I had the beginnings of a discussion with the factory the other day on this matter (recent Cirrus accidents), and wanted to suggest the same concept to you all. When the military experiences a series of accidents without definite connection/correction, they often announce a “Safety Stand-Down.”
What this means, basically, is that for a day all normal flying stops. A series of seminars, lectures, checkrides, sim evals, and the like, takes place and a bit of soul-searching is done to see what might be down to take an otherwise unconnected series of accidents and incidents and minimize the possibility of their reoccurence. The programs have been very successful in focusing attention on possible safety issues and changing mindsets to take on more safety oriented attitudes that, in the long run, produce safer pilots. I know its a bit demoralizing for Cirrus flyers at the moment but Alan and I had a conversation a few years back in which I noted that he was building an aircraft that would be flown hard, over long distances, and in a number of conditions that older airframes avoid. You own one of the most heavily utilized single engine airplanes in the business. Accidents were bound to happen… especially in light of the fact that this new breed of aircraft has capabilities and equipment that has, here-to-fore, been unavailable to the GA fleet… making all those trained in less capable aircraft an accident waiting to happen unless they realized that they were taking on a new degree of capability and complexity when they strapped on a Cirrus. Mind you, its a hell of an airplane–one of my favorites–but what’s happening now is perfectly predictable… and preventable. As a community, you now have an opportunity to reverse the accident trend by making yourself the most safety conscious and prepared flyers in the air… but only if you look at the “highly capable” aircraft you own and fly them as “highly capable” pilots.
Might I suggest that a “Safety Stand-Down” is in order for the near future and that COPA put together pilot programs around the country (with factory help) to look at what is happening and seek a consensus to avoid future tragedies. If I and the Aero-News Network can be of service, please let us know… we are at your disposal.
My best to you all…