For any reader who owns or flies a Cirrus, the latest issue of Cirrus Pilot, the membership magazine for the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), is a must read. In the issue, Cirrus owner and pilot Rick Beach has compiled years of knowledge and research into SR20/SR22 accidents to come up with a number of surprising conclusions as to what causes accidents involving Cirrus aircraft.
In fact and as Dave Hirschman recently noted in a post about the issue on the AOPA Pilot Blog, you might also be surprised to learn that:
“Only two pilots in a Cirrus fatal accident had less than 150 hours total time,” Beach said. “One of them was (the late New York Yankees pitcher) Cory Lidle, who had an instructor in the right seat during the accident.” (The other took place off the coast of France under unknown conditions.) Pilots with more than 400 hours total time accounted for 33 of 44 fatal Cirrus accidents where pilot experience was reported.
Moreover, Dave noted:
“All but one of the 37 probable causes determined by NTSB accident investigations lists pilot causes,” Beach found. Adverse weather was a factor in most Cirrus accidents, and weather-related accidents are most common in the October-through-March time frame….
…During the same period, there were 55 fatal Cirrus accidents where the airframe parachute wasn’t deployed. In examining those scenarios, Beach estimates more than half (30) had “a high or good probability of success if the pilot would have pulled the (parachute) handle.”
In other words, continuous learning and training, a more conservative take on the weather and not being afraid to pull the parachute in an emergency can greatly improve the odds of avoiding a fatal accident.
Beach’s report is a must read and can be downloaded for free from the COPA website by clicking here.