LONG STORY SHORT: “If only they had CAPS”…
A friend of mine frequently hires a local charter service for biz transport… and admired the cautious & deliberate operations exhibited by the charter owner:pilot. Most recent biz trip was just 2 days ago with aprox 6hrs flight time… all quite normal. This morning we learned of an accident involving this aircraft. This is what happened & on reflection provides positive support
for Cirrus’ CAPS.
Part#135 charter operated Piper Saratoga
suffered catastrophic engine failure yesterday afternoon & ocean ditched off Kennebunkport ME
with 5 souls on board. Pilot was in ATC contact
and advised re engine loss & ditching.
Owner:Pilot + front seat passenger got out thru
(passenger side) front door; pilot swam around to assist opening (pilot side) rear door & helped
closest passenger out (his wife); two remaining passengers did not get out & are presumed to have gone down with aircraft. They were close enough to shore to have several private boats arrive quickly on the scene.
Loud explosion, followed by oil covering windscreen, points to piston or rod failure.
Structural failures were encountered on ditching
with very short “float time”.
Aircraft had completed Annual 2 weeks ago, had some 1200 hours on engine. Engine monitoring had previously been showing #2cylinder running hot,
testing revealed no reasons, switching cable wiring from probes still indicated #2 running hot.
Then excess temp condition seemed to go away with no further attention. (Faulty probe? High RPM use as normal operation mode? Frequent fast decents & shock cooling? Metal fatigue?)
Given the nature of sudden engine loss + no other choice but ocean ditching … CAPS deployment would have been “no brainer” decision & would be expected to result in slow & flat contact with the water & likely consequent increase in “float time” … and a chance for ALL to have exited.
CIRRUS: please continue expediting your mfg schedule & let me know when to come pickup my
aircraft with it’s 80# of CAPS Dead Weight to lug around … I do consider the CAPS to be part of the USEFUL LOAD.