In case you haven’t read their Safety Review Finding, under the freedom of information act it is available. It lists the key effects of the chute where accidents traditionally occur with the highest rate. Here are some highlights:
Takeoff Â– gust, stall; wonÂ’t recover with chute,
Takeoff Â– crosswind turn; may recover with chute,
Take off Â– excessive nose up trim, stall; wonÂ’t recover with chute, Turning base to final; may recover with chute, Landing Â– gust stall; wonÂ’t recover with chute, Maneuvering Â– low; may recover with chute, Go around Â– excessive nose up trim /stall; may recover with chute. And for all those cruising midairs - chute Vne is only 135kts.
Eek, be careful folks!
From much earlier conversations with CD about the chute operating airspeeds, they said that the chute has a retaining/constricting ring (not the technical term) which restricts the full opening of the chute until slower speeds are reached.
This works by the ring initially upon chute deployment staying about 1/2 way up the risers. In this location it holds the risers together and restricts the chute from openning fully. As the airspeed slows and thus prressure on the ring reduces, the ring slides downwards towards the plane & the chute fully opens.
For the older among us, you may recall the Apollo space capsules’ parachute descents. The three parachutes opened into a small chute, then, somehow opened fully thereafter. This is essentially the same mechanism on the SR20 chute.
What this does is lower the opening shock/jolt when the chute opens. If it were to fully open at higher airspeeds, the pilot/passengers could be hurt (but I won’t dwell on that), but opening at higher speeds hasn’t been tested. Since the constricting ring has not back-up system, redundancy or failure mode, it is placarded for lower speeds. If you deploy the chute at say 170 kts and the ring works, and it is designed to, then all is fine.
Now I ask you, if you get in a midair in the pattern (or elsewhere) or you have a structural failure with an airspeed of 155 kts, what other choices do you have? Would you rather have an SR20 with a chute or almost any other plane without? It may not be a guarantee, but it is a choice and a chance.
IMHO (I finally figured out what that means!) I’ll take the choice.