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Cirrus down in Orcutt schoolyard

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Cirrus down in Orcutt schoolyard

Old 21st May 2020, 02:46
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Cirrus down in Orcutt schoolyard

A Cirrus SR20 crashed in an elementary school playground today in the city of Orcutt which is near the central California town of Santa Maria. The only fatality was the pilot. School was not in session because of the Coronavirus shutdown. Otherwise the often joked about scenario could have actually happened.


https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/l...video/2365863/

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Old 23rd May 2020, 01:15
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New information- pilot was a student pilot on his second solo cross country flight.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 21:36
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Maybe it's just me, but I am deeply saddened by the fatal accidents of student pilots.
Life is really unfair to those, who start out their flying career with an equally empty bag of luck, as well as an empty bag of experience
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Old 23rd May 2020, 22:33
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Very sad.

The video shows the aircraft descending very rapidly, followed by the ballistic recovery parachute (presumably), which can clearly be seen in the post crash pictures. It will be very informative to read the accident investigation report to understand - if possible - whether this was due to a failure of the ballistic recovery system, or a case of initiating it too late.

FBW
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Old 24th May 2020, 09:16
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From the thread running on COPA: it is believed to have been a stall / spin on a base to final turn in the circuit. The chute appears to have deployed far too late to help.
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Old 24th May 2020, 10:53
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Originally Posted by Fly-by-Wife View Post
whether this was due to a failure of the ballistic recovery system, or a case of initiating it too late.
On the video, the "whoosing" sound appears to me as the start of the rocket pulling out the recovery chute. But it is only 1-2 seconds before the crash, while I heard that BRS is good-to-go above 500 feet AGL. This was extremely late rocket firing, and possibly an extreme late initiation too (since the chute did deploy eventually).
I am wondering if there is any study on the reasons for late BRS deployments? I have seen this happening periodically, especially with ultralight aircraft. The owner boasts about the added safety, then fails to deply in time, when got into a flat spin. Is it the cost of replacement? Or the possible repair costs for the airplane (the BRS will land it quite hard, but survivable).? Or the pilot peer pressure (hey, I heard you screwed up and deployed your BRS! LOL, what a loser you are!)? I am quite curious as we know sometimes fighter pilots are late to eject, or bail out, and BRS activation is also late sometimes.
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Old 24th May 2020, 11:49
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I am quite curious as we know sometimes fighter pilots are late to eject, or bail out, and BRS activation is also late sometimes.
I opine that's it's a "fly or flee" decision, which is made too late. "I can recover.. I can recover....." - when maybe you recognized the bad situation too late for recovery to be possible and then too low for "flee" to work. I have not taken military training so have not had the benefit of the decision making training which includes the sudden mental switch from fly to flee. Nor have I been exposed to the Cirrus training of that type. I would think that a student pilot, who has only just built confidence flying the plane would not yet have ingrained any fly vs flee training they had had, and when to make the switch. And, I think that low circuit height is too low for the BRS to be effective.

I'll not conceal my lack of enthusiasm for BRS systems in civil planes. I agree that for some circumstances, they have merit (passenger pulls when pilot has a heart attack, or from cruise over very unwelcoming territory following an engine failure), but I have become aware of too many circumstances where the 'chute was pulled and either a forced approach would have worked better, or at least if the forced approach would not have worked, the pilot could have pointed the plane to the least damaging crash site.

Pulling the 'chute is not handing control over to an experienced instructor in the right seat who's going to recover the situation, it is simply changing the situation from fly to ride....
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Old 24th May 2020, 12:04
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I am wondering if there is any study on the reasons for late BRS deployments?
I donít know of a formal study but some potential reasons include:

​​​​​1. Because in the heat of the moment the pilot forgets that BRS is available.

2. Some will be because the Pilot doesnít believe in the system or doesnít trust it despite the evidence.

3. Another key element is the muscle memory involved in pulling: in the Cirrus system, it takes 60 lbs to activate so just reaching up and yanking wonít work: the training recommends doing a chin-up.Doing this in a simulator is invaluable!

4. It is also important to fly with the safety pin removed. There have been tragic cases when pilots have tried to deploy and been unable to do so because the pin was still inserted.

Perhaps the most important point to make here is that type-specific emergencies handling training - preferably in a full motion simulator - makes a huge difference to the successful use of these systems. Having done this myself I can not recommend it highly enough.

All that said: I donít think this incident was survivable even with a quick use of CAPS. A stall / spin at circuit height simply would not give enough time for the system to work.


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Old 24th May 2020, 13:13
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Thanks for your insights, so it's basically down to the perilous evil of wrongly executed base-to-final turns. A student pilot on the 2nd x-country solo flight should be adequately trained for that.

I found the crash location about 2 miles from the threshold of runway 30. Assuming the flight was arriving from Van Nuys from SE direction, a straight-in to runway 30 would have made the circuit unnecessary. Something probably happened that the aircraft had to make the base-to-final turn, e.g., being vectored to the base or downwind leg, rather than a straight in, or a possible go-around.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/34...4d-120.4141845
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Old 24th May 2020, 14:02
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Originally Posted by rnzoli View Post
Thanks for your insights, so it's basically down to the perilous evil of wrongly executed base-to-final turns. A student pilot on the 2nd x-country solo flight should be adequately trained for that.

I found the crash location about 2 miles from the threshold of runway 30. Assuming the flight was arriving from Van Nuys from SE direction, a straight-in to runway 30 would have made the circuit unnecessary. Something probably happened that the aircraft had to make the base-to-final turn, e.g., being vectored to the base or downwind leg, rather than a straight in, or a possible go-around.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/34...4d-120.4141845
Again, from the thread running on COPA:

Flightradar track shows the pilot came in and did a T&G or low approach then went around in the pattern and the crash happened on base to final turn
There was also an observation that speed on the downwind leg appeared low.
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Old 24th May 2020, 22:37
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Thanks, so it was a right traffic circuit after all.
I am not sure what is the point in making a touch-and-go or a low approach after coming from a tiring cross-country flight as a student, so I guess it was a probably a go-around due to a rejected landing.
I start to feel a little similarity with the SR20 accident at KHOU back in 2016, where the increasingly exhaused pilot stalled and spun on the upwind-to-crosswind turn, after 3 landing attempts.
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Old 24th May 2020, 22:54
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Also I found some analysis of BRS effectiveness including low saves and training for agressive/fast usage....
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Old 25th May 2020, 07:48
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Originally Posted by rnzoli View Post
Thanks, so it was a right traffic circuit after all.
I am not sure what is the point in making a touch-and-go or a low approach after coming from a tiring cross-country flight as a student, so I guess it was a probably a go-around due to a rejected landing.
I start to feel a little similarity with the SR20 accident at KHOU back in 2016, where the increasingly exhaused pilot stalled and spun on the upwind-to-crosswind turn, after 3 landing attempts.
Yes, as I recall the KHOU accident was also influenced by the circuit being quite busy, with faster aircraft also making approaches, and by the controller giving an inexperienced pilot complex instructions which gradually overloaded her.
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Old 26th May 2020, 15:57
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Originally Posted by Jonzarno View Post
Yes, as I recall the KHOU accident was also influenced by the circuit being quite busy, with faster aircraft also making approaches, and by the controller giving an inexperienced pilot complex instructions which gradually overloaded her.
Yes. Both (horrific) accidents question the suitability of the SR20/22 as a platform to cut your teeth on - uncompromising wings and pilot workload don't mix well...
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Old 26th May 2020, 18:47
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Yes. Both (horrific) accidents question the suitability of the SR20/22 as a platform to cut your teeth on - uncompromising wings and pilot workload don't mix well...
I’m not sure what you mean by “uncompromising wings”: the NASA designed cuffed wing is actually quite difficult to stall. What you can’t do is fly it into an accelerated stall at circuit height; but then you can’t do that with any aircraft.

As regards the suitability as an aircraft to cut teeth on, it’s really all about the quality of the instruction you get. The US airforce, for example, uses a version of the SR20 as a basic trainer and there are plenty of CSIPs that also do that in the civilian world. With the more powerful SR22, however, there is a real risk of getting behind the aircraft and, personally, I wouldn’t recommend it as a basic trainer.

That said, both are equipped as IFR capable aircraft and much of that capability will remain unused in the hands of a beginner pilot.
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Old 26th May 2020, 21:15
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There is nothing wrong with the SR20/22 as a basic trainer - especially if thatís what youíre going to progress onto once youíre qualified.

Agreed, it can be a handful and requires greater situational awareness as youíre typically covering the ground at a much quicker rate. This places greater emphasis on the quality of instruction and depth of planning but itís been around now for 20 years so I am sure these are well matured now.

Sometimes, our bag of luck empties quicker than our bag of experience and skill fills! My thoughts are not only with the family of the student, but also with the instructor - truly dreadful for all concerned.
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Old 27th May 2020, 04:35
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Nothing to do with the aircraft, it's training and experience. Spinning out of a turn and subsequently hitting the ground with fatal results is all too common, the turn from base to final is the usual gottcha. Allied issue is that very few people these days are given spin training and very few of the training aircraft are certified for spinning. In any event, entering a spin on the turn from base to final is not going to be salvageable by anyone.

https://www.experimentalaircraft.inf...n-accident.php

An analysis of a SR22 fatal stall/spin in the circuit


And a Wittman Tailwind taking off.

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Old 27th May 2020, 10:37
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Allied issue is that very few people these days are given spin training
And there is the currency / recetn splin recovery experience as well.

Some flight schools in my neighbourhood had a bad experience with instructors who taught their students "too much" about incipient spins outside of the PPL syllabus, as it created a failse impression in the low-hour PPLs that they can master stalls and spins and subsequently became lenient / complacent on stall avoidance, resulting in at least 2 deadly accidents in past 8 years. I am also partially guilty in practicing a stall and incipient spin recovery without instructor once (with HASEL checks of course, and after a recent practice with an instructor on board, but still a bit dumb thing to do)..

Another problem is the startle / surprise effect, which is a huge factor, totally underestimated. During practice, we go into the stall with knowing it will happen, knowing that aileron movements should be reduced, and incipient spin occurs when we want it, into the direcion we want it, with the rudder. Not a single real-life stall occurs this way! I had the sobering experience of a departure stall during my commercial training and there you can go below Vs (steep climb is less than 1 G load), but the full engine power and decaying speed yaws the aircraft more than in the wings level power-off approach stall. So the first time, I couldn't really predict the moment, when the aircraft would stall and I accidentally corrected a little harmless wing drop with tiny little aileron correction, and as the wing started to drop even more, it took me another looong second to realize that we are entering a spin unexpectedly, earrlier than what I thought originally. I can tell it's a totally different ballgame, when the stall comes unexpected.

So I can only agree with the AvWeb video: the only thing that matters to avoid fatal stalls is avoiding high banks and speed control among huge distractions Nothing else matters at cricuit height and this is confirmed by the KHOU case, where the flaps were retracted at a progressively lower and lower airspeeds (way below the normal operating procedures). If this accident also showed low speed on the downwind already, which is rather bad omen for the upcoming downwind-to-base and base-to-final turns....



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Old 27th May 2020, 12:09
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entering a spin on the turn from base to final is not going to be salvageable by anyone.
Yes. So, fly a properly dimensioned circuit, fly the proper speeds, and if it's going outside the lines, go around. If a pilot is doing something other than this, they are not following their training, and making it up as they go along. The designed in safety margins cannot protect you, if you do not stay inside the margins!

I am also partially guilty in practicing a stall and incipient spin recovery without instructor once (with HASEL checks of course, and after a recent practice with an instructor on board, but still a bit dumb thing to do)..
Not dumb at all! As long as you entered this planned practice in an appropriate area, at a safe altitude, and in a suitable airplane type. You planned by reviewing the stall and spin recovery procedures in the flight manual (which are published, as it was a spin approved type), and you chose the right place in space. It is important to remember that an airplane which is spin approved has demonstrated that: It is not possible for the spin to become unrecoverable with any misuse of the controls (Recovery will be delayed, but when you get close to correct control input, it'll recover), and, spin recovery can be accomplished without requiring unusual pilot skill, alertness, nor strength - those are the prevailing requirements for the design approval. Now I agree that if a pilot has never had any instruction about spin recovery (a sad situation), aggressively practicing spin entry is a less good idea. Get some competent training - go looking for it if you have to, it's out there somewhere....

Now, as Megan, and so many others correctly state, any spin awareness a pilot has will be of little use in the circuit, where many spins seem to happen. That's the spin avoidance aspect of things, 'cause recovery will not work. Spin awareness at altitude is more about getting used to unusual attitude recovery, recognizing ground rush, and general pilot skill. Spin approved airplanes would not be so if safe recovery were not easily possible. It is noteworthy that all certified single engine planes, with an exception I'm aware of *, have demonstrated recovery from a one turn spin, even if not spin certified, though spin recovery of a non spin approved type may require extra pilot skill - but with correct technique - will recover.

*The exception I'm aware of: The Cirrus SR-20, by FAA Special Condition 23-ACE-88, which in small part reads [the "system" being CAPs]:
(b) The installation of this system allows relief from another part 23 requirement, spins.
So that can be interpreted to mean that the requirement for the plane to demonstrate recovery from a one turn spin was relieved, rather than required to be complied - because of the presence of the CAPs. So, I cannot state that the SR-20 will recover a spin, if flown with skill, as all other certified singles could. But Cirrus knows, as do we, that a well executed spin recovery will be useless, as will CAPs deployment, at low circuit altitudes.

the NASA designed cuffed wing is actually quite difficult to stall.
Perhaps, though it seems that spin recovery compliance was compromised.


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Old 27th May 2020, 16:27
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*The exception I'm aware of: The Cirrus SR-20, by FAA Special Condition 23-ACE-88, which in small part reads [the "system" being CAPs]:
No: when the SR series received EASA approval a full program of spin testing was conducted. The earlier FAA certification allowed CAPS as an alternative, I think probably to save cost, and this has led to the myth that a Cirrus can not be recovered from a spin.
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