Pulling the Chute

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Nomore767
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Pulling the Chute

Postby Nomore767 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:44 pm

A friend was telling me about an accident report he read regarding a FD CTLS in Greenville and knew I'd been doing flight training in that type. I liked the plane and had been talking to him about it at the time. Turns out I was flying at a school in Greenville SC whereas the accident occurred in Greenville TX.

I post a couple of links to CTLS accidents below.


http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2014/04/f ... ville.html

http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/51da ... y-illinois


Amazingly, the one in Greenville TX was the actual CTLS that I flew in Sept 2012 as recorded in my logbook. It was my first ever flight in a CTLS or any type of FD airplane. I remember that the CFI was reluctant to removel the chute pin and as part of the preflight and didn't really want to go over it's operation very much. I'd never been in a chute equipped LSA before so didn't really know if this was standard practice or a training thing. The school closed not long after I started training in the CTLS and since there were no other schools flying CTLS I moved on.
As such I never really got to review the procedures for potential chute use in a CTLS. The accident in the very same airplane I flew though was sobering.

The school closed and apparently the plane moved on. My point here is that though equipped with the chute I wonder why the pilot didn't choose, as part of their training in a chute equipped airplane, to pull the chute once the engine restart didn't occur, especially as the airplane subsequently force-landed and tipped over totaling the airplane.

The other accident ended up in a cornfield but again the chute wasn't pulled.

I've read a lot about Cirrus airplanes using their chutes after an in-flight mishap and seen videos. I've not seen or heard of them used as such in CTLS accident .

CTLSi
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby CTLSi » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:11 pm

Good article on the subject: http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/prof ... te-systems

According to BRS, there have been 324 lives saved to date with their product, and they are not the only makers of all-plane chute systems. http://www.brsaerospace.com/brs_aviation_home.aspx

Since so few Fllight Designs have crashed, it tough to find data on chute pulls for the FD.

Nomore767
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby Nomore767 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:49 pm

In the two accidents posted here neither chute was pulled and the CFI I flew with was reluctant to even remove the pin (as per the checklist) which makes you wonder what the point is if , even installed, the pilot is doesn't deploy it anyway, even when the ensing accident caused the airplane to be totaled.

3Dreaming
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:10 pm

When I purchased my first Flight Design CT I to was reluctant to pull the pin prior to flight. The system had not been explained to me, and I had never flown a airplane with a chute before. In January 2008 I was attending some Flight Design dealer meetings at Sebring, and BRS was there to do a demo. As part of the training they talked about the BRS system. They mentioned a accident where the structure around the handle of the crashed aircraft was deformed and the pin was still in place. While the pilot was trying to pull the chute nothing happened because the pin was still in place. The folks from BRS and Sebring Aviation made a mock up of the pilot seat and parachute handle for the CT. This gave me a chance to sit in the seat and pull the handle. I realized that my reluctance to pull the pin was unfounded. When I returned from the trip one of the first things I did was to place the ignition key on the ring for the parachute pin. Now no one flies my airplane without the pin removed.

I had flown and worked on the airplane the landed in the cornfield in Illinois. I talked with the pilot after the fact. I think one of the reasons we as pilots are reluctant to pull the chute is because from day one we are taught to be in control of the airplane. Some think that when you pull the handle you give up control. In the case of both of the accidents I to likely would not have pulled the chute. It is easy to sit back and say what you would have or would not have done after the accident has already happened, but until you have to make that choice you don't really know what you will do.

BTW you mentioned in both cases that the accident lead to the aircraft being totaled. It will also be totaled if you pull the chute.

Nomore767
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby Nomore767 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:57 pm

3Dreaming wrote:When I purchased my first Flight Design CT I to was reluctant to pull the pin prior to flight. The system had not been explained to me, and I had never flown a airplane with a chute before. In January 2008 I was attending some Flight Design dealer meetings at Sebring, and BRS was there to do a demo. As part of the training they talked about the BRS system. They mentioned a accident where the structure around the handle of the crashed aircraft was deformed and the pin was still in place. While the pilot was trying to pull the chute nothing happened because the pin was still in place. The folks from BRS and Sebring Aviation made a mock up of the pilot seat and parachute handle for the CT. This gave me a chance to sit in the seat and pull the handle. I realized that my reluctance to pull the pin was unfounded. When I returned from the trip one of the first things I did was to place the ignition key on the ring for the parachute pin. Now no one flies my airplane without the pin removed.

I had flown and worked on the airplane the landed in the cornfield in Illinois. I talked with the pilot after the fact. I think one of the reasons we as pilots are reluctant to pull the chute is because from day one we are taught to be in control of the airplane. Some think that when you pull the handle you give up control. In the case of both of the accidents I to likely would not have pulled the chute. It is easy to sit back and say what you would have or would not have done after the accident has already happened, but until you have to make that choice you don't really know what you will do.

BTW you mentioned in both cases that the accident lead to the aircraft being totaled. It will also be totaled if you pull the chute.



Agreed the airplane is surely totaled after pulling the chute.

I was browsing a history of FD airplanes involved in accidents:-

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=176686

Seems that there are t/o and landing accidents as expected, some involving student pilots. Quite a few where the airplane ran out of fuel and tried to make a forced landing. Quite a few where the engine stopped ( not necessarily 'failed') and they tried to make a forced landing. I think one where it was flown into cloud (chute not deployed).

I didn't take copious notes but of the fuel starvation, engine stoppages in USA maybe one or two deployed the chute. In accidents in Germany pilots were more likely to deploy the chute. One pilot who did still sustained serious injuries. Are German pilots trained better in chute operation?
One accident wreckage was found with the chute deployed and the pilot had been killed or died later.

I agree with your point about pilots being taught to remain in 'control' even when something bad happens. Pulling the chute seems to imply 'that's it, you've done it now, just ride it down', all the while probably thinking what am I going to land in a swamp, lake, tree or the top of a ravine and then slide down to the canyon bottom?
Seems like many had the choice of chute of fly the forced landing and chose to try to fly it themselves. I agree with you and also agree that;s it's easy to sit in a chair and speculate. My point here is that chutes are often touted as great safety features (and I think they can be) BUT…if the situation arises how many are taught to actually USE the chute and to train for what scenarios would be the most appropriate situation requiring its use.
As I said the school I was at the CFI seemed reluctant to even consider using it, never briefed on it, and seemed nervous that without the pin installed,in flight contrary to the checklist, it might just 'go off' on it's own!

I recall recently a guy inquiring about an LSA that was very heavy and the owner had increased the empty weight to 'improve safety' and then proceeded to regularly fly the airplane at about 250lbs over max gross weight, definitely an UNSAFE activity and contrary to the concept of adding the chute to IMPROVE safety.

My LSA doesn't have the chute as an option. Other LSAs do and are touted as safer because they have them INSTALLED. My point, which seems to be somewhat backed up by the accident reports in the link above, seems to be a reluctance to pull in lieu of trying to fly it to the ground.
If the plane will be totaled anyway if the chute is pulled but 'might not' be a total loss IF the pilot could try and salvage things with a forced landing then doesn't this run contrary to having the chute installed in the first place? If the pilot ignores the chute option whilst 'trying to save it?"

It would seem then that many owners and pilots of chute equipped planes may feel safer having the chute installed but may be poorly trained in use and WHEN to use it it, and outright afraid of it going off accidentally even if that's unlikely.

This seems borne out by the low number of times when the chute was pulled over the number of attempted forced landings.
Last edited by Nomore767 on Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CTLSi
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby CTLSi » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:19 pm

Part of the preflight check is to pull out the pin and set it beside the handle. Some 35 pounds of pull force is needed to deploy the BRS chute, it CANNOT be deployed by accident.

Here is a short list of scenarios where the chute should be pulled. Briefing these (esp a passenger) should be part of emergency procedures and placed on the emergency procedure checklist kept in the aircraft.

• Mid-air collision
• Single-engine night ops
• Single-engine over water ops
• Pilot incapacitation
• Stall/spin on approach
• Stall/spin at altitude after spin recovery fails
• Structural failure
• Loss of control due to inadvertent entry into IMC
• Engine out over hostile terrain
• Engine out on takeoff

The altitude required is a function of speed more than height. FAA certified tests of the Cirrus SR20 demonstrated full parachute inflation could occur as low as 260-290 feet AGL. The Flight Design should be similar.
Last edited by CTLSi on Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

3Dreaming
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:28 pm

Using forced landings as the basis for trying to determine if you should pull the chute or not is kind of flawed. Typically the only forced landings you hear about are the ones where there is damage, or it is someplace where the media hears about it. It is purely a guess on my part, but I bet the number of successful forced landings you don't hear about far out weighs the ones where you can second guess if they should have pulled the chute. If this is the case I'm not sure that teaching to pull the chute for every forced landing is the best choice.

There are many cases where pulling the chute places a much smaller decision on the pilot. A mid air collision, structural failure, control system malfunction are all places pulling the chute becomes a clear option. I also instruct passengers that if something were to happen to me shut off the engine and pull the handle.

3Dreaming
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:41 pm

CTLSi wrote: • Loss of control/icing (component failure, icing induced or pilot error, IMC flight prohibited in all SLSA)
.


You might want to check your facts. The earlier SLSA were not prohibited from IMC, unless it specifically prohibits it in the AOI (POH). For later aircraft it is required to prohibit IMC in the AOI. I think the cut off date was April 2010, but I could have the date wrong.

Nomore767
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby Nomore767 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:43 pm

3Dreaming wrote:Using forced landings as the basis for trying to determine if you should pull the chute or not is kind of flawed. Typically the only forced landings you hear about are the ones where there is damage, or it is someplace where the media hears about it. It is purely a guess on my part, but I bet the number of successful forced landings you don't hear about far out weighs the ones where you can second guess if they should have pulled the chute. If this is the case I'm not sure that teaching to pull the chute for every forced landing is the best choice.

There are many cases where pulling the chute places a much smaller decision on the pilot. A mid air collision, structural failure, control system malfunction are all places pulling the chute becomes a clear option. I also instruct passengers that if something were to happen to me shut off the engine and pull the handle.


Good point about pilot incapacitation and briefing the passengers on the chute option.

Do you also brief them that simply pulling the chute 'may' save their life but that they may still be badly injured and that the airplane will likely be a write off? Difficult to do trying to balance their best option with a questionable outcome.

In fact shouldn't the training on the chute operation and the choice of when to pull at all be more focussed on it's use as an option when the pilot (or passenger) has literally run out of options?

Typically most flight training for emergencies focusses on what the PILOT should DO as far as flying the airplane rather than to effectively 'give up' on that by electing to pull the chute.

In the list of accidents in the link forced landings caused by running out of fuel or engine stoppage were, naturally, totally unexpected (maybe not if they ran out of fuel) but if the pilot looked around and realised that conditions below were unlikely to end well by flying down to them, and equally likely to end well by pulling the chute (mountains, canyons, forest etc) how is the pilot taught to choose in terms of the chute? If they saw a highway, flat ground etc would the pilot be more likely to choose to try for it when the chute would actually be the better option?

I guess really, some seem to believe they have the chute and therefore they're immune from risk or injury and maybe that's not good.

BrianL99
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby BrianL99 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:53 pm

As you can well imagine, the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Assoc. (COPA, of which FastEddie was one of the founders) has spent a huge amount of energy, providing "training" for a chute pull. The consensus at COPA is "pull early and pull often".

As with everything else with LSA's, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information and/or training. I flew with an Instructor in a SportCruiser a couple of years ago. He didn't want to pull the chute pin, despite it being a Checklist item. I proceeded to give him about 30 minutes worth of "Chute Instruction" and hopefully, he now always pulls the pin when he flies.

Personally, the main reason I bought a Sting, was because it had a chute. I also almost bought a Tecnam, but couldn't get together on money.

Coincidentally, there was a Cirrus Chute pull about 5 miles from my house, last year. An Instructor navigated the airplane over a swamp and pulled the chute. Both passengers walked away, without medical attention. I've heard the airplane is back flying again.

SportPilot
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby SportPilot » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:15 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CTLSi
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby CTLSi » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:17 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
CTLSi wrote: • Loss of control/icing (component failure, icing induced or pilot error, IMC flight prohibited in all SLSA)
.


You might want to check your facts. The earlier SLSA were not prohibited from IMC, unless it specifically prohibits it in the AOI (POH). For later aircraft it is required to prohibit IMC in the AOI. I think the cut off date was April 2010, but I could have the date wrong.


You are behind. ASTM Votes To Prohibit SLSA in IMC http://tinyurl.com/qbxl55d

No SLSA manufacturer will cross the ASTM. Including Vans http://www.vansaircraft.com/pdf/revisio ... ls/POH.pdf
Last edited by CTLSi on Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wm.Ince
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby Wm.Ince » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:20 pm

CTLSi wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
CTLSi wrote: • Loss of control/icing (component failure, icing induced or pilot error, IMC flight prohibited in all SLSA).
You might want to check your facts. The earlier SLSA were not prohibited from IMC, unless it specifically prohibits it in the AOI (POH). For later aircraft it is required to prohibit IMC in the AOI. I think the cut off date was April 2010, but I could have the date wrong.
You are behind. ASTM Votes To Prohibit SLSA in IMC http://tinyurl.com/qbxl55d
No SLSA manufacturer will cross the ASTM.
And . . . here we go again.
Bill Ince
CTSW
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

SportPilot
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby SportPilot » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:57 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FastEddieB
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Re: Pulling the Chute

Postby FastEddieB » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:05 pm

My views on this are known, and probably don't need repeating.

That said, there are a handful of Cirrus' flying again after chute pulls. Damage can be minimal enough that repair is feasible.

I do not know if the same would be true of a CT, however.

Regardless, my take is none of that should factor in at all in a chute pull. AT ALL! What matters is surviving. Stuff can be replaced or fixed. And I hear some insurance companies will waive or reduce deductibles following chute pulls - repairing or replacing planes is far preferable to paying out for injuries and deaths.
Fast Eddie B.
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