So whats the alternative? Crashing?Good thing that guy had the altitude to use the 'chute. Low-level aerobatics would have lots of times where it would be useless.
Not sure I can agree on that - neutral? That would imply it causes as many deaths as it prevents - no way.Well, quite a lot of people crashed unneccesary because they pulled the BRS. Doesn't automatically make it a bad thing, but for now it's effect on safety is rather "neutral".
I must admit though that I've only flown 2 or 3 times without a chute. Great safety feature.
There have been lengthy discussions about the Cirrus BRS and while most people in those discussions weren't unbiased I found the numbers reveiling, there have been several crashes with the BRS that (probably) wouldn't have happened or would have been less severe without it. I'll try to look that up, but I recall from memory at least 2 deadly accidents, which likely wouldn't have happened if the BRS wasn't pulled.Not sure I can agree on that - neutral? That would imply it causes as many deaths as it prevents - no way.
So far the companies that make them have recorded hundreds of deployments and probably only a few of those were unnecessary and even fewer actually caused an accident. That is down to pilot judgment, but there is no way it can be said that the addition of a recovery chute does not mean a substantial increase in safety.
The pilot is the problem. Pulling the chute when not necessary has some serious risks.I can never understand the reluctance to accept a BRS chute as anything but A Good Thing.
True. Especially in the case where you've lost part of your wing (in fight collision) it can be hard to get out while spinning down, especially for the older pilots.Sure a personal chute is also a good idea, but it takes a whole lot more time (altitude) to unbuckle yourself, open canopy/door, climb out, distance yourself from the airplane and then deploy your chute than a ballistic aircraft chute.
I'm not sure whether that's valid in this case, but many BRS use a ring around the lines towards the parachute. This slows down the opening of the parachute to several seconds. By keeping the parachute small just after deployment (when speed is high), the forces on the chute are much smaller.Hi,
The things that really struck me about the video were:
- How long it took for the chute to slow the fall down. It seemed like ages before the rate of descent had been arrested
Judging by the estimated length of the aircraft I'd think terminal speed is still 8-10 m/s (16-20 kts), while that of the BRS is several thousand feet/minute.
- How slow the final rate of descent actually was. In the last 100 feet or so, the plane seemed to be suspended. And the
Afaik, the only two accidents where the engine DID quit would have been a lot safer without the pilots pulling the BRS, one didn't deploy till the very last moment when the chute blocked the tail, the other almost drowned because the aircraft flipped over after parachute landing.If all else fails... pull the parachute. Unfortunately, as of July 2005 all of the folks who actually needed the parachute to save their lives are in fact dead. The previously mentioned owners in New York who got into a spin, for example. Either the 'chute didn't work or they couldn't get it to deploy. On February 6, 2005, an SR22 pilot crossing the Sierra reported having trouble with ice (NTSB ID: LAX05FA088), despite the fact that his plane was equipped with the TKS ice protection option. He pulled the parachute, but was apparently going too fast at the time, which resulted in the cords ripping out of the airplane and the plane and pilot slamming into a mountainside. By contrast it seems that quite a few of the folks who have pulled the parachute and lived would very likely have either not gotten into trouble if they'd been flying a Cessna or would have been able to recover and land at an airport. One fellow in Texas on October 3, 2002 found that his left aileron had partially detached from the wing and that the plane was pulling to the left, requiring both hands on the side yoke. Modern airliners, to earn their type certificates, are designed so that if one aileron is jammed with a screwdriver the yokes can be split so that the left yoke controls only the left aileron and the right yoke controls only the right aileron. In other words, a plane will fly with only one aileron. It might well have been safer to rely on the parachute than on being an unwilling test pilot of the SR22 in this configuration, but a Cessna pilot, not having the parachute option, would presumably have continued to fight with the yoke down through a landing.
Canadian pilot Albert Kolk forgot to switch fuel tanks while flying along on autopilot. Eventually the autopilot couldn't hold enough aileron trim to keep the plane level and kicked off. The plane went into a steep spiral. Most pilots have trouble initially determining whether they are in a steep spiral or a spin (the airspeed indicator is key here; low airspeed = spin, high airspeed = spiral). Because the only demonstrated way to recover a Cirrus from a spin is to pull the parachute, Kolk pulled the parachute. In a Cessna 172 or 182, by contrast, Kolk would have never suffered the fuel imbalance in the first place. The fuel selector would have been on "Both". Had Kolk been flying a Cessna, he would have not have had the option of the parachute and he would have been secure in the knowledge that a Cessna will generally come out of a spin if you simply take your hands off the controls. With no parachute at his disposal, he would have had nothing better to do than study the instruments, level the wings with the yoke, pull the power back, sweat quite a bit, and say to himself "man, I'd better take this flying stuff more seriously."
Ilan Reich blacked out when flying IFR in hazy conditions in New York on June 30, 2005. When he woke up, he'd lost some altitude and gained airspeed to the point that he was 4 knots over the Vne of 200 knots. He was able to recover back to a normal attitude and airspeed. However, concerned that he might black out again and that the airframe might have sustained some damage during the excursion above Vne, Reich pulled the parachute. Reich had to do some ad hoc maneuvering to try to steer the plane away from some fuel tanks and then suffered a very hard landing in a small river. The impact cracked and compressed a vertebra in his back. The doors wouldn't open, and he had a difficult time smashing the windows open with the safety hammer and getting out. The plane sank after about four minutes (now we know). Did the parachute save Reich's life? He was a good pilot. He didn't black out again. He was minutes from a long runway with an ILS to which he was already being vectored. Planes don't generally break up in midair after exceeding Vne by 4 knots; for comparison the Vne on the Piper Malibu/Mirage is 198 knots and the FAA's structual analysis found that the airframe wouldn't start to come apart until you were going over 600 knots (smooth air). Had Reich been in a Cessna, he presumably would have landed, sat on the ground shaking for awhile, then gone to see a neurologist to figure out why the blackout occurred.
On August 9, 2004, Jeff Ippoliti had his SR22 washed and some avionics maintenance performed. On August 10, 2004, Ippoliti departed into low IMC and began getting erratic readings from his pitot-static instruments. He pulled the parachute and walked away from the wreckage, which was examined by the FAA:"Examination of the static system of the airplane revealed approximately 1 teaspoon of water was found between the static port openings and the alternate static air valve; the water was retained for analysis. ... Prior to the wash the pitot tube and two static ports were reportedly covered with yellow vinyl tape (Patco's #150-P 2). Testing of the water sample retained from the static system of the airplane, revealed it contained 3.2 mg/L of fluoride, which is common in tap water."The NTSB report implies that had Ippoliti activated the alternate static source, he would have recovered normal airspeed and altimeter readings. Who among us can say that we would manage the emergency more successfully, however? So let's credit the parachute with at least this one life. In flying over the rugged mountains of the Yukon Territory, I sometimes asked myself if the engine were to quit would I be better off gliding down to one of the numerous gravel bars in the numerous valleys or pulling the 'chute. This is a common paranoia among pilots of piston aircraft, but the fact is that engines very seldom do quit. As you can see from Earthrounders: round the world flights in light aircraft there are plenty of (braver-than-this-author) folks who've flown single-engine piston aircraft over the world's widest oceans. As a statistician might expect, to date none of the Cirrus parachute pulls have been related to a sudden engine failure.
I highly doubt that.Pilot training is easy
True. But even if there's a small minority (I think there is, given the accident statistics), their crashes on your type of aircraft means much higher insurance for you.Nor do I believe that a significant number of pilots are taking significantly greater risks because they have a BRS on-board. If you use the 'chute you're still looking at a busted-up $100,000+ airplane, even if you, yourself, walk away. Will some pilots take greater risks because they have the 'chute? Sure. But again, it's not a valid argrment to generalize that to the overall pilot population.
Grin. I recall a carmaker saying "the safest car is one with a knife on the steering wheel, pointed at the chest of the driver" :gig:It's the aviation equivalent of the Darwin Awards.