That’s the number one question I’ve been asked about this accident.  Not "why did the accident happen," but "why didn’t the pilot use the parachute?"

As I note here, most Cirrus pilots would say that the parachute should be deployed in the event of engine failure, unless there is a long, paved runway beneath the aircraft such that a safe on-airport landing is assured.  But that doesn’t mean that, if there is no airport within range, a pilot who opts to glide to a field rather than pull the chute is negligent.

Pulling the parachute has serious risks.  The aircraft’s rate of descent under the parachute is high.  Ground impact forces are severe. Cirrus warns that the decision to deploy the parachute shouldContinue Reading Morton, Washington Cirrus Crash: Should the Pilot Have Deployed the Parachute?

A Cirrus SR-22, N224GS, crashed yesterday in Washington state.  The pilot was killed.  The passenger was critically injured.  The aircraft departed Concord, California (CCR) in good weather, bound for home.  It crashed in Morton, 60 miles from its destination, which was presumably Renton (RNT).

The accident appears to have been the result of engine failure:

Facts suggesting that the engine failed because it ran out of gas:

  • Fuel exhaustion is the leading cause of engine failure.
  • The pilot reported to his wife that he was battling a "stiff headwind." Unexpected headwinds are common to many fuel exhaustion accidents.

Continue Reading Cirrus Crash at Morton, Washington