Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, Atlanta, Dec. 3, 2006–The NTSB attributed the Mirage accident to the airplane design stress limits being exceeded when the pilot lost control during cruise after his attention was diverted to the right-side attitude indicator, which the pilot reported as “tilted.” The pilot was looking at the indicator when he realized the airplane was in a dive. When he regained control, he re-engaged the autopilot, which had disengaged, and completed the flight without further incident.
An additional cause was the pilot’s difficulty hearing the aural autopilot disconnect warning with the noise-canceling headset. He didn’t realize that the autopilot had disengaged because he couldn’t hear the warning. A contributing factor was the disengaged autopilot/flight director.
When the airplane landed, the left front baggage door was found to be open and buckled, and the wing skin was wrinkled and deformed on the upper surface.