Of course it is impossible to judge, we never can from a distance, least of all with the scant information available. Yet I can't help wondering: in that flat terrain, was a "normal" deadstick landing not possible? wouldn't it have offered better chances for survival?
Still, everybody survived, and that's what matters above all else.
If the chute is deployed within its operational limits, you will come down safely. The insurance will pay the damage. Why take the risk of making a forced landing with 90KTS in unknown terrain?
Most CAPS deployments with a fatal outcome are because the chute was pulled too late (too low), or with a too high speed.
To be precise: Landing (i.e.: tochdown) speed would be in the order of 60-62 knots (just above stall), minus any headwind. Still an awful lot, but at least let's be precise.
So...what's the deal with Cirrus aircraft (or any aircraft with a parachute system) with regards to insurance premiums.
Would it be a fair characterisation to say that the occupants will as a rule be safer (less chance of death or serious injury), but the insurance premiums for that aircraft will be higher (because the perception will be that the pilot may use it, and as a consequence, a greater chance of total loss)?
Well airframe loss (hull risk) is usually a much smaller component of the premium than liability. So if you can destroy the aircraft that is much better than someone being killed or badly injured.
Well airframe loss (hull risk) is usually a much smaller component of the premium than liability.
I don't think that is necessarily correct. Liability is based on assessing the risk of you as a pilot (i.e. your training) and the aircraft model. Whether you have a 2012 Cirrus or a 2001 Cirrus doesn't make a (big) difference here.
The hull premium chiefly depends on the hull value. It's a percentage of your declared hull value. I am considered to fly a low risk airplane but it's quite expensive due to its avionics so my hull risk premium is higher than my liability premium.
what's the deal with Cirrus aircraft (or any aircraft with a parachute system) with regards to insurance premiums.
I am sure we've all seen a huge amount of online discussion (not all of it civilised) on this topic...
I have no direct info on Cirrus premiums, but I can say 2 things
A few years ago there was an informal poll of premiums on one US aviation site, and TB20 premiums were much lower than SR22 premiums. This showed up the Cirrus claims of "cheaper insurance due to the fixed gear, etc" as apparently incorrect. However this is not just Cirrus; I know a DA42 owner who is paying £10k, in the USA, on an aircraft worth about the same as mine (£2.5k premium). It's possible that insurers do not like composite aircraft...? It's also quite possible that the TB pilots happened to be mostly "old" pilots, whereas the Cirrus ones would have often been younger, with fewer hours. It might be interesting for someone to phone an insurer and get a quote for both.
Immediately following one UK chute pull, the insurer for that aircraft increased the excess (the bit you have to pay yourself) from £3.5k to £15k. The 15k could be reduced to 3k for a payment of 1k. I got this info at the time from a totally reliable source. I have no recollection of that event but apparently the insurer took a dim view of the circumstances in which the chute was pulled.
The hull premium chiefly depends on the hull value
At say the £200k "agreed value" level, the UK premium for a TB20 is about £2.5k (1k+hrs pilot) and very roughly 50% of that will be due to the hull value.
I have found that once you are past 500hrs, any further reductions are really small.
So if you can destroy the aircraft that is much better than someone being killed or badly injured.
Of course that is always true, but there is a 3rd option which is a successful forced landing
That should cost anything from zero (if you can fly out again) to about £3-5k (if wings need to come off and it comes out on a trailer). Or say £20k-40k if you break off the landing gear / damage the wings. But a total writeoff, or the very extensive post-chute repair (which has been successfully done) costs a lot more than that.
I also would not want to go anywhere near the avionics which came out of a post-chute aircraft, no matter how many 8130-3 or EASA-1 forms they come with after the standard, ahem, "bench test" has been "performed" I would certainly not buy the aircraft as salvage from the insurer, but this could be a problem if you had been insuring it for a high "agreed value", in which scenario the insurer may well decline writing it off but will do his damnest to repair it no matter what.
The advantage of a successful forced landing is that you do not render yourself uninsurable in the future if you have one more "big event" later. This is obviously not an issue for a renter (I've seen renters walk away from the most astonishing things) but if I was flying a Cirrus as an owner I would certainly think about it. I would look for a landing site all the way down to ~1000ft AGL and pull the chute only if one obviously doesn't exist.
It's the same thing as the often-mentioned comment on pilot forums: "the moment your engine quits, the aircraft is not yours; it's the insurance company's property". This is of course rubbish.
The way I see it, the chute does give you a useful extra escape route, but I think if I was flying as an owner I would use it in a lot fewer circumstances than has sometimes been the case
All the posts above seem to assume that the aircraft will be a write off, I am not surprised that this is the assumption as the level of competence within the GA industry when it comes to composite structure repair is not good.
This attitude has in the past extended to the insurance company's who have written off aircraft that could have been fixed, the worst case of this was a DA40 that had damage to the rear fuselage that had almost severed it. This aircraft was written off but it is my opinion that there was about three weeks work in fixing it.
Returning to the Cirrus I would guess that about one out of five chute deployments will result in an aircraft that can be returned to flight and I don't see that as much different to the return to service rate when it comes to forced landings.
As for the Cirrus that deployed the chute in the UK it is now back in the air.
"the level of competence within the GA industry when it comes to composite structure repair is not good"
A bit of a sweeping statement in my view.
UK repairers: try Targett Aviation at Nympsfield I went to school with Roger, we are both 53 now - his work quality is very good
Cirrus chute failed
A very interesting and potentially significant incident with a 2001 Cirrus G1. The surviving pilot (name removed) made the following post I found on a German publicly accessible forum: