# Cirrus vs. Cessna 210s

There’s been a lot of ruckus about how the Cirrus aircraft are just ‘falling out of the sky’. This is not true. The numbers don’t lie.

The Cirrus Fleet versus the Cessna 210 Fleet 1962 & up (includes SR2X & P/T/C210s):

Cirrus:
Total fleet size: 2900
Total accidents: 67
As percentage of fleet: 2.3%

Cessna 210s
Total fleet size: 8496
Total accidents: 2915
As percentage of fleet: 34.4%

Sources: Cessna Pilots Association, Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association, NTSB, FAA.

Take the total accidents from NTSB which only has 1962 data and earlier, take the preliminary accidents from the FAA site, take the fleet numbers from Cirrus and Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) - again 1962 and later, then do the math. Divide the big number by the little number.

I remember teaching a CPA 210 course earlier this year where 10 different 210s had crashed in the past five days.

How about the one year total? To date, 24 Cirri have crashed versus 36 Cessna 210s.

Any way we do the math, there are far too many crashes.

Fly SAFE y’all!
Bridgette

I’m not sure what the numbers you present are supposed to mean. Obviously, you can’t compare crashes over a forty-five year period to those over a six year period, starting with a fleet size of zero.

You get a more accurate picture if you compare crashes for the past year alone. Using those numbers, the Cirrus fleet is approximately one-third as large as the Cessna 210 fleet (34.13%), and has had exactly two-thirds the number of crashes as the Cessna fleet (66.66%). Statistically, that makes the Cirrus twice as likely to crash as the Cessna 210. Further, if you adjusted the data to remove crashes arguably due to age of the aircraft, for gear up landings (which are impossible on a Cirrus), and for the fact that the current Cirrus fleet size is significantly larger today than it was even at the beginning of 2006, you would likely find that the crash rate is even more than twice that of Cessna 210’s.

On the other hand, the Cirruses may be accumulating hours at a faster rate. I can imagine there are a lot of older 210’s sitting in the hangars most of the time. I would think the most meaningful comparison would be the more traditional “accidents/incidents per hour flown”.

Intreresting. I guess anyway you cut it, the pilot is the key. Accidents are going to occur! For the past several years I have read the incident reports daily and I am constantly in awe of number of Pilots who land with the wheels up. EVERY DAY!!! Hard to imagine, but it happens.

I suppose manufacturers can continue to put in as many safeguards, and safety measures and I applaud this innovation and spirit-----but in the end, it is the lowlely pilot who makes it safe or unsafe. Just as in cars, it’s driver error that causes crashes. Air bags, seatbelts have definitely saved lives—so keep those innovations coming and keep the training coming!!

The Cessna 210 is a particularly unfortunate choice to use as a baseline for comparison. Not only is it an extremely old design (1960) and extremely complex (one might even say baroque), but it also is responsible for more product liability lawsuits against Cessna Aircraft Company than all other aircraft Cessna built combined (and that includes Citations).

You get a more accurate picture if you compare crashes for the past year alone. Using those numbers, the Cirrus fleet is approximately one-third as large as the Cessna 210 fleet (34.13%), and has had exactly two-thirds the number of crashes as the Cessna fleet (66.66%).

A recent look at FlightAware showed the following counts of aircraft in the system:
As of 10 AM EST on Sunday 10/29/2006 here were some rough counts:

Narrow-body Airliners - 505 B-737’s, 373 Airbi, 276 DC-9/MD80 etc., 1 DC-8

Large Airliners: 245 B-757/767, 88 B-747’s, 40 DC-10/MD-11’s, 32 B-777’s, 27 A-300/310’s, 19 A-340’s, 11 B-727’s

Reg’l Jets: 386 CRJ’s, 278 ERJ’s

Turboprops: 88 Dash 8’s, 26 Beech 1900’s, 16 Brasilias, 16 SAAB 340’s, 13 ATR’s

BizJets: 104 Citations, 49 Lears, 27 G-3,-4,-5’s, 24 Beechjets, 22 Canadair’s, 20 Hawkers, 14 Falcons + 84 KingAirs and 20 PC-12’s

Li’l Guys - Twins: 24 400-series Cessnas, 19 300-series Cessnas, 19 Barons, 15 Navajos; Singles: 47 Bonanzas, 31 172’s, 30 Cherokees, 30 Saratogas, 28 182’s, 23 Mooneys, 19 SR-20/22’s, 11 210’s, 4 Lancairs and 2 152’s.

You will note the number of Cirrus’s in the system is almost double the number of 210’s. This is an indication of the utilization of the respective fleets.

I would think the most meaningful comparison would be the more traditional “accidents/incidents per hour flown”.

Even then, you should understand the type of use of the airplane. Just as it is silly to compare 1000 hours of 172s beating up the pattern or going for \$100 hamburgers to 1000 hours of SR22s on long business XC trips, it wouldn’t be fair to compare that SR22 usage to 210s that are popular with freight haulers and flown by young low time pilots at night. If the SR2x accident rate is comparable to that, then we are in a world of hurt.

I know a 210 pilot who landed gear up. She is high time, competent and a very serious pilot. She flies regularly as part of her job. She had a friend in the plane with her. They were catching up from not having seen each other in a long time and were stopping for fuel. She was very embarrassed. It made me realize that any pilot can make that mistake. I do not consider myself anywhere near as good of a pilot. It is easy to say “how dumb” if you weren’t there. Fortunately, the only fatalities in a gear up landing are usually the ego and the checkbook.

Paul

I am constantly in awe of number of Pilots who land with the wheels up. EVERY DAY!!! Hard to imagine, but it happens.

Tom,

Me too… I mean, you’d think that after a pilot lands wheels up for the third or fourth consecutive day, he’d get some remedial training! [;)]

• Mike.

I just read your Sunday sample and went to Flightaware this minute. There are 21 C210s in the air and 15 SR2*s in the air. I suggest our sample snapshots are too small to be representative.

I just read your Sunday sample and went to Flightaware this minute. There are 21 C210s in the air and 15 SR2*s in the air. I suggest our sample snapshots are too small to be representative.

Steve,

I agree with you on this. Besides you can manipulate all of the accident stats 7 ways to Sunday to get a desired result comparison.

I have an interesting thought that the success of the 496 and the awesome positional and situational awareness might actually embolden a significant subset of GA to take more risks. These devices that are supposed to make us “safer.” Instead flying a TAA aircraft actually allow us to push the envelope just a wee bit more. Some will mistakenly be too agressive with mother nature and the laws of physics.

I just read your Sunday sample and went to Flightaware this minute. There are 21 C210s in the air and 15 SR2*s in the air. I suggest our sample snapshots are too small to be representative.

It would be great if some enterprising programmer were to build a bot to sample Flightaware every 10 minutes for a week and see what the composite numbers look like.

I just read your Sunday sample and went to Flightaware this minute. There are 21 C210s in the air and 15 SR2*s in the air…

Also remember that FlightAware is mostly IFR Filed plans. There are many hours accumulated VFR that do not register.

-Brent- Renter, Aeronautically battered husband

“I have an interesting thought that … the 496 … might actually embolden a significant subset of GA to take more risks.”

There have already been weather accidents from planes trying to thread their way between cells on a 10 minute old XM radio nexrad image. I’m sure similar accidents from over-reliance on technology can be blamed on the advent of precision approach systems, basic radio navigation signals and even the attitude indicator itself!

There have already been weather accidents from planes trying to thread their way between cells on a 10 minute old XM radio nexrad image.

I think it’s reasonable to assume something like that either already has or likely will happen, but I can’t recall a documented case yet. Do you know of one?

Thanks.

Joe

Roger that.

Of course, the real question is whether airborne weather will prevent more accidents than it causes.

Joe

Dave, Joe:
I can speak from my own experience. I have been using XM weather for about 3 years now.
There is no question that you will attempt more trips with the tool than without because you can see the weather better. So, since you are there, you could stumble into weather than you would otherwise be on the ground waiting it out.
But, my own experience is that I make safer trips with it because you pick a route that keeps you away from the stuff. I have had much fewer bumpy rides the last two summers because the XM weather shows me where not to go.
So, like any other piece of technology, it is all how you use it. If you abuse it, it will get you into trouble. If you use it correctly, it will make you safer.

It would be great if some enterprising programmer were to build a bot to sample Flightaware every 10 minutes for a week and see what the composite numbers look like.

Curt,

A great idea - I wish I knew how to do it, but I don’t.

A thought: It would be interesting to do it during a period when the weather is particularly good across the US, as well as on a different period when the weather is not so good. At a minimum, keeping track of the weather during this time would be helpful.

Tim

It would be great if some enterprising programmer were to build a bot to sample Flightaware every 10 minutes for a week and see what the composite numbers look like.

And make a plot by the hour of the number of aircraft airborne. Many 210s will still be up at night on Part 135 freight runs while SR2x owners have long since finished their evening cocktails and have gone to bed.