From Aero-news…Cirrus and BRS are being sued in connection with the stall-spin accident in the northeast awhile back. Of interest to me (being a lawyer) was the following: “The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilots’ failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. The continued spin to the ground was a result of the pilots’ failure to deploy the onboard parachute recovery system, for undetermined reasons.”
It is interesting that the FAA identified the failure to deploy the chute as a cause for spinning into the ground, rather than the pilot’s failure to “chop power, neutralize controls and press opposite rudder.” I expect the plaintiff’s argument will be that there was difficulty in getting the chute to deploy due to some mechanical malfunction (eg, the stiffness in the cable and required pounds to pull) and, since the chute is the ONLY approved method of spin recovery, Cirrus and BRS should be held responsible.
It seems a shame to me (as a lawyer) that there can be a set of facts, such as this case, where an accident is clearly the fault of pilot technique (both in inducing the spin and failure to recover) and yet, because of the regulatory induced difficulty in completing a spin certification, and the company’s desire to add a margin of safety (the chute), the result ends up being a near text-book case against the manufacturer.