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Dead Pilots Don’t Lie

Published on April 17, 2009, in Aviation.

It’s been over a decade now since Cessna resumed little airplane production in 1997 and Cirrus delivered the first SR20 in 1999.  Together by year-end 2008, both companies delivered nearly 13,000 new aircraft, accumulating over 12 million hours flown.

In ten years of flight, sadly there’s a sufficient pile of NTSB accident reports to show a telling comparison of the two aircraft.  The reports offer convincing evidence whether Cirrus with its emergency parachute is, in fact, safer than a Cessna, or not.

Although, always equipped with an emergency parachute, Cirrus occupants were killed three times more frequently than those in Cessna planes with no parachutes to save them.  The data contained in one hundred forty-one NTSB reports to date confirm.

See for yourself, two tables of all the NTSB reports, Cirrus, and new-production Cessna accidents that resulted in serious injury or worse:
Cirrus NTSB Serious Accident Reports
Cessna (Single Engines Mfg 1997 and Newer) NTSB Serious Accident Reports

To compare as “apples to apples” as possible, and in case you, the reader, may consider the purchase of one or the other, this study is limited to new-production Cessnas (manufactured since 1997 called the “restart” planes) compared to Cirrus.  Additionally, only accidents where people were seriously hurt or killed are considered (not fender benders).

The Serious Accident Tally

1997-2009 Total Serious
Accidents
Fatalities
Cirrus 59 97
Cessna 82 111

 

In all, 208 people died, 111 in new-production Cessnas and 97 in Cirruses.  That may seem roughly even until the number of planes and hours flown are compared.

Total Fleet of New-Production Aircraft

1997-2009 Total Aircraft
Delivered
Hours Flown
Cirrus 4,286 2,650,000
Cessna 8,669 9,920,000
TOTAL 12,955 12,570,000

 

If you believe the claim Cirrus sells as many or more planes than Cessna, you may be fooled to believe Cirrus planes are safer.  This is, of course, exactly the story Cirrus wants to you to buy.  Yep, and Cirrus wants you to count “mishaps” per number of planes, never mind a plane’s age (on average over 30 years old), and never mind miles driven (hours a plane’s been safely flown).

Cirrus also includes all mishaps, minor ones that stack the numbers in their favor, like when a student pilot in a 172 runs off a runway, damage only to ego.  Cirrus wants you to focus on the number of planes per “mishap” alone.  In their comparison with the Cessna Skylane, they lump in all 16,000 of them built since 1956.  Obviously, Cirrus is skewing impressions, admitting but not reporting that an aircraft’s “type [of] flying” should be considered too.

So, to be as comparative as possible, let’s agree that 1997 and newer Cessnas are more comparatively equipped and more similarly flown to Cirruses than 30-year-old legacy planes.  Both are expensive to buy, and they’re both used and maintained by similar kinds of people for similar reasons.

The Plane with the Parachute


Cirrus’s advertising slogan: “Chute happens, Live with it.”  (Nice.)

Reports prove it’s a good thing the Cirrus does have a parachute.  It’s also disconcerting to consider the number of fatalities there could have been without it.  As of March 2009, there were 18 reported deployments of a Cirrus parachute with at least 30 survivors.  God only knows the number of lives “saved” that did not tally in the fatality column above.

BRS, the parachute manufacturer, has been installing parachutes on small ultralight and experimental planes since 1983.  To date, the company claims 228 “lives saved” (assuming the plane’s occupants were, in fact, doomed).  A three-year-old report from BRS shows that nearly half the “lives saved” in the most recent 50 were Cirrus occupants.  The report shows that six of the ten Cirrus deployments were due to “loss of control”, including one case of “high altitude upset” (I can only imagine).

To Pull or Not to Pull

Similar to a Cirrus, the rate of descent of a Skylane without power, flaps up is about 800 feet per minute.  According to BRS, the parachute manufacturer, and NTSB findings, the Cirrus rate of descent beneath a parachute is at least double, between 1,600 and 1,800 feet per minute.

Engine-out Descent Rate

Cirrus Under Parachute 1,600 fpm Uncontrolled
Cessna Glide 800 fpm Controllable

 

Incidentally, when Cessna designed the fowler-type flaps for the Skyhawk, they were called “Paralift” flaps.  “Paralift” flaps substantially lower the stalling speed (to more than 20 knots less than that of a Cirrus).  They also provide a gentler landing.

So, what if the pilot becomes incapacitated?  Then what?

In a Cirrus, the passenger must shut off power to the engine, and follow the instructions on the emergency placard to activate the parachute.  A passenger in a Cessna can also shut off power by pulling a big red knob, then turning the elevator trim wheel full up to attain best glide speed.  With a Cessna, there remains an opportunity to steer the plane to avoid injury to people on the ground as much as possible.

With over 20 knots greater stalling speed, greater landing distance required and other factors, the Cirrus proved less crashworthy than the Cessna, but that’s another post altogether.

Calculating Fleet Hours and Frequency of Death

There are twice as many new-production (1997 and newer) Cessnas flying than Cirruses.  Perhaps more surprising is that the total fleet of Skyhawks, Skylanes, and Stationairs racked up 3.7 times the hours of flying time in the last ten years compared to Cirrus, 9.9 million of them.  Cirrus production did not begin to challenge Cessna until about five years ago in 2003.

Now that 97 and 111 fatalities no longer appear the same, it seems the Cirrus fatality rate is about double that of Cessna, right?

Nope.  Worse!

Total Aircraft Deliveries, as published by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association:

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Cessna 172 287 422 452 490 448 315 349 236 351 409 373 283
Cessna 182 73 338 248 267 238 188 165 329 359 327 301 214
Cessna 206 0 15 199 155 135 56 74 89 112 129 131 112
Cirrus SR20/SR22 0 0 9 95 183 397 469 553 600 721 710 549

 

The best estimate of hours flown, specific to aircraft make and model, comes from Aircraft Bluebook Digest.  Aircraft Bluebook must estimate fleet times as accurately as possible for reliable aircraft valuations.

Average Hours per year as reported by Aircraft Bluebook

Cessna 172 230
Cessna 182 140
Cessna 206 185
Cirrus SR20 185
Cirrus SR22 185

 

(You may already realize, the Cessna Skyhawk is by far the most popular aircraft used in aircraft training and rental, compared to the Cirrus or Cessna’s sedan, the Skylane.)

Running a cumulative sum of fleet hours per year per aircraft model, total fleet hours are calculated.  ½ the annual hours were adjusted in the subtotal each year for current year production.  The calculation of total hours flown compared to accidents 1997-2008 are as follows:

1997-2009 Total fleet hours Hours Flown
per Serious Accident
Hours Flown
per Death
Cirrus  2,650,000 44,900 27,300
Cessna  9,920,000 121,000 89,400

 

Serious accidents occurred 2.7 times more frequently in Cirrus aircraft than in Cessnas.
3.3 times as many people were killed in Cirruses than in Cessnas given the same number of hours flown.

If this math isn’t convincing, let’s cross-examine.

Comparing Total Hours on Aircraft at the Accident Site
Consider how many hours (total aircraft time) accident aircraft accumulated from date of manufacture until the day they crashed.  The NTSB recorded aircraft total time on 41 Cirrus and 72 Cessna accident investigations where there was serious injury or death.

Hours on Accident Aircraft before the Serious Accident Occurred

1997-2009 Number Reports That
NTSB Reported Total Time
Hours Flown Number of Fatalities Average Aircraft Total Time
at the Accident
Number of Aircraft Hours
per Fatality
Cirrus 41 reports 17,835 61 435 292
Cessna 72 reports 76,680 95 1,065 807

 

Cirrus serious accidents were 2.8 times more fatal than Cessna in the same number of fateful hours flown.

Still Thinking?
Still arguing the safety of Cirrus with its parachute?  From the grave, certainly every Cirrus pilot would report no matter their experience, they found themselves in a lot worse situation than they ever bargained for the fateful day they weighed the virtues of a parachute and their ability to perform the flight.

Neither dead pilots nor NTSB reports lie.


UPDATE:

It’s argued that since new-production Cessna Skyhawks are by and large used for flight training (presumably in a safer environment) and Cirrus aircraft are not, that Skyhawks should not be compared with Cirrus.  The following tables show only new-production Skylanes and Stationairs compared with Cirrus.

The Serious Accident Tally

1997-2009 Total Serious
Accidents
Fatalities
Cirrus 59 97
New-Production Cessna
(Skylanes and Stationairs Only)
36 53
1997-2009 Total fleet hours Hours Flown
per Serious Accident
Hours Flown
per Death
Cirrus  2,650,000 44,900 27,300
New-Production Cessna
(Skylanes and Stationairs Only)
 3,590,000 99,700 67,700

 

Serious accidents occurred 2.2 times more frequently in Cirrus aircraft than in Cessnas.
2.5 times as many people were killed in Cirruses than in Cessnas given the same number of hours flown.

UPDATE:
Sadly this April, two weeks since this post, there were THREE additional Cirrus SR22 fatal accidents that resulted in eight more deaths.  The pilot of one Cirrus was a personal injury lawyer.  Another SR22 pilot was founder of shopping.com, a website acquired by eBay in 2004.  Little yet is known about the third, a US-registered SR22 that crashed killing four in Morocco.  See preliminary reports here, here and here.

FOOTNOTE:
Certain causes of accidents are not attributed to the fault of the plane and are not normally considered to be “pilot error” in the interest of this analysis.  Although all serious accidents are included above, you may wish to exclude the following.  This does not favor Cirrus.

Number of Serious Mishaps to Exclude from Analysis Above

Suicide Walked into or
Caught in Propeller
Bird Strike Physical Impairment/
Incapacitation
Mid-air
Collision
Total Exclusions Fatalities to Exclude
Cirrus 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Cessna 3 4 1 2 2 12 12

 

UPDATE:

The 2010 Statistics.

SEE ALSO:

The Cirrus Airplane Has Serious Problems

Again, Cirrus Proves More Fatal in 2010

Do Not Try This at Home

 

27 Responses

  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog and for this interesting article.

    I have a couple of questions/observations about this analysis:

    1. If you include only accidents where there is a death or serious injury, don’t you exclude the very situations where a parachute pull in the Cirrus has, in fact, saved lives?

    2. More importantly, your article doesn’t address the way people use these aircraft. Cessna 172s and 182s are very often used as training aircraft. Although I don’t have statistics to hand about this, a glance around my home base suggests that that while there are eight or nine privately owned Cirruses, all but a couple of the Cessnas are owned by flying schools. It’s a well-established fact that instruction is much safer than solo flight. (“The Killing Zone” argument). If most Cirruses are owner-flown and they are mostly doing long-distance IFR operations rather than local VFR flights, they are operating in a riskier environment and this perhaps accounts for the disparity in the figures. A more telling comparison would be between Cirruses and Mooneys or Lancairs etc. – high performance piston singles.

    If this is the case then there is a good argument that the Cirrus’s other safety features are more significant than the parachute: terrain, traffic, stormscope etc.

    I’m not saying that the Cirrus is a completely safe plane. There’s no such thing. But you have to compare mission profiles and similar types of aircraft before you can imply that it is more unsafe than its peers.

    With this kind of comparison, I suspect that the Cirrus would do rather better.

    But the significant point for Cirrus pilots, like me, is that we need to analyse accident reports and use them to learn how to avoid bad situations. This is true for all pilots in all aircraft but especially true for pilots of sophisticated, powerful, complex types like the Cirrus. Comparing one type with another is interesting but ultimately irrelevant.

    As you say dead pilots don’t lie but pilot error is the most likely reason they’re dead.

    • Dear Matthew:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      In reply,

      1. Pilots joke, “Any landing you walk away from is a good one.” Joking aside, I am not interested in minor fender benders. With regard to the parachute saving lives, I believe I’m clear to say YES it does! Thank God! What I hope readers see in this analysis is that after millions of hours flown, the Cirrus plane finds itself in more serious and fatal accidents, three times as often more than Cirrus itself claims. The Cirrus is NOT a traditional airplane. From a point of analysis, “only God knows” whether or not the parachute saved lives, so considering those would only introduce speculation that’s unnecessary. WITH the parachute, the Cirrus is three times as deadly as planes Cirrus compares themselves to.
      http://www.whycirrus.com/safety/2008-ga-safety-record.aspx

      2. I agree with you, the SR22 is used differently than the Skyhawk, yes. I made this clear in my post. I am making the comparison because Cirrus is. I’m upset that Cirrus targets their high-performance plane to new and student pilots. I’m upset because Cirrus compares their aircraft to traditional, stable, easy-to-fly Cessnas. The point of my post is to illustrate Cirrus’s endangering sales tactics. They lead the public to believe student pilots can easily fly a Cirrus. Case in point:
      http://i411.photobucket.com/albums/pp200/n3089n/CIMG3187.jpg
      (Oh, and no worry, there’s a parachute to save you should you lose control.)

      The fact is, Cirrus misleads people into buying an SR20 or 22 before they’re experienced enough to handle a high performance plane let alone in long cross-country, ATC and weather intensive scenarios. And, believe you me, many of the “wet behind the ears” flight instructors giving Cirrus checkouts are often no better off than their students – both in terms of judgment and experience.

      What’s completely safe? There’s no point in that conversation.

      There is value in talking about what is NOT safe. Although far beyond the scope of this post, I’ll throw out a couple examples. The Cirrus joystick control system offers very little aerodynamic resistance or stick force gradient. This is a factor that’s historically known to affect pilots losing control. Here’s another one – related to icing (you’ll see more of this in accidents to come). Look how the Cirrus elevator design is completely prone to controls freezing tight and compare its design to other aircraft, like the 182, that’s designed to accommodate inadvertent encounters:
      http://i411.photobucket.com/albums/pp200/n3089n/IMG_2326.jpg

      Your suggestion that “With this kind of comparison, I suspect that the Cirrus would do rather better,” is unfounded.  Please offer a basis for the argument.

      Again, my post is responsive to Cirrus’s misleading claim:
      http://www.whycirrus.com/safety/2008-ga-safety-record.aspx

      If only their dead aircraft sales customers could chime in.

  2. Cessna Flyer

    What does hours on the aircraft have to do with anything? Cessnas tend to be used in training environments, so they build up hours very quickly compared to the Cirri which tend to be single-owner aircraft.

    Both Cirrus and Cessna make excellent airplanes. People die in both, and it is rarely, if ever, the fault of the airplane. Buy the airplane you want, don’t do stupid things (even if you do have a parachute), and you’ll be safe.

    • Fatalities per hour is perfectly relevent. But, if your argument is that training flights in Skyhawk aircraft account for fewer fatalities in a lot more hours flown, you are absolutely right.

      I added to the post, above, to show the comparison WITHOUT Skyhawks.

  3. David

    Let me start out by saying that I personally think the Garmin platform is much better and having the stronger frame that the Cessna 350/400 has makes me a much happier pilot because I enjoy pulling g’s. Parachute’s a nice thing to make you feel warm inside, but whenever I’m flying one I never consider opening that chute (I leave the pin in the lever) because I’d rather land it under my control then a uncontrolled fall (for the exception of some very very very remote examples)

    That being said. I’d like to ask for a little more recent detail on the accident history. The reason being is because whenever I speak to a Cirrus owner about accident rates they mention that the numbers so high because when Cirrus first starting producing the SR22 they we’re not training pilots to a high enough standard (Like Columbia or Cessna do with the 350/400). Most accidents were occurring during a take-off, landing, or go-around which are obviously times when a parachute isn’t an option. I can understand this area to be a problem because the plane does have some issues with fuel pumps and mixture that you CAN NOT FORGET or the engine starves itself and quits. Is it possible to get a break down of only the last 5 years in accidents for both manufacturers and also have it broken down in 1 year intervals as well? On top of the number of planes produced a year. Thanks

    Also as noted earlier the Cessna 172′s are used more primarily as trainers and I guess you can make the same arguement with the SR20. But that’s probably a big reason why the accidents and hours are higher for a Cessna (in total numbers not per 1,000 hours). However, the bigger bread and butter for Cirrus is an Owners plane (not flight instruction plane) with the SR22 and the best comparison to it would be the Cessna 350/400, but Cessna hasn’t had that plane for long enough yet to give a good history of the plane while it was under their production.

  4. Michael

    Stephen,
    First I would like to thank you for this look at the numbers, I can only imagine the scrutiny and kick back you are getting from Cirrus owners and dealers. I think that it is very important that pilots out there are questioning all GA aircraft if for no other reason than to get everyone talking about safety. I personally am a ATP rated pilot that flies acro recreationally and I have only flown a Cirrus once due to my lack of comfort in the airplane. In my one flight in the cirrus I didn’t feel comfortable with the “stick feel”, it felt as though there was positive feedback on the elevator and I hadn’t even taxied out yet. I don’t know the reason for this spring loaded stick but I would imagine it has contributed to more than one stall.
    Again, thank you for this blog and know that I will get as many people reading it as I can as I believe that manufacturers are not taking their customers as first priority over profits and in this tough financial time I feel it is going to be more and more about the unit sales with less money put into safety engineering.

  5. From reading all this I conclude the safest would be a Cessna 182 equipped with a BRS , even better if it has a Peterson kit

    • Dean

      I have a 2005 Cessna 182T with an installed BRS chute and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d use it in two scenarios-1)a mid-air and 2) major structural failure.

      It was installed by the previous owner and it makes my wife feel better with me flying-and her joining me-someday!

      Can’t hurt resale value, either. But, it takes up 1/3 of the baggage compartment space (it’s behind the rear roght passenger seat and that seat doesn’t recline much. Also, added over 80 lbs, thus reducing my useful payload. A trade-off.

      I hear the vortex generator kit is worth looking into to lower the stall speeds and add lower speed control. I might do that somewhere down the line.

  6. Larry

    I have read many accidents reports and many have been engine failure over rough terrain, and the pilot/passengers dont make it.
    How can anyone be against a BRS?
    Its like riding a Motorbyke with no helmet.
    More weight, more unconfortable but can save you.

    • Larry,

      Of course, the BRS parachute is a life-saving system. Fortunately for Cirrus accident survivors (now nearly 40 of them), it worked! Thank heavens.

      No one here questions the merits of the BRS parachute. What IS questioned is Cirrus’s claims of safety. There’s little doubt the SR20/22 would be MORE THAN three times as fatal (which it is already WITH the parachute) if it didn’t have its get-me-out-of-ultimate-trouble device as standard equipment.

      Thanks for the comment,
      Steve

      • Brian Wilkins

        I also am an ATP rated pilot and have had a succesfull career working as a pro-pilot flying various jets. I now am a Aviation Program Manager for a large college. I have had the opportunity to fly a SR-20 and SR-22 and find both to be well handling and great performing aircraft. However, I couldnt help but agree with the youtube video Steve had made “Cirrus Design Lures Pilots Into Danger”. I like many of you study accident reports and have found that Steve really hit the nail on the head with his analysis and details. I dont particularly think the Cirrus is more dangerous than any other airplane, but the FALSE sense of security you have with the de-ice system and parachute can lead a less experienced pilot into a situation they have no idea how to get out of, or even recognize they shouldnt be there in the first place. There is one specific “case study” on AOPA that I would reccomend for anyone to watch regarding a Cirrus flying into known icing and exactly what can happen. I know from personal experience that as long as all of your equipment is working you can navigate through these layers, but you are keenly aware of what could happen to you should something fail. At that point you must have already had a plan to act if you have a failure. This is where the less experienced pilots/aircraft owners are lost I believe.
        I know that Cirrus has an in depth training program and I have went through some years ago to get checked out in the aircraft. I think it is a good step, but there are specifics that could be addressed better such as ADM. At some point the individual pilot needs to be held accountable for his/her decision making, but I cant help to think that if they knew how quickly things can turn on them in these adverse conditions they wouldn’t go there in the first place. Most GA pilots dont realize its illegal to fly into known icing unless your aircraft is equipped, certified and everything is working at that time. There is no way to defend your choice to go into known icing when the investigator can look back at the freezing level chart later and see you should have known what you were flying into. At that point I guess it doesnt matter because you aren’t around to fight the charge.

  7. Larry

    Steve thats a good point, I wonder why so many accidents with Cirrus, I read most pilots were over 300hrs so the claim that doctors and lawyers with just a few hrs were buying them and crashing is not true.Maybe they are buying them , but those are not the ones crashing them.

    And most crashes have been in IFR conditions so its not the plane fault , but the pilot.

    How many of all those accidents have been mechanical or structural failure?
    I know a few mechanicals like the one in Switzerland that the pilot was trying to bring to the airport with engine trouble and spun out.

    Maybe the little stick doesnt gives as much feeling or control as a Yoke or old type stick?
    There has to be a reason why so many Cirrus have crashed, for sure their reputation as the safest plane is destroyed by now.

  8. Joren

    So, Mr. Wilson, why does Cessna not install parachutes on their piston single line? You could at least add it as an option so that those pilots who didn’t want the added cost and weight could do without. Still, if Cessna aircraft are 2.5-3.0 times safer than Cirrus’s, then you could lengthen you safety lead by an even greater marigin if you had the parachute and you could convince people to use it.

    Next thing, you have the 800 fpm vs 1600 fpm under a parachute thing. You do know that the forwards speed of an SR2x under a parachute is only about 40 knots? Sure, it is probably a better idea to just glide, but what about people who know absolutely nothing about airplanes? Sure, they can trim it and all the great stuff if they know what trim is. Why not have the parachute even just to get people to ride with you and increase your business. I mean, think about it, say you own a flight school and you have parachutes on all the airplanes. Don’t you think that having that sort of safety device, wether it really makes much of a difference or not, would entice students to persue aviation because of this thing that will magically save them when the scary little plane starts to fall out of the sky?

    Regards,
    Joren

    • Hi Joren,

      I believe Cessna agrees with you, that having the parachute is appropriate equipment for entry-level flight training aircraft.  The Cessna 162 Skycatcher offers the parachute and will soon become the predominant flight training aircraft.

      BRS offers the parachute now for high-wing Cessnas. Cessna is actively working on the option kit for new aircraft which will be installed at Cessna Service Stations.

      Steve

  9. Mary Lazenby

    My little brother died in a Cirrus SR22 crash in September of 2008…we still have no findings from the NTSB, therefore no closure. Thanks for your blog, I found it accidentally trying to research the Cirrus SR22, and I intend to follow it. My heart breaks for all of the families who have lost their loved ones unnecessarily.
    Mary

  10. Stephem I was cosidering teh idea of learning to fly, but I thnik tis to dangerous. But i enoyed your blog.

  11. Larry

    Definitely is dangerous, but its the most exiting and challenging activity I have ever done.

    Challenge is you need to be current ; take care of the equipment and train/study/respect.

    I recommend it, you will not regret it.

    The more I learn the more I realize how dangerous it is,but the more I like it when doing cross country flights , look out for weather/navigation/traffic, new airports different conditions.

    But when I returned from my first cross country over a mountain pass and some weather that I avoided, I felt like if I have been to Berlin in a P51 scorting B17s, big feeling of accomplishment.

  12. Jeff

    While I’m all for publishing as much about the safety of aircraft as is possible, I do think you purposefully left out the trainer information.

    With all the research you did for this article would it not have been fair to list the flight hour breakdown? I would specifically like to see how many of those Cessna hours are in a 172 with a CFI in the right seat VFR vs. a Cirrus cross-country IFR solo or with unlicensed pax.

    I think until you factor in the training element all of your numbers are misleading.

    • Jeff: Omitted from this analysis were mishaps that did not result in serious injury or fatality. All serious and fatal accidents were included. The post already includes an update to remove Cessna 172 Skyhawks and address the “training element” you may be alluding to. Please describe how the analysis is misleading.

  13. RM

    I think the idea of an airframe parachute is good, but, I think that cirrus should stick to that and only that.
    Leave aircraft design to those who are best at it.
    Would it be a fair assumption to say that a caps system would be a good investment to install on a better quality aircraft?

  14. Bernard Vail

    How about a comparison of COMPARABLE planes, i.e. Cirrus 22 and Cessna 400? Let’s see what the figures show there, instead of hot-fast-wowee Cirrus and low-slow-humdrum 172.

  15. Chris Close

    Comparing Cessna 172/182 accidents to Cirrus 22 accidents is like comparing Toyota Camry accidents to Chevy Corvette accidents.

    • It is Cirrus Design that wants people to believe the SR20 and SR22 are safe and safer than average. Neither is true.

      • Josef Kunzel

        Syeve, thank you for all your documented research on SR/20-22 flight control characteristics and accident rates. You have not written much about it this year.
        I started reading your blogs after an SR22 crash 2 weeks ago over Utah. Flight from Concord Ca, to Aspen Co. The pilot did not file a flight plan, and lost control of the plane at 14000ft in IMC. The plane crashed on a canyon at 7000ft.
        We will never know what the pilot was thinking. Mother Nature ALWAYS wins…

  16. Jeff Sack

    Steve, I think you have done a great job pointing out the deceptive marketing of Cirrus and the stats as it relates to serious and fatal accidents in the SR20/22. Curious though about a comment from your Never Again piece. You make a great case for the unsafe flight control design of the Cirrus and the lack of “feel” of the control inputs, especially at slower near stall speeds. However, in your Never Again piece you do seem to describe how mushy the Cirrus controls got before you stalled. I thought the whole point of the safety issue was the lack of feel and over responsiveness of the flight control system in the Cirrus. Just trying to understand what you felt in that near stall/spin scenario in the Never Again article. I fly an older Citation 1 single pilot and 421′s and Seneca’s. I went once to get checked out in the SR22 and was not impressed with the plane or the instructor. I do not have nearly the same kind of time in the SR22 as I do in the other aircraft. I have almost 3000 hours with lots of complex time and am commercial/instrument/multi rated along with the 500 and 525S type ratings. Thanks again for doing a great job keeping us alive pilots from becoming dead pilots. I enjoy your blogs very much.

  17. Eli

    I’m a big Cessna fan and am typed in several models of Citations and love that company, however this Blog is misleading as it misses a fundamental difference in how the aircraft are used. I believe most buy an SR22 (especially the Turbo like I have) to fly like a light twin; mainly X/C, IFR, night, icing, mid-teens. However, many people operating Cirrus aircraft in these more challenging flight regimes aren’t qualified to have a light twin (can’t get insurance, don’t want to get a multi/comm rating) but can afford what they want and won’t be limited in how they use it…so they buy the Cirrus; therein lies the real difference. If you took the same level of pilot flying a Baron/Seneca/C310 or a Cirrus, that is a more releveant comparison than a 182. That’s nonsense- people just don’t use a 182 like an SR22.
    This is an almost impossible position to quantify because it’s more about pilot experience per fleet, judgement, flight regimes normally operated in, and the aircraft’s performance than it is about the OEM.

  18. Glenn Baldwin

    Steve is spot on in his assessment. In the last three months there have been six more Cirrus accidents claiming 10 more lives. Some with high time pilots, clear skies, or instructors at the controls. I suspect that a new study of accident data will show that the Cirrus is even less safe than previously thought. What really has me disillusioned is that neither AOPA, nor any of the flying magazines are investigating this.

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