Grounding of all Cirrus

Andy, my partner, and I took delivery of a brand spanking new SR22, N427MC in Duluth on February 21st late afternoon. After a lengthy conversation with Dan Mettner about the warranties and especially about the CAPS system and its activating cable, we left the factory with a CIRRUS instructor, heading SouthWest to home, which is VNY. Landing in Grand Island, NE , then Albuquerque, NM, we decided to fly to Scotsdale, AZ, for the simple reason because it’s closer to home, AND there is a Service Center there. Not even knowing what’s the name of the Service Center, we landed just after 9:00 P.M. and taxied to Corporate Jets. During dinner, our instructor checked his messages, then turned white, and informed us, that we are grounded. After checking the CIRRUS web-site, we found out that all SR20s and SR22s are effected by this Service Advisory, and CIRRUS recommended that we do not continue our flight. In fact they pulled the instructor back to Duluth. The brand spanking new airplane turned into a brand spanking new headache of a large proportion. Repair will be available, according to the Advisory, early next week.
I probably don’t have to mention it, but I do anyway, we are “mildly” upset about this. Early Friday (2/22) the grey airplanes were grounded to fly from Duluth to the paint facility for the same reason. Why then the 4 customers, who took delivery all about the same time had been allowed to take possession of their defective plane, that should have been grounded, and the problem corrected before they were allowed to leave the factory? If anyone has even a slightly logical answer to this, please let me know!
On a happy note: the SR22 flies like a dream. We don’t like this plane, we love this plane. There is nothing else out there that flies like this, for this price, with this comfort level, at this speed, with such a great avionics. And yes, we have the new Avidyne with Traffic. Wow!

If it’s any consolation, our SR20 (delivered May 2000) has been grounded for the last 3 months. It was one of the planes that required inspection of the horizontal stab for grinder cuts (caused by an overzealous ex- (presumably) Cirrus employee in the paint shop). Due to being in Australia, the ultrasonic inspection proved too difficult to arrange, so Cirrus finally authorized paint removal. We scheduled the plane to be down for 2 weeks before Christmas (a mistake, with hindsight). Unfortunately, once the paint was removed, there was indeed one hole in the glass - about 1mm x 5mm. No structural significance, but it does have to be repaired to prevent moisture ingress. Cirrus shipped repair kits, but due to Xmas etc. these did not arrive until January, but the big delay has been trying to get hold of a temperature logger to monitor the curing process. The unit specified by Cirrus was evidently unavailable here, so an alternative was located and approved, but it has never become available to us in a functioning state (and was alleged to be worth > $20,000). It always seems to be coming “next week”.

Finally my partners and I got tired of waiting and on Friday I bought one of the Cirrus recommended units (total cost about US$500) and it is halfway across the Pacific right now. Hopefully by the end of next week our bird will be flying again.

Cirrus have generally been cooperative and prompt in dealing with this, but unbending on certain things (like the requirement for the temperature monitor). The delays have been mostly due to ignorance and incompetence on the part of certain people and organizations in Oz, plus a good dose of bad luck.

But after 3 months we are all going stir-crazy! But at least we had 18 months of flying before that. I sympathize with your plight, and hope it gets sorted out quickly.

Why then the 4 customers, who took delivery all about the same time had been allowed to take possession of their defective plane, that should have been grounded

To separate you from your money…


I’m sure that your experience has to have been incredibly disappointing and frustrating, especially considering it happened during what was for many of us a “lifetime high.”

The sequencing of first grounding the grey planes before yours does beg questions. My experience, however, is that with many data points, I’ve never seen Cirrus sacrifice safety for money. (By the way, I’d expect that Cirrus will reimburse you for hotel & meals or flight home and back. They’re typically pretty good about that kind of thing.)

My uneducated guess is that there was some debate in Duluth about the incidence and or magnitude of the unfunctioning parachute problem. I would think that if it were merely the absence of the parachute backup, which of course puts the Cirrus into the camp of all other non-BRS equipped planes, then an advisory that it might not work would have been sufficient. The fact that the parachute was part of the spin recovery certification process, in my opinion, was probably the sticking point for them.

Considering that we all expect that the SR20 and SR22’s can recover fine from a spin, from a purely safety perspective, I personally wouldn’t find fault with someone who choose to fly the plane, especially if the weather conditions were benign. The reason I’m grounding myself is twofold, both legal. First, if by some chance there were an unrelated problem for which the 'chute could have saved me, Cirrus and their insurer would probably be off the hook in terms of responsibility. Second, if Murphy’s law were in effect (common for me!), it would be my luck that this would be the time that I had my first-ever incident. Under these circumstances, a plaintiff lawyer would likely have a field day showing a pattern of negligence on my part - first flying a plane that the manufacturer recommended grounding, then whatever.

My position is admittedly conservative, and not necessarily a fit for others.

Michael, back to your original point, sympathies for your very unfortunate experience. If your experience is anything like mine and I believe most others, the joy you get in flying the SRxx will make up for the problems that came up and may come up in the future.


I certainly sympathize with you but I need to set the record straight on one point. The folks at Cirrus definitely did not know about this on 21 February. It was late morning on 22 Feb. and the only two airplanes whose owners took delivery that day were fixed that night. The fix is indeed quick and simple, requiring only the removal of the aft access bulkhead and the installation of a cable clamp.

It is my understanding that Cirrus is authorizing the job to be done by any FAA certified shop. That means the ball is in the USPS/FedEx/UPS/whatever court.

Since CAPS is required to meet current certification requirements, this might be a good time for Cirrus to go ahead and do the traditional spin recovery testing. If all of the Cirrus flight test folks are not otherwise engaged in working up the SR34 or SR71 or whatever, perhaps a little time could be devoted to spin testing. I see two advantages to this. First, CAPS problems would not be a grounding condition. Second, Lancair will have less to misrepresent.

I think it was about separating us from our money! But why $1.0 - 1.2 million (for the 4 planes there) means so much if they knew this in advance (a day before we took delivery) from the letter from BRS. They can’t be in a financial bind now?
Cirrus did say they will have a repair kit by early next week. BUT, please, this is NOT a problem for the 4 guys who received their planes yesterday. It is for the ENTIRE FLEET! Now this is not an AD, but it is a strong recommendation from CIRRUS not to fly your plane!

I bet Lancair will have a field day with this. They never did think much of the parachute.

I suspect the delay had little to do with money, and more to do with how long Cirrus’ legal department had had to consider the issue. Unfortunately, much of what Cirrus puts on paper is driven by legal considerations. This is more a reflection on the state of the American legal system than anything else, and enormously frustrating, particularly to non-Americans. For example, Cirrus were quite happy to say on the phone that we could fly our plane with a temporary patch to the horizontal stab, but have not been willing to put that in writing.

The recommendation about the chute, btw, is not “strong”, just a recommendation. If our plane was able to fly, and I wanted to do so, I would probably choose to fly but perhaps modify my personal limits - e.g. I would have no problem with day VFR or day IFR with good weather, but would probably choose not to fly night IFR until the chute problem is corrected.

I would have to say that so far, I have never seen Cirrus to make safety decisions based on money. I doubt that they did so this time. I suspect the Cirrus people “at the coalface” saw no reason for you not to fly your planes, until the legal department got involved.

Money is part of the equation. 1 million bucks will keep the shop running while the “chute issue is resolved”. With over 600 employees and a delivery rate of about 20 SR-22’s a month, I believe Cirrus is still on the “financial fringe”. A few rough calculations of payroll, material and overhead expenses is sobering. While it’s not right these numbers show why Cirrus is not producing the SR-20 in any volume. In fact with contracts in the 600’s carrying a base price under $180,000 it’s going to be real interesting to see how this liability is going to be handled. As long as the employees understand their responsibility to substantially improve their productivity Cirrus stands a good chance of surviving. If they are working in the one a day “comfort zone” the company is in trouble. Based on what I read on this forum all the production employees at CD have nothing but smiles on their faces… Anyone ever wonder why???

All is true, but you have to take it into consideration, that the CAPS system is an integral part of the airplane. You can’t remove it, can’t change it or adjust it in any way. We were specifically brought up to speed by Dan in the morning we left. Since ALL the CIRRI have their type certificate with the parachute system as integral part of the certificate, ANY problem with the CAPS system is considered (at least by me, and we’ll see by who else, like FAA) a major problem. Since CIRRUS is right on top of this issue, the FAA is not issuing an AD on this. CIRRUS has already developed Friday afternoon a fix, which, if I understood correctly will be presented to FAA monday, and the FAA should pass this fix by monday afternoon. Anything this major, in any other circumstance would have been an AD. However lightly you read CIRRUS’ “recommendation” of not flying your plane, it effectively grounds your plane.

Hello my dear misinformed Friend! To the best of my knowledge there were 4 airplanes delivered on Feb. 22nd. 9:00 A.M. CIRRUS has grounded ALL their grey and painted airplanes. # airplanes made it to their home, one was flown by a factory pilot to Texas, who did the delivery check out flight with me on Feb. 21st. The 4th [lane, my partner’s and mine, is still sitting in Scottsdale, AZ and the upgrade HAS NOT BEEN done as of yet. Today is Feb, 25th, and my contract administrator called me several times today and told me that the necessary part is NOT available as of yet, but probably by tomorrow, Feb. 26, it will be. So it is incorrect to write that the 2 delivered planes are all fixed up, our is NOT. Michael Hanyecz

Your problem is not that the airplane is grounded. But rather your instructor is grounded and you can’t fly without him. Even though the CAPS is required to be functional for flight, you have no proof that it is not. The letter from BRS does not state that the CAPS will not deploy, but that there is a design flaw that makes it slightly less likely to deploy. Cirrus of course grounded the gray planes and your instructor for liability reasons being a “Not-so-deep-pockets” entity that would be destroyed by an incident in which a problem of which they had prior knowledge played a contributing role. Had there been an accident involving a CAPS failure, I think you would see an AD that would still allow you to fly your plane to the nearest service facility.


Well said.

Why dont you get a22 pilot to fly it to your home airport asap. Then at least you can set in it. Thats agood time and clean it that also fun. AND IT WILL BE SAFE IN YOUR HANGER! From Don If iwas a22 guy I d be there for you today

Hey GUYS! This Forum is great! I read all of your answers, and while I do not agree with some, most gave me some consolation. Today, Feb 25th evening, I’m in the following position. While I was fuming about CIRRUS separating us (all 4 customers) form our money friday, Feb. 22nd, the plane we received FLEW the best I have ever sat in (aside form a Gulfstream IVSP I sat in the cockpit from JFK-VNY 6 years ago, and I could fly it a little). Mike wrote the absolute truth about this situation, we were grounded in reality, because our instructor was grounded for liability reason. To me, whatever the reason was, the bottom line is that the plane is sitting in Scottsdale, and I’m at home in Calabasas.
BUT!!! Our contract administrator called me several times today and she assured me, that our case is an absolute front burner. Sometimes tomorrow, Feb. 26 they WILL have the part, and our original factory pilot will sit on a plane (FASTER THAN FedEx) and will fly to Phoenix, then drive to Scottsdale, have the local Service Center install the part, and he will bring the plane to us into VNY, and resume the training! I’m elated. This is the kind of service and backing up the product I have always read about in the past on this Forum, and if it indeed will come true tomorrow, than I’ll congratulate CIRRUS, that ONCE AGAIN they took care of a customer in flying colors! Thanks again Guys for the support and advice! Michael Hanyecz N427MC

I think you’ll find that while the magnitude of your problem was unique, Cirrus’ response to you wasn’t.

Someone e-mailed me, asking me why I haven’t made a bigger deal to Cirrus, given that my plane has had more issues than most. Besides loving the plane, I’ve found the people at Cirrus to be very responsive and positive. To me, that counts for a lot!

Glad you’re getting the same service, and welcome (soon) to the Cirrus pilot community.