DULUTH, Minn., 28 May 2013. Cirrus Aircraft has introduced Cirrus Approach, a multi-year training initiative designed to enhance Cirrus pilot safety and reduce the general aviation (GA) accident rate.
"Our accident rate has historically been on par with the rest of the single engine general aviation industry, but that is not acceptable to us. We build our airplanes to be the absolute safest in the industry, with features like the cuffed wing to help prevent spins, electronic stability protection (ESP) to protect pilots from unusual flight attitudes, the ‘Blue Level button’ to engage the autopilot while avoiding pilot spatial disorientation, and of course the parachute," says Dale Klapmeier, co-founder and CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. "But if pilots do not utilize these features or are not trained properly on how to use them, then these safety devices are not as effective as they could be. Cirrus Approach is our new commitment to making Cirrus pilots safer."
Several specific efforts define the implementation of this important program, including:
Refocusing efforts to enhance instructional quality available to Cirrus pilots in the field is a primary starting point for Cirrus Approach. Increasing Cirrus Aircraft's interaction with corporate training partners like Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilots (CSIPs) and Cirrus Training Centers (CTCs) will help to bring every Cirrus pilot the most consistent training experience. To do this, Cirrus has established two new Flight Training Quality Specialist positions that have been filled with experienced Cirrus flight instructors. These specialists are traveling around the world visiting CSIPs and CTCs, to discuss new techniques in Cirrus-specific flight training, aircraft, and procedure knowledge to help enhance flight instructor quality and standardization.
Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) Training
Cirrus Approach includes a dedicated effort to educate Cirrus owners of the need to train to use CAPS. “Not a single life has been lost when CAPS has been used within the pilot operating handbook parameters,” says a company representative. By the company's estimation, potentially more than two-thirds of all fatal Cirrus accidents could have had a different outcome if the pilot would have simply pulled the CAPS handle, activating this safety device.
"We believe a lack of training and practice are the primary reasons pilots do not use CAPS when they should," says Rob Haig, director of flight operations at Cirrus Aircraft. "In most primary training programs, pilots learn to fly in an airplane that does not have a parachute. The pilot is trained to keep flying the airplane in all emergency situations. However, emergency situations, such as a mid-air collision which is not typically survivable in other airplanes, have the potential for a better outcome due to the parachute in a Cirrus."
A suite of materials specific to CAPS training is available at www.cirrusaircraft.com/caps:
CAPS Video - Featuring Cirrus leadership, engineers and actual pilots who have deployed CAPS. Cirrus recommends every pilot should watch this video.
Guide to CAPS - A comprehensive guide on how CAPS was developed, the details of its operation, and tips on how to fly with CAPS
CAPS Syllabus - Recommended content for teaching CAPS on a regular basis
CAPS Simulator Locations – In a Cirrus aircraft simulator, a pilot can practice an actual CAPS deployment and experience how it feels.
CSIP and CTC Locator - Pilots can find their closest Cirrus Training Partner using the locator.