Dear COPA Members,I am a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and am currently working on a project studying trends in the GA industry. As the Cirrus planes are the only ones to use CAPS and are the best selling plane currently, I am curious to know how important a role the CAPS parachute system played in your purchasing decision. For those of you who are not Cirrus owners, how attractive is this feature to you? On a scale of 1 (insignificant) to 10 (significant) how important a role did this feature play in your attraction to this aircraft? Also, I would be very interested to hear any thoughts or opinions anyone might have on the CAPS system generally. Because this is required research for me I would love it if you could please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org instead of (or in addition to) posting responses on the board as I know message boards can often get off on quite a random tangent!Thank you,Kelly Spann
In reply to:
Because this is required research for me I would love it if you could please send your responses to email@example.com instead of (or in addition to) posting responses on the board as I know message boards can often get off on quite a random tangent!
Certainly our board isn’t like that, is it? [;)]
If you need an absolute number for your research, I would rate the system about “4” in terms of how significant it was in choosing the Cirrus.
When picking up the Cirrus, if you’d have asked me whether I would prefer the 'chute or an extra 80-100 lbs of useful load, I would have definitely picked the useful load.
However, now that I have it, and have gotten used to it there, whenever I start entertaining ideas of getting rid of the Cirrus to get something else (in my case, to save money - see the insurance thread elsewhere!), the thought of flight at night without the parachute does make me think twice about it.
You didn’t say what specific kind of project you’re working on, but if it results in some sort of paper, I’m sure we’d all be interested in reading it - at least I would!
I’d rate it a seven for me, but a ten for my wife! My guess is that it is more important for our passengers than for most of the pilots (IMHO). That being said, I agree with Steve that it is nice to know its there, day or night, over rough terrain or farmland, IFR or VFR, day or night. I think I’d want a twin or a turbine before I’d do without the parachute now.
Rate a Four when I purchased -and a Two for my wife.
Now that we have been Cirrus owners for Four months — this has changed to a seven for me and a Eight for my wife. We like having it along and see the feature as a differential advantage.
My personal CAPS progression:
4 after Purchase
7 after extensive Night and Low IMC flights
10 after an Engine Failure!
Kelly, good luck with this project. Hope you will post what you learn.
How important: 10
But, to qualify, importance was not just CAPS but the integrated and modern design that surrounded it. CAPS was only available on a Cirrus Design SR2X so I got both CAPS and all of the other features below. If CAPS were available on a spam-can model, I would not have bought it. If CAPS were not available on the SR2X, I might still have bought an SR2X. Since it was, I didn’t have to decide!
Modern safety: CAPS, but also strength of composite construction
Modern avionics: dual GPS, all-electric design, glass cockpit features
Modern aerodynamics: composite construction enabled higher performance design
Modern ergonomic design: 95-percentile criteria to fit taller and shorter people (I’m at the tall end), extra space from side-yoke
Modern cost-effectiveness: high performance and long range with moderate investment
Opinions on CAPS: Glad to know that CAPS works. I fly more confidently with it but I still invest a lot of preflight planning effort to avoid relying upon it. Night flights over unlit terrain along direct routes are the ones that get the most attention.
Sorry to learn that several fatal accidents in Cirrus planes were controlled flight into terrain. Such accidents occur before the pilot decides to deploy CAPS. Also sorry to learn that a couple of fatal accidents were classic scenarios but CAPS wasn’t successfully deployed (maybe not even attempted) – at least one of which led to an Airworthiness Directive to fix the system. (More details available on request)
Glad to have the COPA community that discusses CAPS scenarios, consequences, decision criteria, etc. Been very helpful in expanding my preflight planning regime.
Recent conversations about ditching in water with CAPS as an example. The idea of depolying CAPS over a mountain lake wasn’t obvious to me before. While it may take some planning and skill in execution, I like having that option to consider.
I have my SR20 (2.2 model with every option available) ordered and will be picking it up towards the end of August. I’m also a new pilot, so the parachute did factor into my purchasing decision. There were many other features about this plane that made my mouth drop when I was comparing planes but the parachute really gave my family that extra security. I would rate it a 7 for me and 10 for my wife.
Similar story to the others:
Before purchase, the parachute was a 7, now it is a 9, for me.
For my wife and most pax it is probably a 10.
I no longer feel comfortable flying at night or over IMC w/o a chute or a second engine.
Despite the chute, I don’t feel comfortable over water, out of glide range, with a single engine. This is especially true when my kids are on board, as there is no way they could get out themselves in the event of a ditching.
Do let us know the results of your survey.
Hi Kelly the caps is a 9 or 10 for me especially I fly over mountainous terrain living near Tahoe. Great feeling to look donw over the mountains and to know the caps is there just in case.
CAPS priority during purchase decision 8
My standard phrase to other pilots…
“If your car has an airbag - why would you fly a plane with one engine without a parachute?”
Which leads to the next generation of non-avionics safety for light aircraft.
One other item to track is how important would an airbag system be for new AC purchasers? My Audi has 8 airbags (4 are on the side for front and rear pax)- why can’t Cirrus and others put in an airbag system in a $380k airplane? Keep in mind many deaths and injuries in AC are due to people coming in contact with yokes, dash, and the side of the AC.
Nice to see another Florida Attorney on the forum. Best of luck with your new 20
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I have my SR20 (2.2 model with every option available) ordered and will be picking it up towards the end of August.
First, congratulations on the imminent arrival of your new ‘baby’ - I wish you and your wife many delightful SAFE hours flying her (seems most Cirrus babies are girls! [:)])
Along with your paperwork, Cirrus will give you a code number which you can use to join COPA for a trial period of 60 days. To my knowledge, nobody has yet failed to renew their membership - the $50/year dues fee is almost universally acknowledged as being among the very best deals in aviation. If you think you will want to join COPA, you should know that you will NOT lose the benefit of that free offer by joining now - we’ll simply extend your first year of membership by 60 days. (You do have to email our membership director, Brian Turrisi, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the code number, and request the extension.
I mention this because the days and weeks leading up to delivery are a great time to be in “sponge mode” with regard to gathering information about your new airplane, and there is no broader (or deeper) pool of knowledge than you’ll find on the Members Discussion Forum, and so I believe you’ll find that this would be a smart move from almost every point of view - care and feeding of the new ‘baby’, safety, flying techniques, judgment issues, support concerns, cleaning of uphostery… you name it.
No pressure, mind you. But this seems to be an appropriate time to repost some words I wrote to another poster a few days ago…:
The many benefits of COPA membership transcend the Cirrus airplane itself – the variety and depth of some of the discussions on the Members Discussion Forum continually amaze me; as does the sheer volume on some occasions. (To be completely honest, there is a lot of silliness there, too… much of which I have to take the blame for… but levity is valuable, too).
If/when you join, you’ll be welcomed by a membership that is (truly) very special, and for the most part comprised of very nice (and SMART!) people… a bit like Garrison Keilor’s “The Prairie Home Companion,” where he says of Lake Woebegone that “… the men are handsome, all the women are strong and all the children are above average.”
Only with COPA, it’s true. [;)]
Good luck and be safe,
Thank you Mike. I am sure I will be joining and partaking in the fun!!! I’m counting the days to the arrival of the new baby.
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why can’t Cirrus and others put in an airbag system in a $380k airplane?
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Cirrus do it, and quite soon, considering that the current supplier of our seatbelts, AMSAFE, already has a product designed for GA. It incorporates the airbag within the seatbelt! Pretty cool, IMO.
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the current supplier of our seatbelts, AMSAFE, already has a product designed for GA. It incorporates the airbag within the seatbelt!
[SOAPBOX MODE ON]
I’d sure hate to have an airbag that ‘fits’ as poorly as the shoulder harnesses in many Cirri. The ongoing, well established problem of the belts not retracting sufficiently to keep from falling off the shoulder on many of our aircraft is inexcusable, IMHO. The seat people point to Cirrus who points to the belt manufacturer…and some day when someone dies in a survivable off-airport landing when their head impacts the panel because the belts slipped off the shoulder, they’ll all blame it on the pilot.
[SOAPBOX MODE OFF}
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AMSAFE, already has a product designed for GA. It incorporates the airbag within the seatbelt!
I’m not sure GA is their primary target. I spoke to them at AOPA Palm Springs, and I got the distinct impression that they saw the airlines as the main market for this product.
I was quite touched that the airlines cared so much for the safety of their passengers that they’d install such expensive per-seat technology, particularly in the midst of a downturn. Then I learned their true motivation – the only thing stopping them from cramming more economy seats into the aircraft is the FAA’s safety regs regarding forward impacts. With an airbag, they can stuff 'em in even tighter!
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well established problem of the belts not retracting sufficiently to keep from falling off the shoulder on many of our aircraft is inexcusable
Your COPA folks have been working hard to get Cirrus to resolve this long-standing problem. I think we are getting closer. Stay tuned…
CD has been working on this “long standing problem” for well over a year. Can you at least give us a hint of timing and a possible fix?
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Can you at least give us a hint of timing and a possible fix?
Sorry, I can not (would if I could). Just know that we’ve been pushing as hard as we can and have some hope of a resolution.
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I’m not sure GA is their primary target.
I’m sure you’re right – however, they do have separate product offerings - one specifically for “Transport Category” aviation applications, and one for General Aviation applications. The airline offering looks like this:
The GA seatbelt looks like this:
On the GA page, they show a few airplanes… one is SR22 N742CD!