Cirrus Fire at FalmouthThe Cirrus SR22 crashed while landing at Falmouth Airpark in Massachusetts and immediately exploded in a fireball.  One occupant died.  Two others, however, survived, only to be badly burned in the post-crash fire.

Some say that, if properly designed, an aircraft should not burn as a result of an otherwise survivable impact. Technology that prevents such fires has existed since the 70’s.

Landing at Falmouth AirparkOf course, many aircraft flying today were designed before such technology became available.  But the Cirrus was designed in the ’90’s. One might expect that a fire after a survivable Cirrus crash should be a rare event.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case. 

Cirrus critics, pointing to the Cirrus crash at Scottsdale, among others, want to know why the aircraft seems to be more prone than legacy aircraft to post-crash fires, rather than less.  Some blame the fact that the Cirrus is constructed of composite material, while older aircraft are metal.  I’m not sure that’s an explanation, since I have been unable to find a report of anyone being burned in a Diamond aircraft.  Diamond aircraft compete with Cirrus and are also of composite construction.