How COPA saved my life

My journey into aviation began in early 2012. I partnered in a business with a 12,000 hour plus bush pilot missionary from Brazil. I started taking lessons, but i wanted a plane for myself. I was between a Bonanza and a T tail lance 2. Then I learned about the Cirrus, and bought all I could afford, a 2004 G2 NA 450TX. I later upgraded it, a lot, but that is besides the point.

I am a recents CAPS surivor. I did …everything… right. Oil samples every time. Every optional maintenance item, babied the engine and never flew it hard. But like all machines, they can die. Mine died on short final. Having a Cirrus though, is not why I pulled the chute and walked away.

I was like a lot of you. Debating joining a forum for 65, then dropping 500 or so on attending a 3 day “Migration”. Gotta tell you, it was THE defining moment of my life. When you buy a Cirrus, the POH does not train you on what it can or can not do, it does not have the experience of 3000 pilots, you can’t read about over 100 successful, and fatal, crashes and CAPS events. You can for 65 bucks. If your thinking about getting a Cirrus, and even renting one, you can afford 65 dollars. And really, if its the difference in you joining, I will pay your membership, PM me.

If your serious about buying a VERY capable airframe, that is great at everything (probably not the best at any one thing), its the right plane. If you want a family to give you honest answers, this is the place. I found great trainers here, but here is what saved my life.

I was on a short final when my engine stopped producing power. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, until I went to increase throttle to compensate for flaps… nothing happend (No vibration change, no sound difference, nothing). ((At this point, this is where your balls go into your throat. Ladies, sorry, there is no better reference to be made)). From training, I firewalled the throttle and mixture. Again, nothing.

At this point, from my training from practicing engine out approaches, but more from the COPA mentality of how the parachute works and knowing I absolutely had no other option, I instinctively pulled the red handle. God put my plane down in the BEST possible landing spot, for me and my insurance agent. Had I delayed seconds, arguably milliseconds, I would be leaving behind a 4 year old and 1 month old child and a wife, not here telling you about it.

Some words of advice:

If your thinking of renting/buying/or just flying in general, you will MORE than get 10x the return on your money.

If your going to get a Cirrus, or already have one, members tend to save THOUSANDS of dollars from information learned here.

But, more importantly, COPA can SAVE YOUR LIFE and CHANGE YOUR FAMILY TREE!

James Meadows, formerly N450TX, happily shopping for my next Cirrus.


Congratulations on a job well done!

But there’s maybe an additional lesson here you may have overlooked:

Try to fly your pattern so you’re always high enough to glide in if the engine fails.

I’ve been chided at times for suggesting this, being told that engines virtually never fail in the pattern. That a 3° final approach angle is a worthy goal.

I do not mean to find fault - we all need power from time to time to save a “too low” approach. And given where you found yourself, you 100% did the right thing.

Just offering a friendly suggestion, is all!


I only now just read through the main thread in the Member’s side on your incident and see this has been well covered.

Again, good job!

That will be a point that WILL be addressed, I assure you :slight_smile:

Just curious, what happened, why did you loose the engine?

Fuel pump shaft broke, I believe. Very unfortunate. Good thing he only lost one engine, losing two would have looked like carelessness (with apologies to Oscar Wilde)

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Are you thinking of the Cirrus that landed in the frozen corn field? That pilot reported a broken /seized in the bushing fuel pump shaft.

Unless I missed the announcement, James hasn’t yet learned nor announced the reason his engine failed.

Yes ! COPA rocks ! And the safety program headef by Rick Beach and other volunteers is fantastic ! :airplane:

You’re probably right.

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