In a post entitled Chute First, John of Aviation Mentor has written a detailed and thought provoking analysis of the March 15 Cirrus chute pull incident in Maryland that was reported in detail on this and on other aviation blogs. In his post, he points out that the 64 year old pilot involved in the incident:
Was reported to have had 320 hours total time and I’m assuming, given his age, that he came to flying later in life. None of the reports I’ve read give any specific numbers, but given his total time and the fact that his last certificate was issued in June of 2007, it seems reasonable to assume that he didn’t have much experience with solo flying in IMC.
He further points out that “the low-time instrument-rated accident pilot took a pretty big risk when he chose to depart with 2 miles visibility and an overcast ceiling of 400 feet at an unfamiliar airport” and concludes by saying that “’Chute first’ is a potentially dangerous and definitely expensive procedure.”
Clearly John has a point that although Chutes may make the Cirrus aircraft safer, they could also be encouraging pilots (especially inexperienced ones) to take unnecessary and potentially dangerous risks.
His post has already received several well written comments from readers regarding inexperienced pilots flying high performance aircraft and general safety issues with Cirrus aircraft.