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Cirrus Parachute system Failure

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A Cirrus SR-22 suffered it's first failure of it's parachute system Thursday (May 16th) over Texas, when a pilot reported instrument failure in IMC conditions. The pilot deciding he couldn't safely operate the aircraft in those conditions and realizing he had the chute as a backup, pulled the chute. He heard a pop, but the expected jerk from the drag from the chute never came. He then performed a rapid descent below the soup to 800ft, then returned to the airfield.

 

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Good thing the plane was still flyable.


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Pretty poor piloting imho if a vacuum failure (what this looks like) causes you to pull a chute opposed to either A. climbing out of the soup or B. descending below the soup although in this case that meant 800 ft which is pretty close to cell phone tower altitude... Cirrus makes a beautiful airplane and the parachute system is brilliant but to decide it is just too hard to fly out of your current situation and use the parachute as a crutch imho means you should not be flying IFR to begin with!

 

 Valentine experienced more serious issues when the HSI went down, the autopilot followed and he began to suspect problems with his Attitude Indicator. The trend was not encouraging.

Realizing that he was in the soup, and that the situation seemed to be escalating -- and while flying an SR22 with an airframe parachute attached, Valentine elected to deploy the CAPS...

 

 

 

So airspeed was working, altitude indicator was working, engine was working and you deploy a chute?   Yeah, the tachometer on my truck stopped working so I set off the airbags thank goodness I am ok... phew!!!


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Pretty poor piloting imho if a vacuum failure (what this looks like) causes you to pull a chute opposed to either A. climbing out of the soup or B. descending below the soup although in this case that meant 800 ft which is pretty close to cell phone tower altitude... Cirrus makes a beautiful airplane and the parachute system is brilliant but to decide it is just too hard to fly out of your current situation and use the parachute as a crutch imho means you should not be flying IFR to begin with!

 

 

 

So airspeed was working, altitude indicator was working, engine was working and you deploy a chute?   Yeah, the tachometer on my truck stopped working so I set off the airbags thank goodness I am ok... phew!!!

I agree, it seemed there was other less drastic options here. So it seems it was actually probably a blessing the chute didn't work, since he couldn't tell where he was, he might have parachuted into a school if it worked!


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I agree, it seemed there was other less drastic options here. So it seems it was actually probably a blessing the chute didn't work, since he couldn't tell where he was, he might have parachuted into a school if it worked!

Very true Tom, I hadn't even considered having NO IDEA what he was above or if he would land on/injure others in his attempt to "give up" control of a flyable aircraft.  


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-Paul Solk

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Pretty poor piloting imho if a vacuum failure (what this looks like) causes you to pull a chute opposed to either A. climbing out of the soup or B. descending below the soup although in this case that meant 800 ft which is pretty close to cell phone tower altitude...

 

Pretty Poor (back-seat simmer) Analysis imo when you don't even know whether or not the SR22 has a vacuum system.

 

 

Until you get a REAL pilot's license with REAL training and REAL experience in IFR... including IFR flight in the vicinity of thunderstorms... preferably in a Cirrus SR22 and specific understanding of the CAPS system and training when to use it... you really have no business criticizing someone especially when you have no knowledge of the actual conditions the pilot was dealing with.

 

I have all the above, except the SR22 experience... and no freakin' way I'd criticize his decision.

 

:rolleyes:

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Pretty Poor (back-seat simmer) Analysis imo when you don't even know whether or not the SR22 has a vacuum system.

 

Here are just "a few" comments from REAL Cirrus owners...

 

"Tim truly exhibited Hemingway's definition of courage: grace under pressure."

 

"hero"

 

"immense skill"

 

"excellent focus under extreme pressure not to mention the great piloting skill"

 

"Tim. You sir, are a testament to training and more training and in my opinion a guy who pulls off what you just did and is humble enough to thank his instructor defines having " the right stuff". My hat is off to you."

 

"Tim I offer my praise for a continuum of great decisions and performance."

 

"my hat is off to Tim as he is an absolute rock star in my book. I would never second guess his decision to pull and think he exhibited every good quality a pilot can have."

 

Until you get a REAL pilot's license with REAL training and REAL experience in IFR... including IFR flight in the vicinity of thunderstorms... preferably in a Cirrus SR22 and specific understanding of the CAPS system and training when to use it... you really have no business criticizing someone especially when you have no knowledge of the actual conditions the pilot was dealing with.

 

I have all the above, except the SR22 experience... and no freakin' way I'd criticize his decision.

 

:rolleyes:

So your choice would be to blindly drop a 3800lb aircraft, into somebodies house, a store, an office building, or a school. In IMC conditions there was no way he could tell just where he would touchdown. It's irresponsible for a pilot to do such a thing, unless there was absolutely no other choice, or he was sure where he'd land wouldn't be populated, which he can't do if he can't see the ground below. . Obviously in this case, there was another choice.


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Obviously in this case, there was another choice.

 

Please don't put words in my mouth.

 

Btw I am fully confident in my abilities to PIC an aircraft and how to instruct others to do the same... SAFELY.

 

Until you've been there - you don't know what you are talking about.

 

You have no idea where he was... I do... again you have no idea what you are talking about.

 

Please Tom... I have no desire or inclination to argue with you. Learn something about the incident before you go full bore into what you would do.

 

EDIT:

 

And the "obviously another choice" does not negate the attempted deployment of the CAPS was a bad choice.

 

You have never heard "always leave yourself an out"? The more "outs" you have, the better.

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Please don't put words in my mouth.

 

Btw I am fully confident in my abilities to PIC an aircraft and how to instruct others to do the same... SAFELY.

 

Until you've been there - you don't know what you are talking about.

 

You have no idea where he was... I do... again you have no idea what you are talking about.

 

Please Tom... I have no desire or inclination to argue with you. Learn something about the incident before you go full bore into what you would do.

 

EDIT:

 

And the "obviously another choice" does not negate the attempted deployment of the CAPS was a bad choice.

 

You have never heard "always leave yourself an out"? The more "outs" you have, the better.

Come on Rob, not looking to argue here either but the fact he FLEW the plane and was able to safely land AFTER trying to ditch proves the whole situation was avoidable and that deployment of the CAPS was premature, unwarranted, unnecessary, a panic maneuver and fortunately for everyone involved did not result in him dropping a flyable plane onto someones house. Forgive me as I mentioned it sounds like a vacuum failure, yes the Cirrus is all electric my bad. IMHO the CAPS is a last resort for an unflyable aircraft not a get out of a bad situation free card and an excuse to give up and stop PILOTING your plane or as an excuse to stop exercising proper procedures. If you think of it as an "out" of a DIFFICULT but FLYABLE situation you should not be IFR IMHO which I am entitled to pilot or not.

 

A HERO? Pulling a Chute on a flyable aircraft you were able to land safely and you should be commended for good decision making??? At the least I bet he will be getting some continuing education if not loss of IFR temporarily. Just because other Cirrus owners are blowing smoke up his A** doesn't mean other pilots on other boards feel the same. You want me to quote some of what pilots without parachutes are saying about his decision?

 

Heaven forbid someone should actually criticize especially a non-pilot... No one is infallible, no one is above criticism not even the holder of an IFR certification believe it or not and despite my peon status of not having your experience I stand by my opinion and criticisms. I bet if you took a step back and weren't so caught up on the fact a non pilot criticised a pilot you would find my points pretty darn valid Rob but alas I am not looking for an argument either. Whether we like it or not opinions are like bu**holes, everyone is entitled to and has one whether so please don't tell me what I do or don't have business expressing opinions about or criticising and I will afford you the same respect.

 

 

To your own point, always leave yourself an out, what is the out once you have pulled the chute opposed to flying the plane? 

Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS)

All Cirrus aircraft are equipped with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), a ballistic parachute deployed from the back of the aircraft. In many emergencies, the system allows the entire aircraft to descend safely and has been credited with saving approximately 69 lives. Cirrus is the first manufacturer to receive FAA certification for production aircraft with ballistic parachute systems.

The Cirrus pilot's operating handbook states that the parachute system "is designed to bring the aircraft and its occupants to the ground in the event of a life-threatening emergency. The system is intended to save the lives of the occupants but will most likely destroy the aircraft and may, in adverse circumstances, cause serious injury or death to the occupants

Revision A7 of the Cirrus SR22 POH currently states "CAPS deployment is expected to result in damage to the airframe" that updates the earlier language that "The system is intended to saves the lives of the occupants but will most likely destroy the aircraft."


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Even if I lost an engine id still wouldint pull the chute, unless it was IMC...


Kacper Nowotynski

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Come on Rob, not looking to argue here either but the fact he FLEW the plane and was able to safely land AFTER trying to ditch proves the whole situation was avoidable and that deployment of the CAPS was premature, unwarranted, unnecessary, a panic maneuver and fortunately for everyone involved did not result in him dropping a flyable plane onto someones house.
 
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.  You're out of your league here and know nothing about the incident other than "the basics".
 
Not dying at "the end" is no proof at.
 
Why not go fire up that Natl. Guard Maj. who parked an A-7 into the Indianapolis Ramada killing nearly a dozen people on the ground some years ago.
 
 

If you think of it as an "out" of a DIFFICULT but FLYABLE situation you should not be IFR IMHO which I am entitled to pilot or not.
 
Strawman argument.  How do you know it was flyable?  You have an IFR ticket and know what it is like to be in the thick of it w/o instruments?  Even partial panel in 'Actual' is a bear.
 
Just because you come out of the clouds "right side up" after losing instruments... I don't call that a "flyable" situation.
 
Again you have no clue what the pilot was experiencing that lead to the CAPS decision.  I do... from a couple of sources.
 

At the least I bet he will be getting some continuing education if not loss of IFR temporarily.
 
I'll take that bet.  
 
 

which I am entitled to pilot or not.
 
Sure by all means have an opinion... it is these displays of ignorance I have a problem with.
 
 

everyone is entitled to and has one whether so please don't tell me what I do or don't have business expressing opinions about or criticising and I will afford you the same respect.
 
Yeah whatever.   :Talk to the Hand:
 
 

You want me to quote some of what pilots without parachutes are saying about his decision?
 
Sure why not.  Here is one: 
 
"Fantastic job.  You kept your head when it appears CAPS deployment was the correct decision... when it failed, you still managed to extricate yourself from an extremely difficult (if not possibly life-ending) situation. Kept your wits about you until getting safely parked... the exact outcome we all hope for in any emergency situation."
 
(that quote by me, btw)
 

I bet if you took a step back and weren't so caught up on the fact a non pilot criticised a pilot you would find my points pretty darn valid Rob but alas I am not looking for an argument either
 
That isn't what drove that wild hair up my rear-end.
 
I bet if you had some real experience you would not be saying the things you would be saying (starting with the vacuum thingy).
 
Has nothing to do with "experience" or non-pilot from a certain respect.  From the moment I fly with someone, whether experienced or first-timer, you will shortly hear me say, "I can always use an extra set of eyeballs".
 
I am not so arrogant to think I cannot learn something no matter what the experience level.
 
However, I do find experience with these things goes a long way towards "intelligent converse".
 
What gets my goat is your "Wrath from on High" pronouncements when you have no experience in these matters.  This type of arrogance is fine for bar-room chat... but has no place in real world flying.
 
 

what is the out once you have pulled the chute opposed to flying the plane
 
Not really here to school you.  Not when you are so entrenched in being right.
 
 
=============================
 
You guys can have some good posts...  Especially you Tom (tf51d... one of a handful of people whose posts I always try to read).
 
But let's not flop out of the fish tank on this one.

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Strawman argument. How do you know it was flyable? You have an IFR ticket and know what it is like to be in the thick of it w/o instruments? Even partial panel in 'Actual' is a bear.

 

Well obviously in this case it was flyable - well because he flew it after the chute failure. Looking at the data from Flightaware, he was flying in a populated area called the Colony, NorthEast of Ft Worth. If he would have dropped there, he very well may have killed some people, and possibly himself. Now he did turn back to the airport which took him over a lake. (Lewisville Lake) If that was where he pulled the chute, then maybe he made the right decision. We'll have to wait for the NTSB report to see where he actually pulled it.


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Great Ozzie, on 19 May 2013 - 06:49 AM, said:

 

 

Sure by all means have an opinion... it is these displays of ignorance I have a problem with.

 

 

psolk, on 19 May 2013 - 01:03 AM, said:

 

everyone is entitled to and has one whether so please don't tell me what I do or don't have business expressing opinions about or criticising and I will afford you the same respect.

Great Ozzie, on 19 May 2013 - 06:49 AM, said

Yeah whatever.

highhorse.gif

 

 

 

OK Rob, agree to disagree.

 

Look, I commend him for having the ability to overcome his panic and fly his plane when FORCED to by his parachute failing but that is about it... Kudos for landing safely after a situation he thought he would not be able to fly out of. But outside of that he lost AutoPilot, HSI, and attitude and that is NOT a reason to dump a plane.

 

 

 

Great Ozzie, on 19 May 2013 - 06:49 AM, said:

Strawman argument. How do you know it was flyable? You have an IFR ticket and know what it is like to be in the thick of it w/o instruments? Even partial panel in 'Actual' is a bear.

There is a difference between a bear of a situation and an unflyable situation. Sure, you are right, the fact the plane flew and landed safely is no proof it was flyable... Oh wait, he flew it... We are talking an IFR rated pilot with Partial instrument failure, not a VFR pilot caught in the soup unexpectedly. Your Stearman argument is only valid if piloted by an IFR pilot with partial instrument failure. Not a VFR pilot caught out... The fact he flew it pretty much says it all. Was it probably an incredibly scary, panic ridden and in your words BEAR of a situation: Absolutely but was it cause to GIVE UP FLYING AND PILOTING your aircraft, pull a chute, and remove yourself from all possibility of control, not in my opinion...

 

Sorry this bothers you so much Rob. Look, I am a motorcyclist, I gave up my dreams of PPL after my medical issues years ago. As a motorcyclist we are a VERY close knit brotherhood as well. Typically a non rider criticising a rider results in the EXACT same response as your response when I criticised a fellow pilot but that does not mean a non biker may have some keen observations about something a biker does wrong. It does not mean other bikers can do no wrong, it does not mean I defend them blindly. It does mean they are subject to the same criticism as EVERYONE else in the world. Not all motorcyclists are on the same level and there are some real TOOLS out there riding around, just because you hold that piece of paper does not put you above criticism or commentary.

 

Being a pilot is no different AF447 has taught us that!!!


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Well obviously in this case it was flyable - well because he flew it after the chute failure.
 
Ok, I see my point was missed about "flyable"... let me elaborate.
 
You take a e.g. a Stearman into the clag w/o any instrumentation... you arrive at the other end right-side up.  Flyable?
 
How about a situation... circumstances have conspired to the point where you are actually "in fear for your life"... flyable?
 

If he would have dropped there, he very well may have killed some people,
 
There have been 40+ CAPS Events,  30+ CAPS saves, and no ground fatalities (that I am aware of).
 
 

Now he did turn back to the airport which took him over a lake. (Lewisville Lake) If that was where he pulled the chute
 
My understanding the turns took place after the CAPS failure.  It was after the CAPS failed to deploy that he decided to return to Addison.  If you are looking at Flightaware, he flew farther North than that.  It appears (to me) his CAPS attempt took someplace north of Celina.  Roadrunners beware.

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Here are those quotes for you btw...  Only providing what was requested ^_^ 

Not trying to bash any particular aircraft or pilots but since you showed you quoting yourself here are the quotes I have been reading since the incident and that I was referring to above.

Actually, it was not an emergency. It was an example of inexperience or ineptitude. The crutch of the parachute encourages inept pilots to buy the Cirrus and they tend to use the chute inappropriately.
This man is a better pilot for his experience here, but he should have 'flown the plane', not relied on a parachute as a crutch.
The chute will land a plane level, but there is a huge risk in hitting the ground at maybe 50 mph. The plane will be wrecked and there is a chance for injury to the plane's occupants and to those on the ground.
These pilots should learn to fly the plane and not rely on a crutch like a parachute!


I am going to be blunt on this, if you have to deploy a chute over Texas to make a safe landing while on partial instruments, you need some serious training or should just hang it up. Cirrus is a fine aircraft but it is a crutch to inept and inexperienced pilots. It'll get a bad rap just like the MU2 through no fault of the aircraft!!!


Completely agree on this. If your partial panel skills are so bad that a vacuum failure (and that's what this seems like) is an emergency where you need to pull a chute, you have no business flying IFR. I think many Cirrus pilots are over-reliant on their auto-pilots and we'll see more of these type of incidents when they fail.

Also, I question the safety in a blind descent... what if he hadn't broken out at 800ft or if he broke out with a cell phone tower in front of him? Often the safest option would be a climb to on top. I lost a vacuum pump when departing in OVC003 from RBD, put a sticky note on the AI, climbed to 11,000ft on top and diverted to AEX rather than flying a partial panel ILS into BTR. It was a complete non-event as it should be.

"Partial panel not an easy task?" If a qualified IFR (IMC) pilot cannot effectively transition to partial panel after a vac system failure, he shouldn't be IFR qualified. This particular "pilot" is one I would not care to share an IMC airspace with.

Toby - I guess that I am one of the 'old timers' that some of these posters mention. 10,600 hours TT, and ATP and Citation rated. My Twin Comanche has dual Aspens including synthetic vision and G480 and MX20 and a good CIII autopilot.
In a case like this I would have had situational awareness - if I only had steam gauges then I would have been aware of the MEA and terrain in the region and I would have climbed out of the clag or descended below it (as this pilot did). He had a good flying aircraft but lost his navigational ability - he should have flown the aircraft!
If I had a parachute I'd use it if I had a total engine loss but if I had a good flying plane (as this pilot did) I would have flown out of the problem. Remember, the plane has to meet terrain, even with a parachute. The risk of having an out of control aircraft using a parachute landing on a school prevails and flying the plane, maintaining control, is the prime goal. To 'give up' and pull the chute is a foolhardy practice.
This instance is not the first time that a Cirrus parachute has failed. Last year a man with his kid in the plane lost his engine and he pulled the chute - it was a streamer and as he glided towards an off airport landing the streaming parachute wrapped around a pole and tore the plane apart, killing the occupants. Had the plane NOT had the parachute he probably would be alive today, as would his son.
I am not a fan of this aircraft, nor the inept pilots who rely on the crutch of the parachute.

Yes, my flight instructor says as a rule Cirrus owners/pilots are the absolute worst to train. The chute makes them feel as though they can get away with anything and basically their faith in the BRS system in some way impairs reasonable judgement.

My only experience with a Cirrus is taxing one for an owner in the 55 knot straight line winds because his little gas powered tug threw a belt...this is where it gets real weird, I was out at the airport helping move the flight schfloor' planes to hail sheds and hangars because there was an EXTREMELY strong Derecho type straight line wind event headed in from 310 degrees...straight down the 31 runway, dude had literally just taken delivery of the $400k plane, it still had plastic protection on the seats and floor...so after getting all the Cessnas moved I ask if he needed help, "nope, I got this tug with the plane". Well as soon as the motor on the tug fires...the belt flies off. He then looks right at me (I was setting up my weather camera rig in an empty hangar) and says, "I need some help now, obviously you are a pilot, can you move it to a safe spot?" at this point the wind is REALLY starting to hit and the plane is unstrapped and at 90 degrees to the wind, I try to tell him I have never even been inside a Cirrus but the dude is gone, literally no where to be seen and the gullwing door is wide open. ###### it, whatever I do is better than nothing at this point, I climb inside, look at the controls...side stick, interesting....hmmm, ok similar enough. Starts right up and I proceed to taxi it directly into the wind now at a solid 55 knots and gusting higher, 20% power required to simply roll into the wind, stick full forward, relax it a bit and the damn things gets real light.

No drama, find a spot near my Cessna and shut her down, the area is pretty wind shielded, I get the tow bar out of my plane and try like holy hell to back it into the hangar...no go. Dude reappears and we each grab a wing and muscle it back to the tie downs (my spare set out of my car). Where had he been? Trying to find a belt for his $500 tug while I was moving his half million dollar plane.

I sort if get what my instructor meant when she was going on about the Cirrus mindset all the sudden. Guy has offered to take me up in it and let me try it out...I am passing on that if he is PIC for that flight!


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