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(Duluth News Tribune)   Damaged airplane parachutes to the ground. Pilot walks away unharmed   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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6986 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Oct 2002 at 10:25 AM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

39 Comments     (+0 »)
2002-10-06 09:51:37 AM  
I think this is all wrong. Cirrus is taking credit for saving this man's life when the pilot could, in all likelihood, had put down safely without the parachute. Losing a flap does not mean automatic controll failure.

Granted, the parachute ia a fine system for catastrophic failures - but Cirrus may be overstating this thing quite a bit by asuming the pilot would have crashed an died. Also, the parachute deployment mechanism has been redesigned because it failed a few times.

This system is probably not the best.
2002-10-06 09:52:30 AM  
I can' type worth a damned.
2002-10-06 10:04:19 AM  
It's a Very cool plane. I like idea of all that cabin room. One of the reasons I quit general aviation is the planes are so damn uncomfortable.

But for $150K, I would want a plane that doesn't lose its flaps.
2002-10-06 10:32:56 AM  
I fly dragon...
[image from too old to be available]
2002-10-06 10:33:25 AM  
Cirrus has a history of malfunctioning ailerons. They already had an AD to fix a problem that came up in the test flight program. I wonder if this is related. Also, the plane didn't only suffer minor damage, the airframe is worthless after parachute deployment.
2002-10-06 10:36:49 AM  
"they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into....i say let 'em crash"

funniest movie ever
2002-10-06 10:51:05 AM  
Parachute or not, I bet that dude still had to change his drawers after that.
2002-10-06 10:52:55 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

"Tonight, one guy is having dinner with his family who would not have without our parachute."
2002-10-06 10:53:37 AM  
The article says they never expected the plane to land unscathed using the parachute. I can't see how it would be all that useful most of the time since most of the crashed I've heard about were due to weather or pilot error/inexperience. Still a significant advance I suppose.
2002-10-06 10:59:06 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2002-10-06 11:00:23 AM  
Nice pic, Doom
2002-10-06 11:00:43 AM  
cool idea, great that it worked.

i've always wondered what airport security would do if i tried to bring my own (personal) parachute with me on a commercial flight. would i be a terrorist? get the airport closed for 6 hours?

considering the safety provisons on current aircraft (life vests/floating cushions, and when is the last time an airplane "landed" on water with any survivors), it seems like it would be a good idea...
2002-10-06 11:05:46 AM  
Ballistic parachutes (that's what they are called) have been pretty standard on ultralights for a good long time now.

I don't think it's really a huge deal to finally put one in a somewhat larger aircraft.
2002-10-06 11:08:01 AM  
I belong to an airplane club that owns one of these planes. I've got about 25 hours in it, and it's a great plane. It's very easy to fly on instruments and comfortable for long trips.

Losing an aileron is certainly cause for concern. You can bet I'm going to look that over very carefully on my next pre-flight! Also, I'm going to watch for the NTSB report.

I'm not at all certain that a plane would be flyable this way. This is a pretty sleek plane, and without an aileron there would be a blunt trailing edge on that side, causing a lot of drag. There might not be enough rudder to overcome it. At this point, the pilot becomes a test pilot. If I was flying it, and I didn't seem to be getting control RIGHT AWAY, I would pull the rip-cord. If it continues to roll and you can't stop it, it will turn into a spiral dive and pick up a lot of speed. The CAPS system is not guarenteed to work above a certain airspeed, so you've got to make the decision quickly. Let's not second guess the guy. He's uninjured, so you can bet he's going to have a lot of conversations with the FAA, NTSB, Cirrus, BRS, even ABC and PDQ.

Here's the website of the company that makes the plane:

Cirrus Design
2002-10-06 11:16:40 AM  
[image from too old to be available]


2002-10-06 11:49:01 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2002-10-06 12:01:50 PM  
I saw this happen and I didn't even realize what it was at the time. Sure were a hell of a lot of fire departments out there though. It took nearly 7 hours of searching but they finally located the aileron about 300 yards from where the plane touched down. If I lost an aileron on the Cessna 172 I used to fly, I'd be dead. I'd bet the parachute saved his life.

Kinda strange that he was enroute from Addison to Dallas Exec though, because he was about 10 miles out in the wrong direction.
2002-10-06 12:09:05 PM  
I work at Addison Airport. We happened to be listening to the tower frequency when this happened. His aileron was
hanging on by one cable, whatever that means. He could barely control the aircraft, and then only to climb slightly. The pilot deployed the chute at 2500 ft. No
choice really, but with the chute problems the cirrus has
it's still a ballsy move.
2002-10-06 12:10:00 PM  
Idea: put the flaps on wrong so more people have to use the parachute - they will sell like crazy.

2002-10-06 12:13:39 PM  
Hey RiffRaff what do you do out there? I used to fly out of Classic but it's too expensive for me these days.
2002-10-06 12:14:50 PM  
The story states that he lost a flap, now that in itself wouldnt seem to be fatal. The flaps are far enough inboard to minimize the drag effects of losing one. Possibly the flap damaged the aileron on the way out? The pilot said that he coud not keep control of the aircraft, so I would assume that there was secondary damage onto the aileron. With a mssing flap and a damaged aileron, that may be enough cause him to deploy to ballistic parachute.

Anyway, I just hope that never happens in my 172, because you know my flight school doesnt have any 'chutes.
2002-10-06 12:20:24 PM  
Big Tuna: I fix broken Falcons (and the occasional V-tail
Bonanza But I don't advertise it).

Beefmoney: The pilot didn't say anything about a flap
problem. I think that's just bad reporting.

We know most of the Feds out here and should find out what
really happened soon.
2002-10-06 12:21:48 PM  
wow lots of pilots and small plane owners on Fark. who knew?
2002-10-06 12:39:09 PM  
Other reports stated that it was the aileron.

This one has pictures:

From the EAA "hotline" e-mail newsletter:

Cirrus 'CAPS' Saves Pilot From Crash in Texas

A successful deployment of a CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System), built by Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc. (BRS), occurred on October 3 when a Cirrus SR22 piloted by Lionel Morrison lost control of his aircraft during a maintenance flight near Lewisville, Texas. According to the NTSB preliminary report, the aircraft's left aileron separated in flight, the ballistic parachute system was deployed, and the aircraft touched down in a field in Lewisville.

The Cirrus Design Corporation invested $10 million into developing CAPS as a standard feature of all Cirrus aircraft. "We're very thankful and grateful that the pilot had the knowledge and wherewithal to deploy the system," said Cirrus spokesperson Kate Andrews.
2002-10-06 12:54:34 PM  
Officials said the parachute may have reduced the impact of the crash.

that's brilliant.
2002-10-06 01:06:21 PM  
Press release from Cirrus
2002-10-06 01:10:02 PM  
Hmm, what was wrong with that link.
2002-10-06 01:13:49 PM  
All I know is that I'm flying a goddamn Cirrus last May when my entire tail section snaps clean off!

I deploy the chute almost instantly, and the goddamn thing just flutters in trail like a flaccid windsock!

So I end up slamming into some poor bastard's 2-story house in a huge fireball and now I'm a friggin' CORPSE!

-Thanks a lot Cirrus!
2002-10-06 01:14:27 PM  
One more try. I have a hunch that FARK doesn't like line-breaks in an HTML tag.

Press Release from Cirrus
2002-10-06 01:21:31 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2002-10-06 01:25:12 PM  
2002-10-06 01:32:47 PM  
Bhayes82: Sport skydivers take their personal rigs on commercial flight every day. It isn't that big of a deal unless you get an ignorant security guard who doesn't know the rules.
2002-10-06 02:39:20 PM  
At least in Cirrus Aircraft the plane is a total loss after deploying the CAPs system, maybe in the C172 STC they can make it so you can use the aircraft again.

Would I have done what he did in that case? Probally I fly aerobatic planes, now I don't have the CAPs system, but I do have a chute so I can jump out of the airplane. Losing an Alerion is a serious problem, even more so since the aircraft has the rudder attached to the alerions.

Normally one should be able to fly the plane with only trim and rudder, but since the say that the Cirrus is designed with the Rudder and the alerions interconnected, it pretty much emliminates that.

If anyone can dig it up there is a good story from aero-news about this, explaining the AD and such.
2002-10-06 03:19:58 PM  
A couple of months ago in Lexington, KY someone pulled the chute on there Cirrus. They ended up crash landing into a field. Witnesses saw the chute deploy a few seconds AFTER they had landed. They said it was pretty silly looking.
2002-10-06 07:14:14 PM  
There have already been AD's issued for the parachute system and for the flaps on the Cirrus aircraft. Seems that when you transmit on the com radio when operating the flaps, the flaps can reverse their direction of travel. It wasn't a factor in this accident (aileron came off), but it's cool that this guy had to use the 'chute and it worked.
2002-10-06 09:49:52 PM  
Yay for Duluth, MN!!!
2002-10-06 09:52:12 PM  
I don't get it.
First the article says "flap" then it says "aileron".

I'm sure an incident where the pilot attempted to deploy a Cirrus parachute but the device failed was reported a few months ago. Not fatal fortunately.
Nevertheless, it's a great system.
2002-10-07 01:35:33 AM  

That DID NOT happen in Lexington. I should know, I fly in and out EVERY single day in my Citation X for TacAir. And to my knowledge, no one OWNS or PARKS a Cirrus at this airport and never has.

As far as the chute goes, the flight school out here has installed one chute system on their new 2003 Cessna 172R and another on a 206 Stationair. I have personally trained teenagers in this new C172R and I was less than 2 seconds from pulling the cord back in March after we performed a standard power off staff that resulted in a corkscrew spin.

If all these accounts are right and the pilot lost a aileron, I can almost be certain the aircraft was out of control. He had no choice and there is NO WAY he could of landed it. He did the right thing.
2002-10-07 10:59:46 AM  
There's a pretty thorough article on AVWeb this morning:

It seems the maintenance was to replace the roll trim module, which entails removing off the left aileron. Said aileron came off shortly after takeoff. Sounds like somebody forgot a nut somewhere!
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