Avoiding Cirrus accidents caused by excessive landing speeds

If you own or fly a Cirrus, a recent post about accidents caused by excessive landing speeds written by Rick Beach on the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) blog is a must read. Beach noted that there have been at least 30 aircraft to have suffered from substantial damage due to landing accidents. Moreover, a common factor but not necessarily the cause of the accident has been excessive landing speed.

Hence, Beach set out with his camera to photograph two CPPP instructors while they flew Cirrus SR22 and landed in front of him. He then used the photos and reviewed each one of them in accordance with the Flight Operations Manual and the POH.

Beach also wrote that he would encourage pilots to fly with a safety pilot or an instructor to review at what airspeeds they are flying at when landing because not all pilots have developed good landing habits. Beach then mentioned the following four things that could go wrong when a pilot has poor landing habits:

    • float forever: if the speed over the threshold is too great, it may take a long, long, long time for the plane to slow down.
    • nose wheel lands first: flying the plane onto the runway risks touching the nose wheel first, and that may cause a rebound into the air and starting a pilot induced oscillation
    • planting the main gear onto the runway: forcing the plane to touch down before it has stopped flying means it may start flying again before you are slowed down enough; why? a gust of wind may provide lift, or a bump in the runway surface may provide upward thrust, or the main gear spring into action and provide upward thrust on their own
    • brake lockup: with a free castering nose wheel, you may have directional control problems if the brakes lock up unevenly

Beach concluded by saying that pilots need to become proficient themselves. Moreover, they need to watch out for other Cirrus pilots who might be landing at excessive speeds and to tactfully intercede to help them become more proficient and to avoid an accident.

Cirrus landing sequence

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2 Responses to Avoiding Cirrus accidents caused by excessive landing speeds

  1. Thomas June 17, 2010 at 14:46 #

    I heard that they are not even producing small planes anymore due to claims and lawsuits. Is that true?

    • Matthew Stibbe June 17, 2010 at 15:31 #

      As far as I know Cirrus is alive and well and still producing planes. I read today in Flight that they are second only to Cessna in production of piston-powered aircraft in 2009.

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