Flight Safety, etc.

Most of us buy airplanes for reasons beyond price and performance. A powerful third reason is a shared community . . . like this website (thanks again, Clyde!) and the proposed owner’s society. Such communities produce more than good fellowship. They add information of real utility.

Hooking up with Flight Safety is yet another way of building out the Cirrus community. It appears from this website that most Cirrus buyers are migrating UP from Skylanes, Archers, etc. That’s all fine, but I worry that pilots going from 125kt planes up to 160kt planes might someday find themselves “behind the plane.” To add to the danger, Cirrus is a slippery plane. Straight legs reduce complexity, but they take away a mighty nice speed brake!

Here’s where courses at Flight Safety (or our own, offered through the Cirrus Owners Group, much like the Bonanza Pilot Proficiency courses) could be enormously useful. Such courses lives. Put crassly, the only thing that could ruin Cirrus now is an early reputation for poor safety, owing to pilots falling behind. The chute notwithstanding, this could happen. Let’s not let it!

Is anyone at Cirrus pursuing a relationship with Flight Safety?

Put crassly, the only thing that could ruin Cirrus now is an early reputation for poor safety, owing to pilots falling behind. The chute notwithstanding, this could happen. Let’s not let it!

You bet it could happen!! This is exactly what occurred to the Grumman American line years ago. These (then) newer, faster, hotter airplanes came out and were immediately flown by pilots used to slower and more forgiving designs. The reputation of what was an excellent airplane in the hands of someone with just a little transition time in it was nearly ruined.

Back in the early 90s I was president of the American Yankee Association, which is the Grumman owners group. During my two years in that position, we started the Pilot Familiarization Program (PFP), which was designed for the sole purpose of transitioning pilots used to other aircraft into Grummans. It was a formal program set up by a member CFI who created a written curriculum for it. The PFP is intended to show participants some of the flight characteristics of Grummans in a controlled environment. Other member CFIs do the actual training all over the country. The program has worked out extremely well and dovetailed nicely into our group insurance. As I recall, there were premium deductions for PFP graduates to encourage participation.

Having flown the Cirrus for some 12 hours, I don’t believe any type of expensive Flight Safety training is needed. What you could do as an owner’s group, however, is to start something like the PFP. Think about it for a moment. This one concept enhances the physical safety of your members, maintains the reputation of your airplanes, protects the manufacturer from suits resulting from avoidable accidents, and lowers insurance premiums. Although I am not a customer of Cirrus I am very impressed with them and with the airplane and want to see it succeed big time. This is something you folks can do that will have enormous positive benefits for all concerned.

Put crassly, the only thing that could ruin Cirrus now is an early reputation for poor safety, owing to pilots falling behind. The chute notwithstanding, this could happen. Let’s not let it!

You bet it could happen!! This is exactly what occurred to the Grumman American line years ago. These (then) newer, faster, hotter airplanes came out and were immediately flown by pilots used to slower and more forgiving designs. The reputation of what was an excellent airplane in the hands of someone with just a little transition time in it was nearly ruined.

Back in the early 90s I was president of the American Yankee Association, which is the Grumman owners group. During my two years in that position, we started the Pilot Familiarization Program (PFP), which was designed for the sole purpose of transitioning pilots used to other aircraft into Grummans. It was a formal program set up by a member CFI who created a written curriculum for it. The PFP is intended to show participants some of the flight characteristics of Grummans in a controlled environment. Other member CFIs do the actual training all over the country. The program has worked out extremely well and dovetailed nicely into our group insurance. As I recall, there were premium deductions for PFP graduates to encourage participation.

Having flown the Cirrus for some 12 hours, I don’t believe any type of expensive Flight Safety training is needed. What you could do as an owner’s group, however, is to start something like the PFP. Think about it for a moment. This one concept enhances the physical safety of your members, maintains the reputation of your airplanes, protects the manufacturer from suits resulting from avoidable accidents, and lowers insurance premiums. Although I am not a customer of Cirrus I am very impressed with them and with the airplane and want to see it succeed big time. This is something you folks can do that will have enormous positive benefits for all concerned.
Hear, hear! I would like to see the customer/manufacturer relationship get started off on a very cooperative note. The two parties’ interests are very much in line as Bill has said. We need a stable, profitable, and responsive Cirrus Design, and Cirrus Design needs an enthusiastic, happy, and above all competent and SAFE customer base.

After 13 or so hr in an SR20 myself, I agree with Bill that a FlightSafety program is probably ovberkill but something like a PFP would be very good for all concerned. This could well be a good first order of business for the Cirrus Owners’ Society which I gather is to be midwifed at Oshkosh this month.

By the way, how many CFIs/CFIIs are there among current customers? I know of at least one…:slight_smile:

Kevin Moore

We need a stable, profitable, and responsive Cirrus Design, and Cirrus Design needs an enthusiastic, happy, and above all competent and SAFE customer base.

Kevin’s comment above is actually a very powerful statement of a little-known fact. As consumers, we often look at the manufacturer of products we buy as some huge, powerful entity that can be stopped by nothing. Not true. Any manufacturer of any product can be brought to bankruptcy if the customer stops buying. And the customer will stop buying if it appears that the product has serious problems. Point: you, the SR20/22 owners, have every reason to protect Cirrus Design by making sure you minimize aircraft accidents. And C.D., as a manufacturer, has every reason to want you to be happy with their product and to operate it safely so that they can stay in business, earn a profit in the marketplace and continue to build airplanes. Because of liability laws, this is in YOUR hands, not theirs.

… but something like a PFP would be very good for all concerned. This could well be a good first order of business for the Cirrus Owners’ Society which I gather is to be midwifed at Oshkosh this month.

One important issue here is the specific identification of any potential challenges a new Cirrus owner might face. The only one I know of for certain is the fact that you have to plan descents (power, airspeed and rate of descent) farther out than in most other light airplanes. Other characteristics may also pop up later, but I did not see any while I flew the plane. In reading this forum, I have been somewhat surprised at the number of new and/or relatively inexperienced pilots who hold positions. No objections from me in that regard, but keep in mind that ANY preventable accidents have a very serious, negative impact on the future of C.D. The very fact that a number of low time pilots are buying C.D. airplanes is sufficient reason, in my opinion, to make sure they have adequate training in type.

In short, folks, you’re in this thing for the long run, and you have a vested interest in the safe operation of every SR20/22, whether you own it or someone else does. Any steps you take to assure this level of safety, like duplicating the Grumman Pilot Familiarization Program, are in YOUR best interests, as well as those of C.D.

By the way, how many CFIs/CFIIs are there among current customers? I know of at least one…:slight_smile:

Kevin Moore

I’m an US-FAA licensed CFI/CFII, living in Germany. I’m expecting my bird early next year (#132).

Timm Preusser

Put crassly, the only thing that could ruin Cirrus now is an early reputation for poor safety, owing to pilots falling behind. The chute notwithstanding, this could happen. Let’s not let it!

You bet it could happen!! This is exactly what occurred to the Grumman American line years ago. These (then) newer, faster, hotter airplanes came out and were immediately flown by pilots used to slower and more forgiving designs. The reputation of what was an excellent airplane in the hands of someone with just a little transition time in it was nearly ruined.

Back in the early 90s I was president of the American Yankee Association, which is the Grumman owners group. During my two years in that position, we started the Pilot Familiarization Program (PFP), which was designed for the sole purpose of transitioning pilots used to other aircraft into Grummans. It was a formal program set up by a member CFI who created a written curriculum for it. The PFP is intended to show participants some of the flight characteristics of Grummans in a controlled environment. Other member CFIs do the actual training all over the country. The program has worked out extremely well and dovetailed nicely into our group insurance. As I recall, there were premium deductions for PFP graduates to encourage participation.

Having flown the Cirrus for some 12 hours, I don’t believe any type of expensive Flight Safety training is needed. What you could do as an owner’s group, however, is to start something like the PFP. Think about it for a moment. This one concept enhances the physical safety of your members, maintains the reputation of your airplanes, protects the manufacturer from suits resulting from avoidable accidents, and lowers insurance premiums. Although I am not a customer of Cirrus I am very impressed with them and with the airplane and want to see it succeed big time. This is something you folks can do that will have enormous positive benefits for all concerned.
Hear, hear! I would like to see the customer/manufacturer relationship get started off on a very cooperative note. The two parties’ interests are very much in line as Bill has said. We need a stable, profitable, and responsive Cirrus Design, and Cirrus Design needs an enthusiastic, happy, and above all competent and SAFE customer base.

After 13 or so hr in an SR20 myself, I agree with Bill that a FlightSafety program is probably ovberkill but something like a PFP would be very good for all concerned. This could well be a good first order of business for the Cirrus Owners’ Society which I gather is to be midwifed at Oshkosh this month.

By the way, how many CFIs/CFIIs are there among current customers? I know of at least one…:slight_smile:

I am also a CFII.

Woor

#324

Kevin Moore

One important issue here is the specific identification of any potential challenges a new Cirrus owner might face. The only one I know of for certain is the fact that you have to plan descents (power, airspeed and rate of descent) farther out than in most other light airplanes.

Based on my observations flying the plane I would suggest three potential challenges which are minor, but perhaps significant enough so that some low-time pilot, somewhere, under some peculiar set of circumstances, will “bend a fender” or worse.

First, descent planning as Bill points out. I flew the sr20 an hour or two before the 100 --> 120 kt Vfe increase, and then 11-12 hr after the increase. The Vfe increase makes a world of difference in descent planning. At typical cruise altitude 160 KTAS is about 140 KIAS. Shedding 40 kts and descending at the same time was virtually impossible unless you were willing to reduce power to near idle for long enough to make your engine mechanic wake up shrieking in the middle of the night. You could either “go down” or “slow down,” but not both. Now with Vfe at 120, this issue has faded significantly, but hasn’t disappeared. Fortunately once the first notch of flaps comes out, the plane slows dramatically. During the trip to Kansas with Walt I had no trouble slowing and descending appropriately on any of my five varied approaches/landings. However I have prior experience in planes of comparable performance such as C182RG. For a transitioning Skyhawk/Warrior/Archer pilot it may still require some getting used to.

Second is the recommended approach speed (75 kt) and the fact that the sr20 is so slippery that it does not slow rapidly while holding the nose off after touchdown. Skyhawk/Warrior/Archer pilots are used to approach speeds 10-15 kt slower in planes with higher induced drag. (I could brag a bit about my 260se’s approach speed of 50-55 kt but that’s another story.) Only Tiger pilots have a relatively sr20-like experience (~70 kt approach) but aerodynamic braking is much more effective in slowing the Tiger on rollout. I tried not to deplete Walt’s brakes any more than absolutely necessary–I’m sure he noticed this when he wasn’t praying or burying his face in his hands–and we used A LOT of runway on most rollouts. So it’s plausible that some novice(s) is(are) going to run their sr20s off the end of a runway, through a fence, and into a ditch somewhere if they lack the benefits of a PFP.

Finally, if one prematurely retracts flaps after takeoff before attaining sufficient speed (95+, even 100 kt) a notable sink rate develops. The sr20 as I have seen it flown takes significantly more room after liftoff than Skyhawks/Archers etc. to “gather itself” and get into a solid climb. So, again some non-PFPed novice will at some point–likely in a density altitude situation–crop off the tops of trees off the runway departure end.

None of these things are “problems,” but they are different from the behavior of most planes that low-time pilots fly. A PFP which covers these issues and maybe others will be very effective in lowering the chance of these characteristics being handled badly and maybe resulting in an accident.

All three are excellent points and well worth incorporating into any such future PFP. Other items may develop also as more of the SR20s get into the hands of owners. Only then do you learn of problems with flying them that no one could previously foresee. These are certainly characteristics that could bring a new pilot to grief. As with the Grumman line, nothing here should be allowed to progress to the point of an accident, but I absolutely guarantee you that it can and will if left unaddressed.

I hate to bend your ears toward the philosophical side, but the fact remains that manufacturers are good at manufacturing. They are not good at preventing future accidents because they don’t fly their planes, they sell them. In this day of liability exposure, it is up to the customer, the owners and pilots, to act in a manner to protect themselves and the manufacturer at the same time. That is what this PFP concept is all about.

Kevin’s three points need to be written down and eventually followed up on, as they will form the basis of any future training program. Additionally, now would be an excellent time to carry the concept to insurance underwriters with the intent of creating a group coverage for Cirrus owners.

As to who and how, that’s where leadership comes in. This site is a great start, but someone will have to jump in and make this thing happen. Having witnessed the trials and tribulations of the Grumman American line over my 22 years of involvement, I would heartily say, “the sooner the better.”

Kevin —

Great thoughts!

Has anyone read John Eckalbar’s “Flying the Beech Bonanza?” A great book! In the coming years, let us hope Cirrus produces its own Eckalbars.

The author is an advocate of the idea that every pilot should master the numbers for his/her plane. For every situation, there’s an optimal power, trim and flap setting. Period. Even if you’re the artistic sort of pilot who prefers to “wing it”, it’s useful to know the numbers.

RK

One important issue here is the specific identification of any potential challenges a new Cirrus owner might face. The only one I know of for certain is the fact that you have to plan descents (power, airspeed and rate of descent) farther out than in most other light airplanes.

Based on my observations flying the plane I would suggest three potential challenges which are minor, but perhaps significant enough so that some low-time pilot, somewhere, under some peculiar set of circumstances, will “bend a fender” or worse.

First, descent planning as Bill points out. I flew the sr20 an hour or two before the 100 --> 120 kt Vfe increase, and then 11-12 hr after the increase. The Vfe increase makes a world of difference in descent planning. At typical cruise altitude 160 KTAS is about 140 KIAS. Shedding 40 kts and descending at the same time was virtually impossible unless you were willing to reduce power to near idle for long enough to make your engine mechanic wake up shrieking in the middle of the night. You could either “go down” or “slow down,” but not both. Now with Vfe at 120, this issue has faded significantly, but hasn’t disappeared. Fortunately once the first notch of flaps comes out, the plane slows dramatically. During the trip to Kansas with Walt I had no trouble slowing and descending appropriately on any of my five varied approaches/landings. However I have prior experience in planes of comparable performance such as C182RG. For a transitioning Skyhawk/Warrior/Archer pilot it may still require some getting used to.

Second is the recommended approach speed (75 kt) and the fact that the sr20 is so slippery that it does not slow rapidly while holding the nose off after touchdown. Skyhawk/Warrior/Archer pilots are used to approach speeds 10-15 kt slower in planes with higher induced drag. (I could brag a bit about my 260se’s approach speed of 50-55 kt but that’s another story.) Only Tiger pilots have a relatively sr20-like experience (~70 kt approach) but aerodynamic braking is much more effective in slowing the Tiger on rollout. I tried not to deplete Walt’s brakes any more than absolutely necessary–I’m sure he noticed this when he wasn’t praying or burying his face in his hands–and we used A LOT of runway on most rollouts. So it’s plausible that some novice(s) is(are) going to run their sr20s off the end of a runway, through a fence, and into a ditch somewhere if they lack the benefits of a PFP.

Finally, if one prematurely retracts flaps after takeoff before attaining sufficient speed (95+, even 100 kt) a notable sink rate develops. The sr20 as I have seen it flown takes significantly more room after liftoff than Skyhawks/Archers etc. to “gather itself” and get into a solid climb. So, again some non-PFPed novice will at some point–likely in a density altitude situation–crop off the tops of trees off the runway departure end.

None of these things are “problems,” but they are different from the behavior of most planes that low-time pilots fly. A PFP which covers these issues and maybe others will be very effective in lowering the chance of these characteristics being handled badly and maybe resulting in an accident.

Based on my observations flying the plane I would suggest three potential challenges which are minor, but perhaps significant enough so that some low-time pilot, somewhere, under some peculiar set of circumstances, will “bend a fender” or worse.

I am a position holder hiding my identity (barely, but doing so because I want to protect the identity of the guilty) but I am aware of a recent prop strike with a Cirrus in my neighborhood. Seems the landing got a little ugly with the prop wanting to kiss pavement first. Apparanty it was minor and there was not engine damage…

However, the idea of a trainig program beyond the factory training is a good idea. Keeps the wallet fatter.