On 21 November 2012, at about 1055 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a Cirrus SR22 aircraft, registered VH-WYH, departed Emerald, Queensland for Dubbo, New South Wales, on a private flight conducted under the instrument flight rules. The pilot and one passenger were on board.
At about 1122, the oil pressure annunciator light illuminated, the engine oil pressure indicated 30 pounds per square inch. As the oil pressure continued to slowly drop, the pilot became increasingly concerned and, tracked via Gilgandra, New South Wales. At 1401, the engine failed the pilot turned the aircraft towards Gilgandra aerodrome. It became evident that a landing at Gilgandra aerodrome was not achievable and at about 1405, the pilot deployed the ballistic parachute. The aircraft impacted the ground the pilot received minor injuries and the passenger was uninjured.
The pilot reported that the oil pressure indication dropped very gradually giving a false sense of security and that he normally maintained the oil level between 5 and 5 ½ quarts.
The engine was removed and a detailed examination did not identify any external oil leaks or internal defects that were not attributed to a lack of oil.
The pilots operating handbook recommends that the engine should not be operated with less than six quarts of oil. Seven quarts is recommended for extended flights.
The accident highlights the importance of understanding the information contained in the manufacturers publications.