CAPS pull in Texas

Maybe this will end the debate about the effect of landing under the CAPS.Posted on Thu, Oct. 03, 2002 Small plane crashes on Lewisville golf courseThe Associated PressLEWISVILLE - A small plane deployed a parachute before crashing onto a golf course Thursday afternoon, but no injuries were reported.The pilot, who was not identified by police, walked away from the Cirrus SR22 after the plane lost a wing flap and went down at the The Golf Club at Castle Hills, authorities said.The accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Lady of the Lake Boulevard.“The pilot was talking to the Addison tower and told them that he was having trouble with his aileron,” said John Clabes, an FAA spokesman. "He told them that he was going to deploy the parachute and he did."Another pilot in the area reported watching the parachute deploy, and seeing the pilot get out, authorities said.The plane had minor damage, authorities said.The Cirrus SR22 is a light pleasure aircraft.- Bryon Okada


The good news: The chute works.
The bad news: Why in the dickens is the flap falling off?

There are some pictures on this TV station web site.

The CAPS cable SB AND the Trim Cartridge SB were performed and the aircraft had just departed from Addison Airport (ADS) where the work was performed (Monarch). It seems likely to me (when you hear hoof beats in Texas look for horses not zebras) that the aileron failure was the result ‘mechanic/human error’ rathar than a part failure. However, in the interest of safety I will take the position that 1+1=1.999999999 and I am grounding my airplane for the next couple of days until the facts are known. Cirrus personnel should be in Dallas in the next day or so and, as I understand it, the cause of the aileron failure/separation should be quite apparent.
I just returned from the accident site and spoke with several eye witnesses to the CAPS deployment, etc.
The plane came to rest approximately 4 miles north of ADS and landed in thick trees (trees, 10 to 15 feet tall) just north of Castle Hills Golf Course and (thankfully, approximately 75 yards east of high tension power lines that run north-south). One of the witnesses (a bank Vice President who was playing golf) told me: “We thought that the plane was a glider because it came up on us without a sound. Then we heard a loud boom and saw a puff of white smoke. We then heard the engine rev and shut off and the parachute came straight out and looked very skinny (another witness said that he saw something fly off of the airplane[this was most likely the CAPS cover]). The parachute opened up and the plane then pointed straight up then straight down and then it just gently rocked back and forth on its belly like a rocking chair and landed flat. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, it was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen. I want one of those airplanes!”
My fellow pilots, there is much to be revealed about the circumstances of this accident but one thing is clear, the Cirrus CAPS performed exactly as designed and just saved the life of a pilot that would have almost certainly not survived. Thank you Mr. Klapmeier and all of the Cirrus design team.

The timing of this incident is interesting. Early the same day, Avweb published their twice-weekly newswire, with an item about BRS installing their first chute in a 172 (aftermarket). The item included these words:

In reply to:

Even as BRS announced its first aftermarket installation in a Cessna 172, Cessna itself told our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, that it has no plans to make ballistic recovery systems an option in factory-new aircraft. And thus far, despite an impressive history of saving ultralight pilots, BRS has yet to record a single save of a Cirrus SR20/SR22 aircraft or its occupants, in which the system is standard equipment

Be interesting to see if Cessna have a rethink now…

Aero News Net has coverage of the incident here.

Why in the dickens is the flap falling off?


The Channel 5 slideshow pictures show that it was the left aileron, not the left flap, that is missing. See click herethe thread on the Members section for speculation (and at this point, it is just speculation) about what may have happened.

I’m of course unhappy that the accident took place, but I’m relieved that the pilot walked away unharmed and that the CAPS can claim its first honest-to-goodness “save.”


The airplane had apparently just picked it up from a Service Center in Dallas. We know that it was in for the CAPS SB (!), but the service center is saying they don’t know whether the Trim Cartridge SB was done, because the mechanic has gone home for the day.

After the “landing”, the pilot was taken by ambulance to a hospital as a precaution; seems he was quickly released.

I watched my Trim Cartridge SB being done two days ago. The work involves completely removing the left aileron (only - the right remains untouched). Here’s the pic of my left wing during the work on the trim cartridge - you can see the forward edge of the aileron lying on the wing near the top.

The slide show that you can look at here includes a couple of very interesting shots. In one, you can see that the left aileron is completely missing. Pure speculation, but it sure seems likely to me that the Trim Cartridge SB was attempted, but something essential was done incorrectly.

Another observation from the pics: The airplane landed virtually straight down. None of the surrounding trees look damaged at all. In one of the pics, the right main gear appears completely intact. Probably testimony to the fact that the trees absorbed some of the energy.

If this is all as it appears (and it’s a big IF, because almost all the early reports of accidents I’ve seen turn out to be significantly flawed), then this is a good-new/bad-news deal for Cirrus and for all of us, but HUGELY more good-news. I believe that we have a Cirrus pilot among us this afternoon who would not have survived the loss of a primary control surface without CAPS.


I guess Art was right. The CAPS doesn’t work.



Thanks for the pictures. Sure looks like a big hole where the left aileron should be.


Mike, first I want to add my congratulations to the pilot who had the presence of mind to respond properly to a true life threatening emergency by pulling the Chute. Also, congratulations to Cirrus and BRS for making that response possible.
What seems interesting is that the plane apparently just had the trim cartridge SB performed and that, as you say, involves removal and then replacing the left aileron. The SB was issued because of a problem in a production test airplane. The problem addressed by the SB has never occurred in a delivered airplane. I for one will forgo doing the mandatory SB until all the facts are known. Sometimes if it ain’t obviously broke, don’t fix it.
Let’s all just be very thankful that nobody was hurt.

In reply to:

Mike, first I want to add my congratulations to the pilot who had the presence of mind to respond properly to a true life threatening emergency by pulling the Chute. Also, congratulations to Cirrus and BRS for making that response possible.

AGREED! In addition to the congratulations, also THANKS to Alan and Dale Klapmeier and the whole design and test team including the late Scott Anderson, as well as Mark Thomas and his crew at BRS, for the foresight and tenacity to have provided this means for us to “give the airplane to the insurance company” when circumstances turn against us.
To the pilot: We all owe you, big time. It became your job to do something nobody wanted to do - be the first test pilot to ride the CAPS all the way down to safety. Congratulations – we are grateful that you had the presence of mind to save yourself, and that you’re OK. Thank you!


The Trim Cartridge SB relates to aileron trim and, as I understand it, would only relate to the trim.

Here, here!

I am not going too far out on the limb…But, it would appear the only way an airleron could come completely off would be if 1 of the bolts wasn’t tightened and or a bracket/arm broke…either one would rip the rest of the airleron away…
I saw the aileron removed to fix my trim motor/cartridge (before the SB) which fried the A/P.
Once you have seen it removed…it is easy to come to a conclusion that one of the anchoring mechanisms failed or ‘mechanic error’.
We can all breath a little easier now as well…after tons of debate…the CAPS worked!
Let pray it’s mechanic error and an extra long one for the pilot’s safe landing!
TC Everyone

The Trim Cartridge SB relates to aileron trim and, as I understand it, would only relate to the trim.

In the SR2x, the “trim” is just an alteration of spring tension to bias the aileron position. The trim control of the aileron and the yoke control of the aileron are done with the same parts. The trim SB required removal of the left aileron.

I am here. Since I had the same 2 SBs (aileron and parachute) done on Tuesday, I hope the chute does work. Having actually saved a life is certainly a big plus, but the overall success rate is still only 2 out of 5.

Well said Don. Thank God the pilot is OK. All else is secondary.

One point to bring up: Anytime a PIC feels that CAPS deployment is the right thing to do - IT IS!


Post deleted by kallassy

As I just posted on the Members Forum, the SB itself can “cause” the aileron to fall off only in the same sense as changing oil can “cause” the drain plug to fall out.

We need to wait and see what the investigation uncovers… it will be veeeery interesting!