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Thu, Jun 30, 2005

Aero-News Alert: Cirrus SR22 Chutes It Out Over New York

ANN Realtime Update 2006 EST, 06.30.05: With only the sketchiest of details currently available, ANN has learned that a Cirrus SR22 has apparently used the CAPS, (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System) to affect an emergency recovery. Reportedly occupied by a single pilot, N3452L went down in an inlet near the Bowline Point Park, near Haverstraw, NY, this (Thursday) afternoon. The airplane is now reported sunk.

Some sources indicate that the pilot parachuted out, based on a misunderstanding by a fire and rescue officer. Some local media have not exactly covered themselves in glory on this one: a New York city TV station breathlessly reported that the Cirrus, one of some two thousand factory-built and fully certified by Cirrus Design Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota, was a 'kit plane.'

The accident occurred at approximately 1641 when the SR22 was apparently lost off radar about 10 miles from the Westchester County Airport.

The pilot's condition is said to be good and that he suffered no impact related injuries. There was a mayday call (at 1640) prior to the accident, according to the FAA's Arlene Salac. Current media reports suggest the possibility of a medical incapacitation (pilot reporting pain in his legs), but this is a general media report and the accuracy is, of course, suspect until someone with some bona fides speaks up.

One report, credited to Rockland County executive's office spokeswoman C.J. Miller, claims that the pilot "bailed out because he had pain in his legs and couldn't pull the plane out of a dive..." 

Another, more recent, report (from the Journal News) claims that the aircraft was brought down by engine failure.

Obviously, we're hoping for more specific info...  

Sources within the Cirrus Pilot community have tentatively identified the pilot as Ilan Reich. If correct, the PIC is a highly qualified aviator with over 1000 hours in type. We've also confirmed that the aircraft is fresh out of a maintenance visit... further adding some mystery (and confusion) to the fast and furious details we are gathering about this event.

N3452L is registered to the 5 2 Lima Corporation of NYC, NY. It is a 2003 SR22 put on the federal registry on June 12th of that year.

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, which is one part of a comprehensive and novel approach to safety, has saved eight lives before.

The system was designed in cooperation with, and is manufactured by, BRS, whose ballistic chutes have saved about two hundred pilots and passengers. At this time, only Cirrus offers the chute, although Symphony has announced plans to do so, optionally. Similar systems are available on the aftermarket, STC'd for Cessna 150 and 172 aircraft, and one is in development for the heavier, faster 182, even though Cessna has disparaged the system and does not appear to have given serious consideration to making it an OEM option.

ANN will have more info on this story as soon as we have it verified.

FMI: www.cirrusdesign.com, www.brsparachutes.com

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