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Cirrus, and pilot training

I've just come across this.

Controversial? Sure.

I think his central point is the lack of training for the typical mission profile.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter: the article is known and is considered controversial or biased.

That said, if an aircraft has more safety features on board the statistics do now drop as it is the pilot with his personal risk profile that will do more stuff in this aircraft than in the previous one he was flying.

EHRD, Netherlands

This article is horrible. The only number in it is that there were 80 accidents, other than that and some anecdotes it is completely free of relevant facts.

The best report so far by the AOPA air safety institute actually bothered to look at all accidents, as well as for comparable and not-so-comparable older types with and without glass cockpit, and the numbers were leading into a completely different direction.

The following stats are for all "modern" glass cockpit aircraft (Cirrus SR20, 22 and Columbia 350/400 together, but 88% of aircraft-years-in-service were Cirrus):

  • An extraordinarily high number of stall/spin accidents (59 vs. 14)
  • If I include "Loss of control at low altitude", that changes to (71 vs. 16)

(I normalised these numbers to 100,000 aircraft-years-in-service, the report uses years-in-service as proxy for flying time)

Things that are often spouted, but aren't major issues compared to other aircraft:
- "Deficient IFR technique" (34 vs. 40, slightly better)
- "VFR into IMC" (21 vs. 22)

If you reduced the stall/spin number and LOC at low altitude to the norm, the accident profile would not be substantially worse than that of legacy aircraft.

I blame the "Video game" effect ...

Biggin Hill

First off: even though I have been flying the Cirrus for thirteen years now, and I really like the aircraft, I am by far not one of those "Cirrus-defenders", hopping the internet forums in order to jump in when something negative is written (usually by non Cirrus pilots) about these aircraft.

The Cirrus does have its strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I think it is an incredibly good aircraft. But the safety statistic is not too good (I'll leave it to others to argue about whether it is actually worse than others). And yes, the reason is certainly not in the aircraft itself, but in the way it is (successfully) marketed.

Re the article: with all due respect that Dick Collins deserves for his enormous experience in GA, he is now an eighty year old man and has been a Cessna jockey for decades. His "columns" have always been controversial, to say the least. They are very much driven by his personal biases and usually contain very little "data" to support what he writes. Just take it with a grain of salt. Long may he live.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Well, it's always the same story. WHY in the world do some pilots think they can fly high g-maneuvers close to the ground with aircraft that have such a high wing loading as the SR22? Maneuvers that would be critical or close to dangerous in a Skyhawk or Warrior can be deadly in the SR20/22 (Mooney ...).

Well you can fly them but they require more airspeed.

EGTK Oxford

Ugh.

Didn't look at this yet because I don't fly Cirrus airplanes, but hello... Richard Collins used to be someone I read with pleasure but this article could have come from just one of the types I refered to not too long ago. What does he want to achieve with such drivel?

  • So the FAA IR is not up to speed. Um. Does Collins now work for EASA? Some folk there would agree with him.
  • So pilots with fresh ratings are fully justified to take it for granted that they can go from zero to full fledged hard IFR because the GOVERNMENT makes it too easy for them to get the rating? Gimme a break Richard. Either they have their rating and were properly trained to understand what they can do with it or not. There will always be those who will go beyond their capabilities. If you will, that is something which needs to be emphasized in training, not with new rules.
  • So Cirrus tells people their airplane is a "Transport Aircracft" capable of any and all weather conditions like an airliner? Not last time I looked. This bit alone would actually warrant that Cirrus should let their lawyers look at that article and tell Mr Collins in no uncertain terms what they think of this allegation.
  • So insurances should make Cirrus airplanes inaccessible to pilots below a certain amount of experience? In my book this is NOT the insurances competence nor do they have the right to do this.

I agree with Cobalt and boscomantico. The accident rates in Cirrus aircraft with regards to low speed and stall/spin conditions are unsatisfactory. Even more so the fact that many of the accidents could have been avoided by use of the CAPS system. That however is a training issue. Not one for regulators to reverse much needed and appreciated reforms.

Collins' article is totally useless and could have been written by a anti GA newsie with no flight experience. I'm very disappointed to read material of such absymal quality by him.

LSZH, Switzerland

So insurances should make Cirrus airplanes inaccessible to pilots below a certain amount of experience? In my book this is NOT the insurances competence nor do they have the right to do this.

Not one for regulators to reverse much needed and appreciated reforms.

Well in both cases, if there is a systemic issue then of course regulators should get involved. And insurance has all the right in the world to charge or require as it sees fit.

I have no clear view on Cirrus and don't know the type well enough to judge but both these statements seem a bit over the top. There either is a problem, or there isn't. If there is, then....

EGTK Oxford

Well I don't see many problems with the article. What does it say? - that too much self-confidence can kill, - that self-confidence increases when flying an aircraft with many safety features. is it wrong?

I don't think that Cirrus aircraft are the only ones inducing such behaviour and that's where the article is missing something in my opinion. But apart from that...

SE France

I can see very little right in the article.

He makes claims such as that the FAA making the IR easier to attain (when? how?) leads to more IFR accidents, without showing any facts to support it.

He claims that glass cockpits lead people into IMC and conditions that they would not dare go in with classic cockpits (which might be true, but is anecdotal) and claims this leads to more accidents, when the facts prove the opposite (glass CFIT and loss of control in IMC incidents are better than for comparable classic cockpit, even after that effect).

He goes on about the spinning certification-by-parachute, which given that spinning and spin recovery has not been taught in practice for decades (?) does not matter a jot.

A good rant, though...

Biggin Hill
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