Cirrus down near Aspen

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by murphey, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pattern Altitude

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    The pilot did exactly what Cirrus tells pilots to do when a potential emergency arises...pull the red handle. He did and they are alive today. If they were in, say, a Mooney the outcome may have been very different and a rather different discussion would be taking place on POA.
    As far as poking fun at Cirrus pilots, I currently ride a Harley-Davidson and get a lot of ribbing from metric riders, even though I've gone over a 100,000 miles without a breakdown. When I rode metrics we used to poke fun at Harleys (in the '70s) as they actually were a 1/2 ton of roadable crap. So the poking fun will never end and it's rather amusing to see how products like Harley and Cirrus are marketed. Harley has spent the last two decades marketing to 50 yo bearded, big bellied men and now the supply of those is running out so they are shifting to different bikes that appeal to younger riders to save the company. Interesting to see if they can pull it off.
     
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  2. camorton

    camorton Pre-Flight

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    Yeah, me three. So many other options seem much more attractive than pulling the chute in this scenario. Wonder if he tried any of them.

    Obviously, the concern is loss of control in IMC, but with all of the other resources, backup AI, moving map, GPS ground speed, vectors from ATC, etc. you ought to be able to make a 180 back to lower terrain and/or VMC.

    C.
     
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  3. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Not stupid.. and it's a sobering proposition. These guys were lucky to have landed somewhere not totally remote. Had they not pulled the chute, would they be alive? Maybe.. maybe not.. given how often small planes crash, the average aviator doesn't seem to be as skilled as we like to think. Go to the NTSB database, search by fatal.. and you'll find plenty 200 fatals since May of 2018, in the US alone, in single engine piston.. of which, incidentally, only 3 were Cirrus

    Randomly clicking on just a handful from the list.. these all sound like pretty ridiculous, and at least for the first two, very preventable accidents. No, the chute would not have saved the first 2, and probably not the 3rd one either, depending on the root cause

    -4 people dead, C182, sounds like they hit an antennae
    https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/R...tID=20200112X30726&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=FA

    -2 people dead, M20C, departure stall?
    https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/R...tID=20191231X83852&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=FA

    -1 person dead, M20C, some kind of CFIT.. scud running? Engine failure?
    https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/R...tID=20191213X42028&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=FA

    ^my point is, we're not as good as we think we are.. the dude in the C182 was an ATP. Mistakes happen, and more tools in the bag are better than less

    Yes! And we wouldn't know it was because of a panel going "haywire" .. we would just assume he lost it in IMC, and make the (in)appropriate judgements of flying single engine piston in the winter in the mountains.. at least from this we can learn a little

    In and out of IMC.. with instruments you don't trust, right after departure when you're still lower than the mountains.. 30 second longer he'd have been in the mountain. I am not sure how many he *actually* had for other options. Ofcourse he can fly it partial panel.. but, how often do people train that, maybe during a BFR or IPC..? we all think it's easy but I've seen 2,000 hr people really FUBAR partial panel approaches under the hood. There's no guarantee his standby gauges worked either, if it was a frozen pitot (or static, remember static also impacts airspeed) his standby was probably bogus as well.. it's not a death sentence, but it's a huge and unexpected increase in workload

    Sounds like his immediate indication was a degrading airspeed and subsequent stall indication.. this may force the AP into an envelope protection mode and command a nose down pitch, so naturally he likely had AP off and hand flew it for a short while.. and now he has to start troubleshooting, while flying the plane and navigating.. to then ultimately having to fly an approach back into the airport in and out of the clouds with unreliable airspeed and possible other instruments. GPS ground speed is okay, but a 10-20 knot wind aloft can make that data rather suspect, and potentially useless. Certainly do-able, and we were all trained to fly partial panel. The chute was not his only option, but I gather it was the best option at the time

    Flying over "the middle of nowhere" and mountains (CO, Sierra Nevada, etc.) I've often shuddered at the though of "chute"ing in. I guess it's like abandoning ship in a storm in high sea, the prospect sucks, but if death is likely otherwise, might as well take your chances
     
  4. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    I have never wanted to pull a chute.........

    This is not directly about the Cirrus itself, but the trend to MFD’s. I have flown for over 50 years


    The MFD freezes, you lose too many pieces of information that are vital to safe flight.

    In my many years of flying, I have had gyro horizon unusable 3 times that come to mind.

    Directional gyro went spinning or stopped turning with turns 2 times.

    Turn and bank, never failed.

    Air speed indicator, one time.

    Altimeter, one time, delayed indication of altitude change, both up and down, errors about 800 feet max, ATC gave me a block altitude and we were fine.

    Vertical speed indicator, same event as altimeter, same errors.

    Compass, never.


    Note that the only time that I had 2 failures at once, there was water in the static air lines, bubbling as I climbed or descended. Otherwise, I always had a backup instrument when a device quit working.

    Some will say that I had no backup for the airspeed, but by matching rate of climb to RPM, I knew my approximate airspeed, and in the approach to land, familiar sounds kept me comfortable that my speed was right.


    The horizon gets drunk? Use the T&B for turn stability for needed turns, and VSI for stable altitude changes.

    DG quits? Time turns, and use the compass to find direction when not turning, then turn some more till you have what you need.

    Altimeter/ROC loses static air? Fly someplace with an airport radar and VFR conditions, get radar vectors down to visual conditions. If you, as I do, keep the plane trimmed all the time, a slight increase of RPM will assure that you do not descend while flying to the airport. If necessary, circle up till at an altitude above the chart MSA.


    In more than 50 years of flying, the standard 6 pack has never left me without all the information to continue safely in Instrument conditions, and land at the airport of my choice.

    It severely bothers me when people think they have all the instruments they need, and one piece of the set fails, and they have inadequate information to safely fly their plane. That is too much information provided by one device.

    Additionally, they should not all be electric. I have had 2 alternator failures that lasted longer than the battery, landed without radios. Getting down from 9 or 10,000 feet, then to a suitable airport takes time.
     
  5. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    "The pilot did exactly what Cirrus said to do". yes, Cirrus is selling planes, and every survivor is most likely to use the insurance money for a new Cirrus, the previous one just saved them.
     
  6. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    So...if the chute pull was a result of inadequate flight planning or training, how much does the luxury of a parachute pull impact the rest of us in terms of increased insurance premiums??
     
  7. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup, good post.

    My view:


    This guy may or may not have been doing the right things up until the pull, but when he pulled he did the right thing. At the end of the day it sounds like this couple would have died without the chute.

    All the guys talking about skill and giving up on skill, that stuff is all baloney. He ended up at the end of his skill set for this particular incident and pulled. Someone with out the chute at the end of their skill set, things rapidly compounding and going wrong, basically are left with a hope and a prayer. Their chances of making it are pretty low.

    I think Denver pilot nailed it with the SA part of the flight planning. You really need to have a plan for flying out of airports like this and you need to execute that plan. It should involve flying an ODP or SID and sticking to it OR not flying until it is severe VMC. When things go south you need to stick to the plan until an alternate plan can be executed. A lost ASI should not be an issue for a Cirrus, but it can certainly cause a lot of extraneous distractions, most of which can be dealt with by pressing the little AP disconnect button on the stick and holding it down.

    But non of us are perfect and stuff happens.

    I fly a Cirrus. I do not give the chute any thought when planning and executing a flight other than a preflight brief as when and what altitudes I will pull on departure. That's it, I don't say "well I can take this chance because I have a chute". No sane person does that. The plane I fly has envelope protection, traffic and TAWS. The traffic system gets some work because I fly in some congested airspace, the TAWS and envelope protection NEVER go off. My promise to myself is if these systems start going off in flight with any type of small regularity, I will call my instructor, fess up and figure out how to fix it. I haven't had to do that yet.


    I just did a currency check, which was signed off as a BFR, the flight portion involved slow flight, stalls, steep turns, short field work, engine out simulation, no flap landings among other things. The SR 22 is a docile well handling airplane. The review was fun. As far as the chute goes we were flying into Bedford, over Lowell MA, a small city, about 2,000 feet AGL and my engine "failed". I slowed to best glide, went through the engine out flow, engine was "dead". What are you going to do. No airports around, over a dense urban area. The answer was to glide over what looked like a large cemetery area and pull. No other reasonable alternative was there, just a bunch of bad options if you didn't have a chute that you would have to pick. Luckily the engine came back to "life".

    Landing the 22 with no flaps at night was an interesting experience for me. With no flaps you fly 90 knots over the fence. Touching down at near 100 mph at night was wild. Good stuff.
     
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  8. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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  10. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Killing some time waiting for an upcoming appointment. :)
     
  11. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Reading my posts on this old thread I want to clarify my position. I stand by my statement that I would not want to pull the chute in the Rockies. However, in this particular situation, I would have anyway. I still wouldn’t have wanted to have to.

     
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  12. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don’t understand why they couldn’t just ask them before publishing this.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe the position of the alternate static source didn’t match what they said they did.

    what I find interesting is that there was no mention of an altimeter problem, but alternate static might have been a solution.
     
  14. ChopAndDrop

    ChopAndDrop Pre-Flight

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    yeah everything about this sounds like the Pitot portion of the system froze, not the Static lines. Eg overwhelmed the Pitot heat, or otherwise melted and water entered the pitot port and then froze in the lines???

    Not anything to this severity, but I’ve had a mismatch of Altitude indications in IMC in cruise, and it can be really disorienting in IMC where you are supposed to “trust your instruments” but also getting a bunch of mismatched data and alarms that something is broken.
    Luckily I was in level cruise, on autopilot, and well well above any possible terrain, so was able to clear up the error after a few minutes.
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Would someone more familiar with this whole thread mind sharing:

    1.) Were they in IMC?
    2.) If not, was it night time?
    3.) If not, why not a turn back or was there more instruments out?
     
  16. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    According to the report (you did read it, right?) late afternoon, not IMC. The instruments were flakey, pilot turned back but then the instruments appeared correct so he continued on original trip.

    I don't fly a Cirrus but any one problem with the airplane, and I'm back on the ground ASAP. My very first pax after getting my license was a close friend (also a pastor). After the trip, the comment was "god forbid anything happens, but now I know how you want to die". Baloney! I intend to die of very old age, in my sleep and NOT in an airplane!
     
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  17. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Honestly, I see nothing in the final report that would warrant a competent instrument pilot pulling the chute.

    Unfortunately the Instrument Flying Handbook (and therefore probably many, if not most, instructors) give short shrift to instrument malfunctions. Like @geezer , I’ve had several flight instrument malfunctions in flight, including in IMC conditions. The failed instrument(s) seemed immediately obvious to me, and other than changing my scan to ignore the failed instrument(s), the solution was simple, and the outcome was good.

    I think when we decide it’s necessary to “choose between” control/performance and primary/supporting when flying instruments, we start reducing the tools available. The problem is compounded by only doing just enough partial panel training to be just proficient enough to pass the checkride.
     
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  18. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    I didn't have time to read it when I posted thus asking for a few quick facts. I did read it just now. Seems he was in day time IMC and approaching rising terrain:

    "The pilot began the takeoff roll on runway 33 about 1520. Shortly after takeoff, the indicated airspeed decreased from normal climb speed to less than 20 knots. Immediately thereafter, the primary flight display (PFD) completely lost airspeed indication and displayed red X's. At the same time, the backup airspeed indicator became unreliable. The pilot decided to return to the airport, and as he maneuvered the airplane, the airspeed indicator became operational again. After confirming the airplane’s speed, the pilot began to retract the flaps, activated his flight plan on the avionics, and engaged the autopilot. Shortly thereafter, the airplane entered instrument meteorological conditions, the airspeed indicator once again failed, and the autopilot disengaged. Realizing that he was approaching rising terrain without airspeed indication or visual reference to the ground, the pilot decided to activate the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). Upon activation of the CAPS, the passenger immediately notified air traffic control via the airplane radio and requested assistance. After more than 5 hours, a rescue crew arrived on foot. The pilot and passenger safely exited the airplane through their respective cabin doors without further incident or injuries."

    ...that is piling up quite a few nasties! Even with a GPS moving map still working (assumed by me) yuck with no altimeter and not totally sure of altitude remaining above the rising terrain. I think he did the right thing.
     
  19. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’m not seeing any indication that he actually lost his altimeter.
     
  20. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The perspective + has a GPS gagl?? function that gives you the height you are above ground level. While not an altimeter, it would certainly be useful should your altimeter fail. This airplane most likely had this feature.
     
  21. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Good point, my bad.
     
  22. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ack…I didn’t finish read it completely, missed the IMC. Those of us who live here avoid IMC in the hills.
     
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  23. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I live near there. Filing ifr ase to ege is a lot of hassle for no gain. Imc in that area is not something most do in a piston single.
    That day it would have been simple, easy, and safe to simply fly down valley around the corner vfr. In the long run it would probably be quicker.
     
  24. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Probably even easier to drive ( about an hour )
     
  25. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You must drive a lot faster than I do!

    An IFR flight ase to ege will be more time, obviously more hazard, than VFR.
     
  26. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ase to ege means what? Tia
     
  27. BPM

    BPM Pre-Flight

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    Aspen to Vail. Airport codes are KASE and KEGE (eagle airport near Vail).
     
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