Deathtrap airplanes

There is an airplane that has only been manufactured for a few years. It has had accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, that are way out of proportion for the numbers in which it has been produced.

Is it the new technology that is tempting pilots into taking risks? Is it the shiny new airplanes that are attracting overfunded and underqualified pilots? I don’t know, but if somebody doesn’t stop this trend, it’s going to give General Aviation a black eye and be the death of the industry.

I’m speaking of course, of the Cessna 182 “Skylane”. The new Skylanes manufactured since Cessna restarted their production in 1997, have been in 30 accidents, according to the NTSB database. Seven of those accidents had one or more fatalities. This is out of a registered base of only 999 planes!

I think it is time to demand that Cessna do something about this. It is obvious that there is something wrong with the new Cessnas, since Skylanes manufactured prior to 1997 have a much safer record.

I used to own a 1997 Skylane, and I felt safe in it, but now you couldn’t get me in one of those accidents-waiting-to-happen.


It begs the question: did new182 insurance rates jump as well?

i know - the plane is solid but the new autopilot with which it is equipped is not explained to users carefully enough. Familiarity and training will prevent accidents - cirrus is on the right track.
All new systms especially autopilots need a clear understanding instruction PRACTICE to make flying safe.


In reply to:

All new systms especially autopilots need a clear understanding instruction PRACTICE to make flying safe.

In the TAA (Technically Advanced Aircraft) study, we agreed. We felt the same way about other innovations typical of TAA airplanes - IFR certified GPSs, and to a lesser extent, MFDs and PFDs.
There is a secondary, more subtle element to the danger - not so much direct proficiency in the equipment, but the overall allure of all this “stuff” to a pilot who simply lacks enough general experience. The “stuff” beckons one to make trips to faraway places - it may lure a local-flying-only pilot to cross-country flight, or a gave-it-up-years-ago pilot back into flying. It may invite someone into aviation because of the cool gizmos, rather than because they love flying. Often, TAA “stuff” fosters a dependency on electronics and in some cases, a disdain for the “what if” scenario.

Mostly, the “what-if” turns out to be deteriorating weather that was unforecast or uninvestigated, but surely unexpected.

In other (kind of opposite) cases, folks who have no aptitude for computers - don’t use 'em, never have - get into these cockpits thinking that “it’s just flying”, and they can learn new things. Sometimes they can’t. In these cases, it is indeed lack of direct proficiency that can be a killer.

My own take on it all is that TAA “stuff” will make competent pilots safer, and less competent pilots more dangerous.

TAA aircraft are indeed different from “ordinary” aircraft in ways that we’re just starting to understand.

  • Mike

I’ll bet the insurance companies put the new Skylanes in the same pool as the old ones, which have a lower accident rate on a per-airplane basis.


I belive that was exactly right. So lets sell a few more thousand Cirri and the problem will be solved.

My own example for renewal next month on my 182-260se conversion:

$260K hull
$1M smooth $3700
$2M smooth $4700
$2M smooth + $1M excess: $5800

Pilot 1500 hr, IFR, no accidents or incidents, and my kids like me.

I’m sure Cirrus insurance rates will look like this or better when there are 1000’s of them out there, enough so that there are few or no statistical blips in the accident rate.