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The most unnecessary chute pull ever?

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The most unnecessary chute pull ever?

Old 17th May 2014, 00:06
  #321 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
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Pace asked several insightful questions about the doctrine being taught about the use of the Cirrus parachute. Here’s a stream of consciousness from my perspective.
Originally Posted by Pace
The recommendations from many here is to use the chute for every engine failure as standard practice regardless of being over built up areas or otherwise.
Sadly one day a Cirrus will pull over built up areas rather than gliding clear and will cause a multiple road collision or injury/death to someone on the ground.
Actually, the doctrine recommends the use of the CAPS parachute in preference to an off-airport landing whenever a landing on a runway is not assured. (Recall that Adrian researched this for Bonanza and Mooney accidents and found about 20% of their most recent 100 fatal accidents were off-airport landings.)

As for a CAPS pull over built-up areas, been there, done that — no significant bad outcomes to date. Note: past results do not guarantee future performance — but it is interesting to review.

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA — passenger deployed parachute (late, just 4 seconds prior to impact) and plane crashed into a retention pond in the midst of a residential neighborhood. People witnessed the parachute opening but not fully opened. No injuries to anyone on ground.

Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA — pilot deployed the parachute in IMC while disoriented and not trusting that the autopilot LVL button would regain level flight given the low altitude available. Plane landed in a residential neighborhood on a street after breaking tree limbs and with the wingtip striking a parked cargo truck. No injuries to pilot or ground personnel. No damage to truck.

Birmingham, Alabama, USA — pilot deployed parachute after disorientation on approach in IMC; plane landed in a downtown open field (how did it find the only open space in town, eh?!), right across from a gentleman’s club. No injuries to people on the ground.

Danbury, Connecticut, USA — pilot deployed at night over urban area 3 miles from airport and plane draped parachute over power lines. No injuries to people on ground. In fact, law enforcement officials told news media that people aboard plane were a bit shocked, just like typical accidents they investigate. That is, no big deal.

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK — pilot deployed over urban area. At least three people made video recordings of the descent, which indicates that people on the ground notice a parachute pull. Plane clipped tall trees and landed in a garden. No injuries to people on the ground.

Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA — pilot deployed over suburban area and plane came down on top of a pickup truck on the road below. Officially, the local law enforcement considered it a traffic accident! Neither the pilot nor truck driver were injured.

Lawson, NSW, Australia — plane descended under canopy over small town in Blue Mountain region west of Sydney. At least two people recorded the descent on video and at least one other photographed the plane under canopy. People on the ground notice. Plane landed in front yard of a residence, broke tree branches, draped the parachute over power lines. No one on the ground was injured, although they posted a sign on a nearby tree: “Lawson Airport Now Open”

Think about the energy of a vertical descent under canopy. At 17 knots under parachute, compare to gliding clear and hitting something at near stall speed of 60 knots or glide speed of 88 knots. How much less energy is there to contend with under canopy? At least 1/12 the energy of a stall or 1/26 the energy of a glide and 1/112 of a spiral dive!

BTW, there has never been a post-impact fire after a descent under canopy (notwithstanding the fiery mid-air collision at Boulder that deployed the parachute by impact forces).

Consequently, we share these results to awaken people to the actual history of successful landings under canopy.

Pace also asked:
Originally Posted by Pace
Also consider an engine failure is more likely to happen soon after takeoff when the engine is most stressed has consideration been made regarding pulling at below recommended safe chute altitudes.
Doctrine for use of Cirrus parachute on departure now includes a structured departure briefing:
- runway heading
- field elevation
- 500’ AGL altitude as MSL for “CAPS and FLAPS” call out
- 2000’ AGL altitude as MSL for troubleshooting
- hard-deck altitude at which pilot will deploy CAPS before descending without runway landing assured

For loss of power events on departure, first recommendation is to abort the takeoff — better to overrun the runway at 30 knots than impact the ground at 90 knots.

Next, below 500’ AGL, pilots plan to land straight ahead.

At 500’ AGL, pilots call out CAPS and FLAPS, meaning that CAPS is viable at this altitude above the ground if deployed immediately without further hesitation (or expect a loss of altitude below which CAPS may not be viable)

At 2000’ AGL, pilots now have sufficient altitude to troubleshoot the situation and determine the best course of action. However, the hard-deck altitude provides a threshold for action, below which the pilot will not descend without deploying CAPS, unless landing on a runway is assured.


Finallly, Pace asked about deploying CAPS under strong wind conditions:
Originally Posted by Pace
finally what are COPA and Cirrus recommendations in strong wind conditions? We all know the damage caused to a car in a 30mph crash into a solid object a car has far better crash protection than an aircraft with a large lump of engine in front of the pilots.

what is the COPA attitude regarding a descending aircraft moving not just vertically but horizontally at 30 to 40 KTS?

Surely that 30 to 40 KTS would suit an in control FL into wind better than under a chute?
Tough call, for which guidance necessarily involves pilot judgement of the situation.

As for the crunch of a Cirrus at 30 knots intro something solid, recall that the ergonomics were designed to handle this situation. Seats are certified for 26G horizontal impact. Restraints are four-point seat belts. Airbags are equipped on many Cirrus aircraft. Side yoke removes the frontal impact of a steering wheel or yoke, that often impales the front-seat people. Seats are equipped with crush zones for vertical impacts. The cockpit structure involves carbon fibre and very strong cage pillars. Several Cirrus have run off the runways at 30+ knots and people survived.

Interestingly, at least four Cirrus have landed under canopy in strong winds, between 25 and 40 knots. Once people exited the airplane, the parachute reinflated and the aircraft flipped over. At least one involved a dangerous situation, which was captured on video, where the empty plane was dragged by the parachute over a frozen field until the parachute hung up on a power line. No one was injured in those accidents, either on the ground or aboard the aircraft.

As for a better outcome in a forced landing in strong winds conditions, that depends upon the skill of the pilot under duress. Most of us hope to be that skillful, but many of us realize that do not practice that, have not formed a habit of doing that, and would not trust we could successfully execute that. Also, it takes a bit of skill to maneuver into the winds at the surface that are often different than the winds aloft.

When flying a Cirrus with a parachute recovery device, we have the option of not executing a forced landing. In other aircraft, no such choice.

So, the training doctrine on the use of CAPS seeks to emphasize that the pilot must make their own determination of when they will pull the red handle.

Fortunately, recent outcomes are favorable — in the past 12 months, 8 fatal accidents and 11 CAPS deployments with 15 fatalities and 21 survivors. And the trend is accelerating — fewer fatalities and more survivors — in the past 6 months, 1 fatal accident and 7 CAPS deployments with 1 fatality and 13 survivors.

Good. But we are not done yet.


Cheers
Rick
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Old 17th May 2014, 10:28
  #322 (permalink)  
 
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Rick

You raise some interesting points regarding the base level for a chute pull.
A climbing aircraft maybe climbing at 700fpm and abruptly loosing an engine would still have some upward momentum when the chute is pulled.

I would imagine this would have an effect on the chute being successful at a lower than base level as there would be less deceleration for the chute to counteract over a pull with an aircraft descending at maybe 700 fpm?

Probably further research could establish better guidelines.

Maybe now we can get to some sensible discussion

Pace
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Old 17th May 2014, 20:13
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pace
You raise some interesting points regarding the base level for a chute pull.
A climbing aircraft maybe climbing at 700fpm and abruptly loosing an engine would still have some upward momentum when the chute is pulled.

I would imagine this would have an effect on the chute being successful at a lower than base level as there would be less deceleration for the chute to counteract over a pull with an aircraft descending at maybe 700 fpm?

Probably further research could establish better guidelines.
Indeed, you point out an advantage of a climb attitude for deploying the Cirrus parachute -- upward momentum.

Except, experience with pilots in Cirrus simulators proves otherwise. Despite hiring the simulator to experience emergency procedures, despite thorough briefings with the simulator instructor, despite knowing they will be challenged by an engine-failure-on-takeoff scenario -- they don't pull!

Seems that until a Cirrus pilot forms a habit, they experience tunnel vision, panic, or freeze.

One sim instructor goes so far as to note "That I only have to kill them once!"

In retrospect, the combination of reviewing CAPS survivable scenarios with a briefing for departure on every flight gets into the minds of Cirrus pilots -- and they do things differently afterwards. The briefing includes establishing altitudes as well as the call-out for "CAPS and FLAPS" and an action to grasp the CAPS handle at 500' AGL. That helps build muscle memory and a habit to consider CAPS in an emergency.

Once you get into a Cirrus cockpit, have a great Cirrus day!

Cheers
Rick
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Old 17th May 2014, 22:35
  #324 (permalink)  
 
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The handle is a bit like aeros.

Watch the average pilots head during climb out - its focused straight ahead or on the instruments. Some aeros training gets the head naturally moving around the cockpit watching in this case for traffic at one of the most critical times.

Once learnt it isnt quickly forgotten but it takes some learning in the same way as calls that a safe 180 is an option if executed immediately or a chute deployment is an option.
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Old 19th May 2014, 15:17
  #325 (permalink)  
 
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Without wanting to take this tread off course - does anyone know where a Cirrus pilot has actually pulled off a successful forced landing and deliberately opted NOT to pull the 'chute?

My view is that CAPS is like an ejection seat. Just as when I was learning to fly in the RAF we had ejections seats in Jet Provosts and Hawks BUT we were still taught how to do forced landings.

If all we had been taught was to "pull the handle" many aircraft would have been lost un-necessarily and many were saved by successfully being landed dead-stick and this was sometimes done in IMC/night - we needed a 600 foot cloud base to give it a go. There was even a procedure to dead-stick aircraft such as the Harrier and the Hunter just as I think there still is for the F16, which like the others mentioned is also a single-engine jet.

I'm not saying that having a CAPS option is bad, all I would like to see is perhaps some discretion first. Clearly if over mountains or water there's no contest but if a forced landing was an option I'd start the profile and only take CAPS if it was clear that my forced landing was not going to work, at say CAPS AGL minima plus 250 feet.

MB
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Old 19th May 2014, 18:02
  #326 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, there is an SR20 in France that was successfully landed in a field by a low-time pilot after the engine had quit due to corrosion in the fuel system, which had probably developed during a few months where the aircraft had not been flown. Here is the incident report (only in French):

http://www.bea.aero/docspa/2011/f-nc...f-nc111203.pdf

"Conséquences: Aucune" means: No consequences, the aircraft flies again.
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Old 19th May 2014, 19:04
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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Madbob

There have been a number of forced landings in Cirrus aircraft, some more successful than others. Here is an example of one that went fairly well.

WPR13LA011

The problem, of course, lies in the ones that didn't work out quite so well......
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Old 19th May 2014, 19:57
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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Jonzarno

The problem there and this is not pointed at chuted or unchuted aircraft is a complete lack of practice which in a single piston should priority for practising regulary .

Pilots should practice FLs as well as instinctively looking for landing areas in the takeoff and even in the cruise but apart from in a checkout few bother.

Its the same with multi engine pilots they fly single engine stuff under test but then never bother until the next examination.

So my guess is that a failure to pull off a successful forced landing is more than likely to be a lack of practice which again comes back to keeping handling skills honed

Pace
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Old 19th May 2014, 22:08
  #329 (permalink)  
 
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Pace

I wouldn't argue with that at all.

I always try to brief land ahead options in the event of an EFATO but one thing that often strikes me is how many runways don't really have one.

There's one particular runway I often use that goes right over a city with no real alternative for a Cirrus driver to either getting back down on the runway straight ahead and hoping you don't hit the hedge too hard or pulling if you are above 500 ft.

When I have practised forced landings from the cruise (yes I actually do although, as you say, probably not often enough, and despite my opinion about the use of CAPS!) it has often struck me how little I can really see in a field 500 feet below me. Of course some fields are better than others for that but it's still hard to be sure nothing nasty awaits down there.

And therein lies the answer to your point about reasons for unsuccessful FLs. There are reasons that relate to the skill of the pilot, and there you are right about the need to keep the skills sharp; but there are also reasons relating to unseen objects and obstacles that you don't know about until it's too late.

In light of that, I have to say, at the risk of unleashing another storm of outrage, if I didn't have a nailed on landing on a runway, I'd still pull.

But on your main point, the need to keep basic flying skills current, I agree entirely.
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Old 19th May 2014, 22:27
  #330 (permalink)  
 
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I always try to brief land ahead options in the event of an EFATO but one thing that often strikes me is how many runways don't really have one.
That's one that bothers me, especially after the Barton accident. Now if I'm going somewhere I either work out the runway in use from wind or if it's multiple runways I ask before I take off. I then go to 'View on map' from Skydemon and check out the Google image. If it looks like a crap departure (or even arrival) with no outs I don't go. I'm not happy being at full power and 200' above an urban connurbation.

Thinking about that, don't some departures therefore break the glide clear rule? Or does that fall under the 'unless landing or taking off' rule?
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Old 20th May 2014, 10:48
  #331 (permalink)  
 
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yep it does thing.

Some airports are criminal with the amount of risk exposure they place SEP pilots under with their VFR approach routings.

And they get in a major strop when you tell them to go and poke it your not doing it.

LBA once tried to get me to extend down wind and orbit over the city in a SEP bloody madness. But everyone else accepts it so by showing good PIC skills your perceived to be a stroppy stupid pilot.
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Old 20th May 2014, 20:06
  #332 (permalink)  
 
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your perceived to be a stroppy stupid pilot.
Good grief MJ - Surely Not?
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Old 20th May 2014, 20:24
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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yep which is why prats getting themselves into stupid situations and then pulling a handle to save themselves has a knock on effect for us all.
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Old 20th May 2014, 21:24
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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Dunno might stop AT putting pilots in such situations in the first place, they probably think everyone is capable of gliding clear until they come down vertically.
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Old 20th May 2014, 23:46
  #335 (permalink)  
 
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LBA once tried to get me to extend down wind and orbit over the city in a SEP bloody madness.
But a city is usually pretty big so select the area you are going to do your orbit thing over. Ie if there is a river running through it orbit where you know you can put down in the river or a railway line or whatever!

Keep a content situational awareness of the wind direction, Look for open fields and above all keep the thing flying. Why should there ever be an excuse to stall, spin in or fly into a house? It is you who have done the above no one else.

Gliding down you have complete control. the space shuttle can glide in from space! If you fly into a brick wall its you who have done so.
Be constantly aware and don't fixate on landing at one point. If its not looking good go 45 degrees left or right and take one of the other areas you as a constantly aware pilot will have marked with you eagle eyes.

If I had such a failure over a City i would glide clear. If not possible or no landing site was available yes pull the chute because you have no choice.With a gliding aircraft you are in control pull the chute and you are no longer in control.

Come down into someones back garden on top of the pram with a baby in it and you live with that.

Not so bad if you know you had no choice but not so easy to live with if you know you could have glided to a better place or used your superior skills to do something else.

Above all keep your skills honed so you are in control even if that control means you elect to pull the chute.

Sit there like a Frozen lump of jelly a passenger to events then ???
Flying skills flying skills you are a pilot not an aeroplane driver good at pushing buttons but nothing else.

No one tells you to stall to spin or to fly into a brick wall its all in your control.

Pace
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Old 21st May 2014, 02:37
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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Way more engine failures in the Cirrus, and every other GA airplane, were directly caused by the pilot than were situations where the engine actually failed with no warning and/or where the pilot was helpless to prevent the loss of power.

Flight training, and this forum, IMO spend way too much time on being the hero pilot after the engine failure instead of concentrating on the mundane, unsexy details that prevent the engine failing in the first place......
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Old 21st May 2014, 04:37
  #337 (permalink)  
 
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down town leeds and Bradford is huge.

I couldn't see anywhere to go even a park.

And I would also glide clear Pace because I always keep an escape option.
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Old 21st May 2014, 11:40
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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MJ

One of my jets operates out of Leeds always windy
Some airports ban single engine aircraft for those very reasons

Totally off topic but a comment to BPF the word Hero is grossly misused.

IMO spend way too much time on being the hero pilot after the engine failure
A Hero is someone who puts their wellbeing physically or mentally at threat on behalf of others.
I could be a fantastic race car driver when all four tyres blow at high speed on the motorway. Because of my superior skills as a driver I control the car and bring it to a stop on the hard shoulder.
I am an unwilling part of the event saving my own and others through those skills.
i am not a HERO.
i jump out of the car and run up the embankment only to turn around and see the car enveloped in flames. I run back and rip the doors open dragging my passengers out of the car and risking myself in the process. i am now a HERO

To me the Captain of the Hudson river ditching was not a Hero although he was described as such.
He was a very professional and capable pilot who pulled off a superb water ditching but he was
an unwilling part of the event i.e. he had that ditching whether he was alone in the aircraft or with 200 PAX in the back.
Had he stayed in a sinking aircraft getting everyone out at that point he is a Hero

just a word used to readily by the media and me being pedantic over its common use

Pace
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:38
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pace View Post
Gliding down you have complete control. the space shuttle can glide in from space! If you fly into a brick wall its you who have done so.
Be constantly aware and don't fixate on landing at one point. If its not looking good go 45 degrees left or right and take one of the other areas you as a constantly aware pilot will have marked with you eagle eyes.

If I had such a failure over a City i would glide clear. If not possible or no landing site was available yes pull the chute because you have no choice.With a gliding aircraft you are in control pull the chute and you are no longer in control.

Come down into someones back garden on top of the pram with a baby in it and you live with that.
Pace,

You seem to have a remarkably large faith in your gliding and an unreasonable concern about parachuting. I say this on the basis of the relatively signficiant track record of property damage and personal injury caused by aircraft coming down after a powerplant failure or loss of control and the negligable incidents of injury or material damage from chute deployments over built up (or rural) areas in similar circumstances.

I can certainly agree that an attiude of 'I'll just pull the chute if it feel like too much' would be wrong, but I believe the facts are very clear that your odds of injurying/killing yourself and people on the ground are negligable in a chute pull compared to a forced landing.

In fact, I believe there is a specific case in the US, where a Cirrus with an engine failure elected to glide to a (nearly) empty beach rather than pull a chute. Unfortunately the beach jogger didn't get out of the way and the pilot didn't perfectly control his glide to avoid and the jogger - who was struck and killed by the gliding aircraft.
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Old 21st May 2014, 13:54
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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We are discussing this topic and do not want to personalise this by whether I would pull off a FL or not. I am just as bad as anyone else in not practising these things until a check ride

It may well be that long term a fairly standard procedure maybe to use the chute for the majority of engine failures as statistics could point that way but I wonder how much those statistics are clouded by the fact that we do not practice FLs enough or in my case with twins practice engine failures enough ?

Again looking at the chute pull statistics many could have been avoided by basic piloting skills and there is a worry with all the technology available that pilots are forgetting those skills and relying more on technology to make up for a lack of those skills. A dangerous principal to follow.

But hey I am not promoting myself as some sort of SkyGod who is well on top of everything but arguing a point.
I have had a fair amount of experience and done a fair amount of stupid things in the course of getting that experience which luckily I have to date got away with others may not be so lucky.

Pace
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