute was released. The plane landed in a dry creek bed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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