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Cirrus Chute Deployment Fails Over Texas, Pilot Still Makes Safe Landing

You know you're having a bad day when a flight goes so bad that you feel you must resort to using a parachute to see you safely through the flight... but the day is TRULY bad when that chute fails and leaves you to battle the emergency that you thought you had escaped from. ( さらに...

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Jeff Lawson 6
This could be expensive for Cirrus owners that have already had their chutes repacked if the investigation reveals that the repacking process was faulty.
Gene Nowak -9
If the process was faulty, "the next repack should beon the house". Hope it wasn't some of the new Chinese staff in training.
Jeff Lawson 7
I don't see why the Chinese comment is relevant. Chute repacking is probably done on-site at the service facility you take your plane to, rather than shipping the chute out and back.
Gene Nowak -2
Only because I have bought too many Chinese products and components of late that have failed, including cell phones. Hopefully, made in USA ONLY for me now.
That's still a xenophobic comment that has no place here. If you had stopped after "on the house," you'd have a lot of thumbs up rather than thumbs down.
Bruce Yang 1
Thumbs down on xenophobians, I am a Chinese simmer ...
Regarding to the incident itself, I think it is ok to fly an aircraft VFR as the meteorological condition is good. I am not familiar with light piston aircraft and I would like to ask whether the airspeed indicator is related to the vacuum system? If yes, then an unexperienced pilot may stall his plane at low altitude, which is dangerous.
preacher1 2
Putting the comments aside, and I don't know about the vacumn system there, BUT, read the story. He was not VFR!! He was in IMC and on an Instrument Flight Plan and he made basically a blind dive to 800'AGL. It is OK to fly in VFR but actually at 800'AGL, he shouldn't have been there, unless on approach/departure. I still kinda believe ther is more to this story tha what is being told.
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!!!
Andrew Stagg 9
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.

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ric lang 5
Old school? KX 170s were the big thing? I learned in a J3 with no electrical system, and when I transitioned to a Taylorcraft it had a Narco coffee grinder that was so complex, I couldn't understand it, or what it did. I thought flying the radio ranges was "state-of-the-art, and this omni thing was a joke.
Coffee grinder ??
I used Gulf road maps to navigate in an air knocker 7AC.
Radios? Who needs radios if you have a steady green.
ric lang 0
In defense of the pilot, you must admit his decision to immediately descend to 800 ft. and fly VFR was appropriate, with a failing instrument panel.
VFR at 800 ft. is kind of scary though... The average tower/antenna is around that height.
that's when IFR turns into I follow roads
I don't know what kind of moving map he had but mine makes it fairly easy to maneuver around, even though its may not be the safest thing. But we trust our lives to electronics all the time. Lol
I sure hope some 16 year old student doesn't read your comment and take it to heart. thumbs down.
With the way some flight schools teach, you might be just a bit late. In my case, I had an instructor (he was right out of college) that thought it was so great that he almost forgot that paper charts existed.
It was an emergency. Safer than losing control of the airplane.
Pat Barry 11
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 don't know what he had left for instruments; hopefully a backup att. Ind. and an altimeter, etc . Also don't know what was left on the glass. That said, it would still be an emergency to me. I don't have or want a parachute. But I don't fly every day every week like I did at one time so an emeregency is easier to come by. Pilots with way more credentials than me have been done in by a pitot static system or less. And they took check rides every 6 months. Probably this plane was still capable of being controlled but whether it rates an emergency depends on the pilot. The chute is up for debate. When the fates line up just right it would be a godsend. Generally though it is probably used more as a crutch.
I know, I know......just sayin tho.
Frank Ch. Eigler -1
Pulling the 'chute -is- losing control of the airplane.
Hope the news report meant 800 AGL not MSL. Addison, Texas airport elevation is 644 ft.

DAP maneuver to pull the chute instead of first doing what they teach you in Flying 101 about "always fly the plane".

How bad could the instrument failure have been that the pilot was able to successfully dive through the clouds without spatial disorientation, spinning or graveyard spiral. Should have flown the plane in the first place ...
Ceiling is reported in AGL round these parts.
why did he dive tho?
Besides pilots breaking MU 2s I do recall they had a trim problem that would slowly trim nose down until it would override the ap. Instant dive! Just trivia.
I need to add that it was never figured out why they were crashing until one savvy pilot in panic mode put in nose up trim. Mystery solved. Everyone else died and nobody knew why.
I've seen pilots - perhaps lacking competence - pull the chute in unnecessary circumstances.
This pilot pulled the chute but was able to fly out of the problem - he should have done that in the first place. To destroy an aircraft (which happens when the chute is deployed and the aircraft hits the ground) simply because of an instrument failure is unacceptable practice. The pilot should either improve his skills or get out of aviation!
Back seat pilots. Without knowing what was in his head at the time, it is clear that he felt the best course of action was to pull the chute. When in IMC without basic instruments, and lack of supporting instruments, I don't know that the decision was a wrong decision. That is the point of the chute.

Having had an HSI failure, in a Cirrus, I can say it is not as straight forward as one would believe. The moving map is slaved to the HSI in the model I was flying. The GPS screens are in the middle, and hard to use for nav (they're not a part of any normal scan). The compass is even more awkwardly placed. It was a high workload. Coupling that with a suspected attitude indicator failure, i have no doubt that the guy was taxed.

We can all say "what about the turn indicator" or other comments. But, without actually being in the situation, it is truly back seat piloting. I think it's a bit harsh to say he wasn't skilled. And, who's to say that pulling the chute is unnecessary? I'd rather someone pull the chute and save a life, rather than "brave it out" and take lives.
Well if the airplane is designed bad as you describe it, three questions.
Why did it pass certification>
Why fly it?
Why buy it???
But, Joel, being objective, there are three primary instruments located at the base of the panel. Airspeed, artificial horizon, and VSI, as I recall. Couldn't a pilot use these if (and when) the HSI display in the G1000 (or the steam gauges as a later poster says this plane was equipped with) fails? I mean to say - if the HSI fails is there not a set of primary instruments lower on the panel that the pilot should be trained to use?
I am aware of a pilot who had a scrambling and rebooting G1000 display over Kentucky who pulled the chute in VFR - because the poor dear had his display scrambling and rebooting.
I'm also aware of a Cirrus 22 at Asheville N.C. that was being moved by tug by a ramp boy who neglected to remove the tail chain, and the plane came apart at the front zone of the parachute bay (I have a reliable witness of this).
In my opinion the Cirrus is an unremarkable plane, overpriced, bought by doctors and lawyers because they derive comfort from having a parachute. I'm not a fan.
I've been told that the FAA required a parachute otherwise it would not have certified the aircraft (I don't know if that is true).
Your comments would be appreciated.
Thanks Pat. (Disclaimer: not pilot, couldn't pass physical, SA incompetent, etc). Coulda, woulda, shoulda went out the window when the *it* happened. Much commentary regarding piloting skills intuively obvious to the extent that they are essentially invisible (Consider: can you type?) and whether they should have been exercised before pulling the T-Bar is elsewhere. Re the KY incident: panic is seldom a virtue in the cockpit- I wonder how much time the pilot had, and how poor one had to be to afford to by the A/C. Re the NC testing to destruction test: I would think Cirrus would take a close look at the forces involve to see how far they exceeded their estimates of those involved in a deployment. It my mind, doctors and lawyers as groups tend to work in minimizing and controlling uncertainty, which would favor parachutes for an A/C purchased. I wonder how much that included 'controlling' the vicissitudes of the air. Watching a spectacular ride of a Wiamea surfer, one pauses to remember that the surfer at no time is control of the wave. Hubris is thinking otherwise.
Well, he *did* pull the the chute and will have the opportunity to improve his skills. Had he not done so, he may well have 'got out of aviation'. What does pulling the chute do to your insurance bill? Not pulling it may have saved lots of payments on his life insurance. A more general question: does having a parachute tend to give relatively new pilots a sort of false sense of security?

He who chutes, and floats today
lives to fly another day.
What about the people down below, when you drop your 3800lb aircraft on their occupied house? Or worse a school! Parachute deployment should be a last resort, not your first option!
Is there a difference in the arrival on the school between parachuting or spinning?
Obviously he had enough instruments left that he was able to put the plane into a descent, to get below the clouds and make it safely back to the airport. So the plane was still flyable. In fact the time it took to deploy the chute and it's failure, added to the danger in this case.
You didn't answer the question. Lol. I'm not defending or accusing the pilot of anything other than being very lucky.
I don't really understand the rationale behind pulling the chute in the first place....does he not know how to use standby instruments?
Brett Goss -2
The early G1 did not have a PFD, they used round gauges. There is no backup HSI and Solid IFR in the surrounding area apparently if he had to descend below 800' to be in the clear.

Partial Panel is not an easy task and it takes but a few moments to lose control even for experiences pilots. No one is immune to spatial disorientation. Why not pull the CAPs and give the plane back to the insurance and walk away?
ric lang 8
"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.
I'm going to rely on my partial panel training and currency, not a damn parachute, if you are relying on a parachute, your time is ticking........
A Cirrus and CAPs system is by no means a replacement for good airmenship and professionalism. The system isn't designed to be a crutch or a fall back system for incompetency or bad decision making.

You have a life saving safety device, just like an airbag, seat belt, helmet, or life boat/vest.

A safety device only works if you use it. You wouldn't set sail across the ocean without a life boat would you? As history would have it with the Titanic, why would you ever need a safety device like a life boat, when you have a huge unsinkable solid ship to carry you safely across the ocean. We are not infallible. CAPS is a safety device but it only works if you use it, the key to it's success is not waiting until the very last moment when you realize you actually need it, or as the last thoughts through so many pilots before the end, They wish they had more time.

The thing about safe flying is detecting a risk early and minimizing it. The parachute is a risk mitigating safety device that does work. Their is no need to proceed into IMC with partial panel and a disoriented pilot. When of the hard things to train any pilot during instrument training is the disorientation from a failing gyro without the use of a SIM. In the airplane when we teach partial panel, the item clearly works or doesn't work, it is on and off. In real life when an instrument begins to fail such as a vacuum failure, the gyro is still turning, but starts falling, in the process of it spinning down and falling it creates a lot of disorienting indications contrary to other instruments which aggravates disorientation.

To actually fly in IMC the only thing one would actually need is a magnetic compass, altimeter, and airspeed indicator. Anything more and your being spoiled right! But in reality the FAA requires much more, and we pilots appreciate much more, such as a Directional Gyro, an Artificial horizon and VSI, because they offer much more accuracy, and a bigger picture of what's causing particular trends we might see on our primary indicators.
Don't get my comments mixed up....having the parachute available and relying on it are two different things.
Last I knew Cirrus doesn't have a vacuum system. Backup instruments are electric.
ric lang 3
Addressing an earlier comment I placed....I thought so as well, if true, it has a rate based autopilot, and unless he had an electrical failure, the AP should have been operational.As well as the turn coordinator which is where the AP takes it's data.
"he elected a steep dive (about 2800 fpm) through IMC until breaking out at or around 800 feet."...............Let's discuss this Gentlemen. Thought?
I stand to be corrected but I think the primary reason for providing the BRS chute was that the aircraft did not go through stall/spin testing during certification. Essentially the chute was to recover from otherwise unrecoverable flight regimes. It is a "last resort" device and not a substitute for proper pilot technique. This ain't like the Ctrl+Alt+Del keystroke combo on your PC that will fix errant behavior by aforementioned computer.
Toby: You know me well enough, so here's my take. The guys below have some good thoughts too. There is not a one of us on here, whether we have 20,000 hrs or 200, that don't like automation or something new that comes along that makes a job easier. Just because that new stuff is there doesn't mean you can forget everything you have learned and strictly rely on it. The parachute is a good thought, and, when used as intended, is nice to have, but it is not to used as a crutch, and that is the basic thought line I see in this thread. FLY THE PLANE. I know some college graduates, that if their calculator broke, they could not figure in their head. Same thing

[This poster has been suspended.]

And sadly that's the truth today.
Would those graduates know a Dalton EB6 if they stepped on it? Couldn't find an IPAD app for it.
I'm current on those things, had to get re-current in order to shut my son's Ipad and the airplane's GNS 430 off when he flies!!!
I know where my 1966 model is but I would hate to think I had to use it. Wind triangles my ass! Lol
Mine is a 1986 model...
I only vaguely remember using it. I guess I did as I made to Las Vegas and the Bahamas from Chicago and Kentucky. Must have had Devine intervention too. Lol
Hell I was born in "85
Toby, in 1985 I had already been Captain on that 707 for 3 years, after starting as FE in 73, and had just placed the order for our 757. dang Son, you making me feel
ric lang 1
'85? OMG.....Don't suppose you remember the Vietnam war? Was in all the papers.
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.
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.
You remind me of the bygone horse and buggy salesman eyeing Henry Ford's "crazy invention" with ignorant suspicion. The parachute saves lives and has saved lives and in the future will continue to save lives. End of discussion. My SR22 is hands down a superior aircraft to your twin Comanche - doesn't mean I don't like the TC - great airplane, but slower, extra maintenance costs of two engines. two props and landing grar. Oh, and it has the built in statistical dangers inherent with twin engined airplanes too. And thanks for grouping together all Cirrus pilots as "inept" My hangar mate (early generation SRr22-G1 owner) will be happy to know your opinion of him when he is flying His F-18 this weekend with the National Guard....
But in this case, the parachute wasn't the only thing that was able to save his life. Flying the airplane after the chute failed to deploy saved his life. Had he flown the airplane before he pulled the chute, he'd still have a flyable plane this weekend.
ric lang 2
What exactly is there to discuss? Incompetent "pilot", irresponsible behavior.
Or the power switch. IMHO your analogy to the three-finger salute is a good one.
It is a proven system, this is the first case of a failed deployment when used within the AFM/POH suggested design criteria. Obviously the issue lies within the repack, this aircraft being Serial #16, was one of the first to be repacked, so there will be a lot to learn from this. Ironically, Cirrus had a webinar for it's Cirrus Partners Wednesday, the day before this occurred, with much of the emphasis on new training guidelines and reinforcement of the CAPs system. Cirrus has really put their foot and backing into the system now with it's success. Times are changing in small GA to the point their is more liability to manufacturers to not incorporate this system.

In defense of the pilot, pulling the CAPs is/was the best decision. Get over the macho hazardous attitudes with flying the thing all the way into the ground. The system has worked properly and saved countless lives in every deployment within it's demonstrated deployment window, and many beyond that.

The few cases it did not work the pilots deployed to low or to fast as a result of delaying the deployment. "Pull early, Pull often." The plane is insured, give it back to the insurance company and live another day.

Partial panel kills even very experienced pilots every year. In fact perfectly working airplanes kill pilots all the time too.

IMC is nothing to play around in. It is very easy on a partial panel to get disoriented, and once things start going wrong it is even more difficult to correct it.

In full disclosure I am a Cirrus Partner, but my full time job is flying in a multi-crew environment in Lear 20/30 series aircraft. I am ATP rated and no stranger to IMC or hazardous weather and the risks associated with all of that.
BTW, Cirrus will not go public with this until next week, but I highly recommend you view this page and the video. It is educational and may just change your views of the system.

It is true, all of us traditional pilots who learned to fly an airplane without a parachute sort of have a Macho Attitude, we dealt with the emergency and flew the airplane either with success or without, because that was our 1 and only option.

When I was presented with compounding failures in the Sim, including a catastrophic engine failure after going missed off a PP approach to below minimums I admittedly flew the thing the best I could all the way into the ground. The thought of pulling the CAPs never even crossed my mind all the while. All I had to do was reach up and pull the red handle. It is a difficult concept to overcome, when all your traditional training reinforced Aviate, Navigate, Communicate... all the way into the ground, but it was an eye opener, never again would I hesitate in a similar situation.

Yes, you sounded like a Cirrus partner. I'm an ATP and A&P/IA and on my best days I couldn't come close to the level of praise that you dote on that Archer on steroids.
As for the safety claims of the parachute system, while there have been some genuine saves the fact is otherwise - inept pilots use this system as a crutch, and the example this thread started with shows that inept pilots gravitate to the Cirrus so as to have a system that might replace their ineptitude.
ric lang 1
I resoundly agree with Mr. Barry, and while I'm at it, as for Mr. Horner's comment: Why in Hell would you attempt to stuff a person terrified of small airplanes into your airplane?? I visualize being choked to death by said passenger while vainly attempting to reach the parachute handle!
ric lang 1
I absolutely agree with Mr. Barry!!!!! And while I'm at it, As for Mr. Horner's comment about soothing the fears of his passengers: Why in Hell would ANY pilot take on board a passenger terrified of "small airplanes"?
This sounds like the same rationale for "old timer" pilots that didn't like other "crutches" in newer aircraft. Before VORs were deployed, pilots at the time probably saw them as crutches. Imagine their dismay at GPS and WAAS. De-icing? Ha! Wimps!

The Cirrus is a nice plane. It handles well, and is comfortable for pilots and passengers alike. There was a lot of attention paid to making things easier for the pilot, and it has continued to evolve along that line. Why is this a bad thing? That said, there is an argument to be made that the delta between everything being right on the easy to fly aircraft, and system malfunctions on the same leave such a wide delta, that the workload could be substantially higher.

Yeah, using the parachute as a crutch is seriously flawed. I don't own a Cirrus, but I fly one. It never once occurred to me that I should fly it because it has a parachute. (I will admit, however, that telling my friends/passengers that it's there has helped them overcome their fear of small aircraft.) In fact, my thought has always been that using the chute is a very last resort--one that will certainly result in injury. I've run different scenarios through my mind to determine when I would consider using the parachute. They're pretty dire situations. (Mid-air collision, engine and instrument failure in IMC, inoperable control surfaces, etc.)

I have to agree with Brett. As my earlier comment stated, it's really easy to play back seat pilot. Unless there was something I missed in the article, I feel that this was more than a partial panel failure. It could be that the supporting instruments had gone awry as well, at which point he made the decision.
Gravity still works. I his headset cables were over his head, he was upside down. At least that way he might be able to get above the clouds. ATC can give him steering commands.
I understand that it is $10,000 for the repack. Is this accurate?
juangmtnez 1
There's always Murphy's law to consider, no matter how many safety controls you go over, odds are one will fail and bring us back to the drawing board. Congrats on the pilot for making it back ok.
The fault here is the mis-application of a safety feature. Reminds me of a comment made to me by a Cirrus pilot when I was explaining how my de-ice system worked. He said "My Cirrus has a de-ice system too - all I do is pull that handle". The chute was meant to save lives but as used now it allows pilots to explore flight regions beyond the expertise and training.
ric lang 1
Being one of many (perhaps) pilots that think driving an airplane that has a parachute is a joke, I would like to comment on the pilot's choice during this event. I'm not familiar with the Cirrus, but think it is equipped with a rate based auto pilot, & if so, a vac failure wouldn't cause AP failure. Additionally, I agree w/ other statements concerning partial panel proficiency...this driver should fly with a better instructor than the one he had, and do a lot more partial panel work to get him more qualified to do IMC....finally: His "diving to" VFR was irresponsible, and reminds me of the "near-miss" (what the Hell does "Near_miss" mean?) That Bob Goyer experienced when a jerk VFR guy almost hit him when in IMC.
Ric Wernicke 1
This reminds me of my first parachute lesson. Jumpmaster hooked up the static line and told me to look up on exit and make sure the canopy opens. If not, cross your legs and pull the reserve ‘chute. When you land, wait in the drop zone and a truck will bring you back to the airport.

I went out the door and looked up. Nothing. I pulled the reserve. Nothing. I looked at my partner and said “What do you bet that truck won’t be there either?”
I know one thing. Everybody who is now a God gifted pilot got lucky a couple of times to reach that status.
sking100 1
You know what just gripes me? Here he loses all of this "stuff" but yet has two fine garmin gps units right above the throttle. The garmin 430's (as that aircraft would have had) have a wonderful page on the NAV tabs. Page 5 has all the information a pilot would need. Altitude, speed, heading......Having owned five Cirrus aircraft until moving to turbo fans, I had to do training on a full panel failure (this aircraft had a MFD and six pack). Basically, my CFII turned everything off and told me I had lost the whole panel. Heck, with TWO garmins, you could set up the moving map (magenta line), AND have all the other data relative and important to flight. Situational awareness, knowledge and communication. Oh well. Back to my story.

I found page five, it gave me my speed, whether I was climbing or descending, my altitude and my heading. At that point, just FLY the plane man! as long as the motor was running, good IFR skills could have put him right where he needed to be.

Just two cents from the peanut gallery.
ric lang 1
PS......also have ties older than you!
Guess I'm a little late to the party. Heard about this story while on a trip out of my home base, ADS. My guess is that 99% of the forum that has thrown this guy under the bus has never experienced a total vacuum system failure in a steam guage airplane, ever. After you have one on a really bumpy IFR day and land the airplane successfully give me a call. The odds are not in your favor! Two that come to mind around Dallas in my time were lost in IMC with lost vacuum systems, both IFR, both part 135. Professional, though not particularly experienced pilots. Bonanza out of RBD in the 80's, and a 402 out of DTO in the 90's. One, the 402 oddly enough, lost 2 pumps, count em 2 pumps on a relatively benign although low IFR day. Repo flight to DAL to pick up film. He did not survive! The Bonanza launched out of RBD on a plain old IFR day but it was convective. He did not survive! Both told ATC that they were experiencing gyro failures and both lost control of the airplanes. Finito, Done. So if you don't think it is a full blown emergency, you ain't had one yet. As for a Cirrus, I think it is the modern day version of a fork tailed doctor killer, AKA, V35 Bonanza. Just cause they can pay for em, doesn't mean they can fly em. If you got a chute and you think it's the only way home, use it. If it don't work, you might wish you had spent a little more money on training. At any rate it's time to AD. LIB.
Whole lot of commentary here and seems to be split between experienced and inexperienced pilots. The comment about flying 101 and some about the crutches sort of sum it all up. It was not indicated that he had any sort of engine or radio failure. The plane was flying and he apparently was in contact with ATC. That said, even in talking with ATC, I think I would have went up rather than down in order for everyone to have working room. Had he done so, it looks like it would have been a rather simple matter to vector him back to ADD and bring him down however. Not sure but it sounds like panic. That said, are we sure how we'd react in a similar situation, but then again, I never learned to fly a plane with a parachute so it was never in my thought process.
This isn't the 1st time a chute has failed on a Cirrus. Makes me wonder if it's even worth it.
Hey Ric, I agree with your comment as to continued training. It is important in all aspects of flight. I participate in the WINGS program and also get up with a Cirrus Instructor pilot every three or four months to stay sharp in my SR22. Same for my J-3 as to stalls, spins, etc. I will take issue with you however relative to your suggestion that an airframe parachute is a "joke". (You sound as closed minded and as ignorant as Mr. Barry). Appended from the COPA forum is a synopsis of each parachute pull in a cirrus that we know of - and most ended well. These are for Cirrus airplanes only, and there have been dozens of other "pulls" on ultralights and experimentals, all saving lives and injuries - That's no "joke"...

CAPS event #1, Oct 2002, Lewisville, TX, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #1)
Factors: VFR departure after maintenance, aileron unhinged due maintenance error and airplane became difficult to control, after maneuvering, first parachute deployment by pilot in a certified production airplane; Activation: low altitude, 1,500 feet; Weather: VMC; Landing: bushes near golf course

CAPS event #2, April 2004, Lethbridge, AB, Canada, 4 uninjured; (CAPS Save #2)
Factors: VFR night cruise, loss of control, autopilot-induced stall, night VFR over mountains, SR20 performance Activation: high altitude, deployment upon loss of control; Weather: VMC night; Landing: landed in scree in mountaneous terrain, skidded backwards 1/4-mile, helicopter extraction via parachute risers

CAPS event #3, April 2004, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #3)
Factors: confusing instrument behavior, low IMC, departure climb, water in static system; Activation: low altitude, 1200 feet; Weather: IMC; Landing: trees

CAPS event #4, Sept 2004, Peters, CA, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #4)
Factors: VFR climb, autopilot-induced stall, rolled inverted, attempted recovery; Activation: high altitude, above 10,000 feet, activated CAPS in VMC before entering IMC; Weather: VMC, then IMC under canopy, then VMC; Landing: walnut grove

CAPS event #5, Feb 2005, Norden, CA, 1 fatality; (not CAPS Save, parachute separated from airframe)
Factors: severe icing at 16,000' over Sierra mountains, high speed descent well above Vne of 204 knots; Activation: uncertain if intentional activation or due to airframe stress in high speed descent, located along track to crash site; Weather: IMC, icing; Landing: high speed impact in mountainous area

CAPS event #6, June 2005, Haverstraw, NY, 1 serious injury; (CAPS Save #5)
Factors: pilot incapacitated from brain seizure, loss of conciousness, awoke and recovered from Vne dive, determined numbness and loss of function in legs; IFR on approach to KHPN, Activation: low altitude, last radar report at 1,600 feet and 190 knots groundspeed (well above Vpd of 133 knots); Weather: VMC; Landing: water, bay of Hudson River

CAPS event #7, Jan 2006, Childersburg, AL, 3 uninjured; (CAPS Save #6)
Factors: severe icing at 9,000 feet, loss of control; Activation: high altitude; Weather: IMC icing; Landing: trees

CAPS event #8, Feb 2006, Wagner, SD, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #7)
Factors: pilot disorientation in clouds, shortly after takeoff; Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC; Landing: flat, frozen field

CAPS event #9, Aug 2006, Indianapolis, IN, 1 fatality, 3 serious injuries; (CAPS Save #8, parachute observed not fully deployed)
Factors: IMC, loss of control, stall/spin descent; Activation: low altitude; 528 feet AGL in 100 knot spin (3-1/2 turns) just 4 seconds prior to impact, well below design parameters for survivable CAPS deployment, first activation of CAPS by non-pilot; Weather: IMC; Landing: water, pond among residential housing

CAPS event #10, Sept 2006, Bull Bay, Jamaica, 4 uninjured; (CAPS Save #9)
Factors: loss of control, VFR cruise, passenger activated when fuel streaming from tank filler openings; Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC; Landing: trees

CAPS activation #11, Feb 2007, Sydney, Australia, 2 injuries; (not CAPS Save; parachute not extracted due to anomalous rocket trajectory)
Factors: VFR cruise, engine problems, rocket took unusual trajectory, , successful emergency off-airport landing; Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC; Landing: trees

CAPS event #12, Apr 2007, Luna, NM, 1 injured; (CAPS Save #10)
Factors: IMC cruise, climb to avoid weather, loss of airspeed indication, terrain warning in IMC; Activation: low altitude, inverted, 34 knots airspeed; Weather: IMC, icing; Landing: trees, mountainous terrain

CAPS event #13, Aug 2007, Nantucket, MA, 2 injured; (CAPS Save #11)
Factors: VFR in IMC during approach, parachute tangled with tower wires, 1 serious injury, 1 minor injury, 1 unborn child saved; Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC; Landing: tower, flat open terrain

CAPS event #14, Oct 2008, Spain, 3 uninjured; (CAPS Save #12)
Factors: IFR in IMC during approach, pilot reported turbulence and loss of control, parachute tangled with power line wires; Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC; Landing: power line

CAPS event #15, Nov 2008, Turriaco, Italy, 1 seriously injured, 3 uninjured; (CAPS Save #13)
Factors: fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power, parachute deployed at low altitude and late in the power-off glide scenario, approximately 400 feet above ground; Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC; Landing: trees and grass

CAPS event #16, Dec 2008, Gouvy, Belgium, 1 minor injured; (CAPS Save #14)
Factors: icing, pilot attempted several outs but was unable to maintain altitude, Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC, icing; Landing: trees

CAPS event #17, Dec 2008, Patterson, LA, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #15)
Factors: pilot reported mechanical difficulties late at night over coastal marshes; Activation: high altitude; Weather: VMC, night; Landing: canal (water)

CAPS event #18, Feb 2009, Deltona, FL, 2 fatalities; (not CAPS Save, parachute did not have time to fully deploy)
Factors: instructional flight practicing low-speed maneuvers, witnesses report spinning aircraft; CAPS activation immediately prior to ground impact; Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC; Landing: trees

CAPS event #19, Mar 2009, Gaithersburg, MD, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #16)
Factors: door popped open upon takeoff, pilot reported rain in the cockpit and attempted to manage door but became disoriented; Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC; Landing: residential street

CAPS event #20, Jun 2009, Mount Airy, NC, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #17)
Factors: catastrophic engine failure with oil obscuring windscreen, Activation: high altitude, 6,000 feet above ground; Weather: IMC; Landing: level field

CAPS event #21, Dec 2009, Hamilton Island, Australia, 1 seriously injured; (CAPS Save #18)
Factors: engine loss of power, misfueled with Jet-A, attempted return to airport; Activation: low altitude, 441 feet above ocean; Weather: VMC; Landing: ocean

CAPS event #22, Feb 2010, Boulder, CO, 2 fatalities; (not CAPS Save, parachute activated due to impact forces)
Factors: mid-air collision between Cirrus SR20 and tow-plane with glider in tow; Activation: high altitude, 8,000 feet; Weather: VMC; Landing: level field

CAPS event #23, May 2010, Sirdal, Norway, 4 uninjured; (CAPS Save #19)
Factors: icing induced high-speed descent followed by parachute activation, Activation: high altitude, 6,000 feet; Weather: VMC; Landing: uneven rocky terrain

CAPS event #24, 10 July 2010, Hornton, United Kingdom, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #20)
Factors: sprial dive while pilot distracted, VFR pilot flying in low ceilings and visibility, Activation: 2,000 feet; Weather: IMC; Landing: field surrounded by trees

CAPS event #25, 16 August 2010, Idabel, OK, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #21)
Factors: loss of engine power, rapid descent, decision to avoid off-airport landing, activated parachute, Activation: low altitude, below 500 feet; Weather: VMC; Landing: grassy field

CAPS event #26, 23 August 2010, Porter, TX, 1 seriously injured; (not CAPS Save, parachute had no effect on outcome)
Factors: go-around after aborted landing, failed to clear tree obstructions, activated parachute after first impact with a tree ; Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC; Landing: trees

CAPS event #27, 30 September 2010, Mathias, WV, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #22)
Factors: loss of control in turbulence while on approach in stormy weather, Activation: 1134 AGL, 171 KIAS; Weather: IMC; Landing: trees, remarkably the plane wedged itself on branches about 20 feet above the ground, pilot and passenger were injured when they attempted self-rescue and fell onto rocks below

CAPS event #28, 15 December 2010, Nacogdoches, TX, 1 uninjured; (not CAPS Save, parachute activated after ground impact)
Factors: loss of engine power, decision to avoid off-airport landing; Activation: after ground impact; Weather: VMC, night; Landing: residential area

CAPS event #29, 27 January 2011, Cross City, FL, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #23)
Factors: loss of engine power, decision to avoid off-airport landing, activated parachute, Activation: TBD; Weather: VMC, night; Landing: recently logged forest with lots of stumps

CAPS event #30, 30 January 2011, Bennett, CO, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #24)
Factors: pilot disorientation due to vertigo, activated parachute, Activation: low altitude; Weather: VMC, night; Landing: field

CAPS event #31, 24 October 2011, Carrollton, TX, 1 fatality, 2 serious injured; (not CAPS Save, parachute did not have time to fully deploy)
Factors: pilot reported mechanical problem and attempted approach in fog, went missed, attempted second approach and plane lost control prior to missed approach point; Activation: low altitude; Weather: IMC; Landing: field

CAPS event #32,20 November 2011, New Orleans, LA, 1 uninjured; (CAPS Save #25)
Factors: pilot reported loss of engine power and attempted return to airport then activated over Lake Pontchartrain, repacked parachute, Activation: 300 feet; Weather: IMC, day; Landing: water

CAPS event #33, 7 January 2012, near Andros Island, Bahamas, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #26)
Factors: engine seized and propeller froze in flight due to loss of oil pressure, Activation: 2300 feet; Weather: VMC , day; Landing: water

CAPS event #34, 29 February 2012, at Melbourne, FL, 4 fatalities; (not CAPS Save, parachute did not have time to fully deploy)
Factors: pilot lost control on base turn to final and pulled at low altitude, Activation: almost at ground impact; Weather: VMC , day; Landing: field

CAPS event #35, 24 March 2012, near Itu, Brazil, 2 uninjured; (CAPS Save #27)
Factors: engine lost power and pilot avoided off-airport landing, repacked parachute, Activation: TBD; Weather: VMC , day; Landing: field

CAPS event #36, 22 July 2012, near Pickens, SC, 4 uninjured; (CAPS Save #28)
Factors: pilot reported mechanical problem, Activation: about 1000 feet AGL; Weather: VMC, day; Landing: trees, suspended about 20 feet above ground, occupants stayed in plane until rescued

CAPS event #37, 6 October 2012, near Birmingham, AL, 1 uninjured, 1 minor injury; (CAPS Save #29)
Factors: pilot disoriented during missed approach in IMC , Activation: 1000' AGL; Weather: IMC , day; Landing: field

CAPS event #38, 16 November 2012, near Show Low, AZ, 1 minor injury; (CAPS Save #30)
Factors: engine lost power and pilot avoided off-airport landing , Activation: 1500' AGL; Weather: VMC , day; Landing: field

CAPS event #39, 21 November 2012, near Gilgandra, NSW, Australia, 1 uninjured, 1 minor injury; (CAPS Save #31)
Factors: engine lost power and pilot avoided off-airport landing , Activation: 1000' AGL; Weather: VMC , day; Landing: field

CAPS event #42, 23 January 2013, near Danbury, CT, 3 uninjured; (CAPS Save #32)
Factors: fuel exhaustion; Activation: TBD; Weather: night VMC; Landing: powerlines in residential area

CAPS event #43, 29 March 2013, near Alexandria, MN, 4 uninjured; (CAPS Save #33)
Factors: pilot lost control due to flap anomaly; Activation: TBD; Weather: VFR; Landing: frozen lake

CAPS event #44, 16 May 2013, near Addison, TX, 1 uninjured (not CAPS save, parachute did not deploy)
Factors: pilot reported loss of instruments, activated CAPS, but rocket failed to extract the parachute from the aircraft; repacked parachute; Activation: possibly 7000 feet; Weather: IMC, hard rain; Landing: pilot recovered the airplane and descended underneath the clouds to about 800' AGL and returned to airport trailing the rocket, lanyard and incremental bridle behind the aircraft
Prices vary, but currently with all the early G1 aircraft the price is around the 10K mark so long as the chute is not damaged. This is due to the amount of work to repack, which involves cutting through the exterior of the airframe.

Soon the G2 aircraft with the service access in the rear baggage compartment will come due for repack. It is expected these repacks will be significantly less to repack due to the access door, and no need to cut open the airplane and repair/repaint.
Why didn't they design an access panel or something to not have to cut through the frame of plane?
They did in later Serial # airplanes. I think the thought was they would be able to get the FAA to extend the repack, but when that didn't look like it was going to happen, they redesigned the system so they could access it from within the baggage compartment. As it is right now, only the G1 aircraft have reached their 10 year repack. The later models with the redesign are coming due I believe later this year into next.
Preach on Preacherman, we'll get a chute mod. for your 76...
That'd have to be awfully good size and sometimes ESC don't work. It guy I used to know had a standard answer for all problems, at least at first, REBOOT!!!!!
I don't know much about a Cirrus except that it has a chute but I think I read somewhere that they instruct you to deploy early in an emergency before you get into any unusual attitude or high airspeed. Plus they get to sell a new plane! LOL
Well, you are late to the party. Yes, we have all thrown him under the bus. Yes everybody was talking vacumn at first but it appears Cirrus has no vacumn, hence electric. My 2cts worth, since it's you, whether vacumn, electric or whatever, he still had an engine and was talking to ATC. Hindsight being 20-20, it looks like he could have flown it out without grabbing the chute, which, diving out to 800' and dragging that harness and all that, he was either very skilled or extremely lucky. IMHO lol
Well, I'm one of the 1% that has had a vacuum failure in IFR, and it was a white knuckle experience. I used the whiskey compass to confirm whether the wings were level. It's a long story and I'll skip it, but the gyro driven artificial horizon failed and I had a backup instrument, but what to trust? No horizon, grey outside. The whiskey compass told me that I was 60 degrees wings over and I clicked off the erroneous autopilot, returned to wings level, and I did what we all train to do - I FLEW THE PLANE! I was at 13,500 over 12,200 terrain in Nthn Idaho, so I couldn't descend below as this pilot did, so I knew that Salmon was near and I navigated to Salmon, outbound then on a heading that took me over a valley, and I descended through a sucker hole to VFR below.
I flew the plane!
That's what this pilot should have done, and did when his parachute failed.
Who you trying to talk to??
preacher1 1
ric lang 1
I have no idea as to why these replies get to where they are after being sent....guess I have no idea how to follow these threads which is why I'm not on facebook....The comment was for the guy that was born in 1985, for Christ's sake!!!
Well, let me compliment you on your airmens skills and point out that the average guy on this forum does not have an ATP, nor does the average guy in the GA community at large. The fact of the matter is that if you lose the sole vacuum pump on a vacuum gyro airplane, the NTSB reports and any savvy insurance adjuster will tell you, the odds are not in your favor. I know they don't report the success stories, but they sure have plenty of the other. So for you vacuum pump drivers, change the pump every 500 hrs., the filter at every annual, and spend a little money on your partial panel skills, and hope you don't need them. A few good bumps seem to rattle some guys with a full panel. Think what it would be like without most of it.
Yeah, we can sit here and talk now, but, as you say, we survived it. Probably rather than criticize, we ought to sympathize
You know, the thought behind it ain't bad as a lot of AC, especially GA have fallen out of the sky. Those fell though, only after the pilot had exhausted all other means to stay in the air. In this particular case, I smell panic or inexperience. Bentwing60 hasn't jumped in here but he flies out of ADD; I wonder if he knows this guy. There could be more than is being told here?
My understanding is that the airplane was an SR 20. Early version, vacuum pump, steam guages, this coming from the ex DM at the Cirrus regional maintenance facility at ADS. Thus my comment. I'd rather be lucky than good on any given day!

[This poster has been suspended.]

bentwing60 1
Thanks for the info. James801. The more I read and here about this, the more I wonder if my original post was misplaced. Was I defending an average pilot with a real emergency, or another poorly trained guy who could buy more than he could fly? At any rate, I will stick with my original contention that a vacuum system failure in a vacuum driven panel airplane in "hard IFR" is a true emergency. And for those that still fly and train in such, add a little realism to the training for partial panel and do it at night or in actual IMC. I believe you will find that the absence of the little visual cues you get from shadow and light on a VFR day under the hood will be enlightening. It will at least give you a little better idea of what you face if you should ever have the misfortune of experiencing the real thing.
I'm sure you're right about more to the story.
Ill bet a real learning expierence for him. I'll also bet he is not quite as enamored with a chute as he once was. Lol
You know, that's the funny part though. He was talkative to ANN and the chute thing really didn't seem to bother him though. I guess he's got plenty of money although if it were me, that repack would be on the house from somebody. If I read it right, his biggest scare was his dive to 800'AGL.LOL
How you think I
I would be thinking about how that dangling mess could have gotten all caught in my elevator! It would also have me thinking how parachutists wear 2 chutes! Lol
I don't guess he thought about that. At least if he did, he didn't say anything about it. Apparently he didn't know about it until he got down. ttyl. gotta make a run into town
joel wiley 1
In the age of wooden sjhips and iron men the was a rule: one hand for the ship, one hand for the sailor. Maybe he could consider chutes that way. lol
How's the tile job holding up?
I done responded to this once but don't know where it went. Anyway, I'm done with it, but sure am sore. That's rough on an old man to stay down there that long. It wasn't all that bad til I started getting
I know what you mean. I had a 5500 square foot shop/garage built but I did the wiring/plumbing/finish work/etc. Aleve is my new BFF. Lol
I know that feeling well too. I have did about 3 add ons to this place over the years and it wasn't all that bad on the first one but as the years went by, my CAN DO had a hard time keeping up with my WANT
I keep running into jobs in the category "Don't remember it was this hard last time I did it- and it was only 10 years ago". Medication and dedication trumps common sense- usually.
Jim Quinn -1
Can you imagine pulling that red handle and it simply comes out of the mount in your hand? It may as well have. I'd be a bit concerned after the pop, bang and no parachute. I'd be concerned that my control surfaces may have become entangled or otherwise affected, but I'm not familiar with the Cirrus aircraft at all so I must admit ignorance in this case.
at least the explosive charge didn't go off
The way I read it, it sure did.
I was wrong.....well that's what happens when you assume....."you make an ass out of u and me"
Something had to go off to blast the harness and all out.
Well, you got to be wrong every now and then. It builds character.LOL

[This poster has been suspended.]

I don't mind saying when I am wrong (don't tell my
Bob Yarmey 0
Certainly need more info before acting in judgment. My extensive flight training experience as a full time professional CFII in TAA is that a scary number of self proclaimed "instrument qualified" pilots are really push button pilots. Also PARTIAL panel with PARTIAL SKILLS rarely ends successfully or predictably with a safe outcome.


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