Cirrus crashes, bad pilots or crappy plane??

They have soooo many crashes, pilot error or BAD AIRPLANE??

plastic??? :frowning:

Pilot error in most, if not all, cases.

Yesterdays Wall Street Journal ( 10-17-06 Personal Journal section) had a column about the Cirrus. The author flew the same model as Cory Lidel, only one year older. I believe the statistic he gave was that out of 20 crashes 18 were pilot error and the other two were mainly pilot error along with other extenuating circumstances.

I have never even been inside a Cirrus, but with the number of “pilot error” accidents, and after looking at pictures of the setup of the cocpit, would the fact that the yoke is not in a typical spot and is more like the “joystick” of an airbus be a big contributer to this? IMHO, it would feel weird for me to fly like that for a while. While I would get used to it, it would still be weird at first.

Actually, i think the side stick is more intuitive than a yoke, especially if you do your initial training in the aircraft like many other movie and sports stars are opting to do. I think that’s probably more true with the new generation a flight sim pilots. The side stick also opens up the cockpit making more room to read charts use a kneepad, and operate the avionics. I would suggest its a much bigger benefit than an inconvenience. That’s my opinion.

I’ll speculate that the parachute attracts a certain mentality of new or low time pilots, that believe it provides them with protection from all stupidity. I’ve been in them, and they are fine planes. I think the false sense of security causes complacency, and is a contributing factor in some of the accidents.

Unless you’re a left handed pilot or a right handed instructor and you want to write down a clearance.

I guess since I’m left handed, i already have that issue for the most part. I suppose it would be more of an issue in the Cirrus. I’d say except for takeoff and landing, you won’t be working the controls very often anyway.

I just heard that a buddy of mine crashed his SR22 today while doing touch-and-go’s. He’s fine, but the plane is more or less a wreck. He said he must have had a brain fart or something. He added power to start a go-around and ended up running off the runway, across the taxiway, across a huge field, through a catch basin, got airborne enough to clear the road and ended up in the field across the street!

Basically, the issue is that the plane is TOO easy to fly. And by that, I mean that there is no fear to double check things or plan for the unplanned. It is advertised to be simple to fly, so the low timers who don’t fly that often are attracted to it. However, “simple” is a relative term. The plane will fly the approach for you, but thats only if you set up the autopilot correctly to do so. The panel will display real time weather, but you’d be an idiot to actually fly INTO it. Cirrus has limited required dual instruction that goes along with purchasing one…however, rarely do the customers pay for the optional, additional time, where they would become much more familiar with the workings of the airplane.

A friend of mine from college was one of those instructors. He said that often times, these IFR rated pilots would go up and they’d fly around for a day or two, and he’d fly out to thier home airport to deliver the airplane with them, and somewhere along the way he’d have to save the pilot from doing something disasterous. And it was pilot related stuff, like not following ATC instructions properly or entering the wrong turn direction into the GPS for a holding pattern. Its not the plane or the systems, its the people not putting in the time to learn them as well as they should, and would if it where any other plane.


Perhaps Cirrus should consider GIVING additional instruction time with their airplanes. It’d be a small price to pay for them to maintain a good reputation for safety vs. the bad one they’re getting. Or maybe just price the additional time into the airplane itself. If a pilot spends $300,000 on a new plane, would he really miss another $500 or $1,000?

Look at the Cirrus advertising. It goes after people with the need for speed and portrays itself as a sportscar with safety features to protect you. That, coupled with a glass cockpit that resembles a video game is what weeds out the gene pool. I’m sure it’s a great airplane for some pilots.

Three Lost In Arizona Icing Accident

Thu, 26 Oct '06
SR22’s Parachute Not Deployed

In what appears to be the first icing accident of the season, three persons were lost when their Cirrus SR22 went down approximately 80 miles east of Las Vegas, NV Wednesday afternoon.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane was flying at 13,000 feet when the pilot told ATC the plane was picking up heavy ice. The Cirrus went down at approximately 12:11 pm.

Search crews from Mojave County, AZ located the wreckage less than two hours later. Industry sources tell ANN the aircraft’s ballistic parachute was not deployed.

The identities of the three persons onboard have not been released.

Authorities believe the plane, owned by a New Orleans-based company, left San Francisco bound for either the Grand Canyon or Phoenix.

I wonder if the parachute system was frozen-over somehow…

Either that, or during the heat of things the pilot FORGOT about the parachute - or the pilot was too cheap to pay whatever it costs to repack the chute

Rescuers recovered an additional child’s body, fatalities = 4.


As I recall, deploying the chute in a Cirrus results in effectively totalling the plane between the deployment damage (restaining straps pull out through the airframe skin) and the damage from hitting the ground at something like 4 - 6 G.

You’re correct, but the alternative to pulling the chute and floating to ground is quite obvious. It should be a no-brainer. Crash and burn versus crash and walk away.

I’m sure the first thing through my mind if i were in that scenerio would be a cost benefit analysis…

Opinions on why Cirrus has so many accidents are like…

One of my favorites is blaming the pilots. Now, if you take the tact above, that it is who they are attracting in the first place, then you have an argument. If it really were not something with the airplane itself, then it would have to be something they are doing in the marketing or sales that they somehow get the doomed.

Still, their rate does seem high (one reason they have more accidents is they sell more planes, but the rate is still too above average). Cirrus themselves dismisses this all too easily IMHO. Just because a lot of the wrecks are pilot error, doesn’t excuse the rate being higher. What it points to is something about the plane is WRONG. Otherwise, the overall rate would be closer to average. In other words, unless you can figure out whats wrong with the pilot population involved, then you have to assume its the plane - EVEN IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT!

In the early nineties, the Mazda Miata was better than average in fatalities while the Corvette was much worse than average. The insurers quickly figured out that it was due in part to demographics. Not all, but in part. Crash tests would predict the opposite results.

You would think the insurers of the planes or the manufacturer would do a study, but I haven’t seen anything at all.

I am a 1000+ hour pilot who has been flying since 1969. Most of the logged time has been in Bonanzas with steam gauges at wing levelers only. A year ago I transitioned to a Cirrus SR22 as an Airshares Elite Fractional Owner and have logged 150 hours, I always file and fly IFR. While most of the flying in east of the Mississippi, I just returned from a round trip from Washington, DC to Monterey, California last week in the Cirrus.

Basically I believe the Cirrus is a very good airplane. It’s flight characteristics are not unlike those of a Bonanza. The side stick is both sensitive to movement and heavy, so there is a slight tendency to overcontrol the aircraft - non hazardous, but not necessarily as smooth as the very well balanced and light control feel of the Bonanza. The aircraft perfromance is extremely good with its 310 hp, but it is a very clean, powerful and fast aircraft so slowing down is not as easy as say a Cessna or even Bonanza. Too high and and too fast on approach is an invitation to land long or overshoot the runway as the aircraft floats quite a while in ground effect as well.

While hopefuly dispelling any issues about the airframe or engine, I see a real issue in the complexity and amount of the information diplayed and the operation of all of the autopilot, pilot flight display (PFD) and multifunction display (MFD) functions and features. To say that the intitial hours of transition from a relatively simple steam gauge aircraft to the glass cockpit, and it related systems, is overwhleming is an understatement. I can’t help but believe that low time or inexperienced pilots in the Cirrus, or for that matter any other new generation glass cockpit aircraft, cannot easily mismange cockpit priorities or lose perspective when challenged by the systems and information now available in GAs latest and greatest. Of course this could be generational since as a “senior” pilot I never had the video game experience.

The availability of TKS for ani-icing may also be an invitation to place the Cirrus into known icning conditions even though the aircraft is not-certified to enter into these conditions real or forcast. The same can be said for the XM weather display. While I know of a couple of airframe losses attributable to icing, I don’t know if an Cirrus has been lost due to turbulence related to convective activity.

Ok, the bottom line. What does it all mean? I don’t know the reason for the Cirrus losses. I sincerely believe they are overwhelmingly pilot related and I can only assume more and better training would help. I also believe that alot of the problem is in the new generation cockpits, systems with their new capabilities and functions. I would like to see a lot of human factor work go forward to address these issues.

Thanks… my 2 cents.