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Thu, Oct 03, 2002

ANN News Alert--BRS Chute Saves Cirrus SR22 Pilot

Amazing, Breaking News About Successful Cirrus Chute Save

A Cirrus Designs' SR22 used its emergency parachute system, Thursday afternoon, to save a lone pilot, Lionel Morrison, 53, from possible peril after what was termed "a maintenance flight" went awry and the aircraft's control system was "severely" compromised.  

According to a number of sources, the SR22 received maintenance to it's control system and was reportedly on a test or repositioning flight (but alleged by all to be the first flight after maintenance), the pilot (the only one on board), noted aileron control issues and elected to use the chute.

The aircraft has been tentatively identified as N1223S--which was registered last April to NS Enterprises of Dallas, TX and flown by Morrison. The accident reportedly occurred on the premises of the The Golf Club at Castle Hills, about 1430 (local time) on the 600 block of Lady of the Lake Boulevard.

An FAA staffer, John Clabes, reported that, "The pilot was talking to the Addison tower and told them that he was having trouble with his aileron... He told them that he was going to deploy the parachute and he did." The aircraft subsequently descended into trees and brush (quite vertically, we understand) in Northern Texas's Denton County, and following the landing (which doesn't look all that bad), the pilot walked away unharmed.

Authorities claim that another pilot in the area reported watching the parachute deploy, and seeing the pilot get out and a Cirrus insider indicates that one pilot/witness, who knows a Cirrus staffer actually called the factory while the bird was still settling in, to report the deployment.

One of the photos we've examined off a Texas TV station on-scene video actually shows what appears to be a MISSING left aileron. Obviously; this is one of the scenarios (control impairment) that the BRS parachute system was designed to save pilots from and it appears that the first "real, live emergency" that a Cirrus pilot has faced has resulted in a clear save.

ANN caught BRS President and CEO Mark Thomas (who heads what we at ANN, like to call the "Thank You" company) on the way to a flight to Texas to help in the investigation, who noted that, "This is a very exciting day for BRS. This is why we do what we do... and it solidifies Cirrus's amazing vision for making aviation as safe as they can. This time, that foresight averted a catastrophe and they need to be applauded for their vision..."

Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier (pictured, right) also called in a few minutes ago (about 2130 as of this part of the revision).

Enroute to the accident site, Alan bemoaned the obvious difficulty faced by the pilot of N1223S but opined that, ultimately, "some good will come out of this. We want the world to understand why we chose this route... and a live pilot certainly makes a compelling point. This is a day we always knew would happen, and we believe that it bears out our intent to see that chutes are seen as an additional level of safety that will protect the general aviation pilots of the future. This is what we've been working toward eight years and what happened here (the save) will undoubtedly happen again. I think we can feel good about that."

Additional information has shed some light on what may have occurred to hazard the stricken SR22. A recent series of Service Bulletins and an Advisory (SA 02-15, issued 23 September, 2002 and related to matters discussed in SB A20-27-06, as well as SB A22-27-03), covered an issue with a locking nut on a trim cartridge (mounted behind the left aileron), which actually requires the aileron's removal in order to affect the change. A flawed aileron replacement could certainly have resulted in the aircraft incapacitation alleged by sources so far.

According to the SB, "An event occurred recently in which an airplane in production flight test lost the nut retaining the shaft on a yaw trim cartridge and the pilot lost right rudder control during flight. The roll trim cartridge uses the same shaft and locking nut and also has a potential for this condition to occur. In the event the retention nut loosens on a roll trim cartridge shaft, roll trim and autopilot roll control may be erratic or lost. Should the retention nut come off the shaft the aileron control system could jam.

To our knowledge, an event of this type has not occurred on a delivered airplane in over 96,000 fleet hours. However, the possibility that this could occur does exist and immediate measures should be taken to make sure that the retaining nuts are properly locked. In order to ensure proper retention nut locking, Cirrus Design is releasing Service Bulletins to use a locking nut with greater locking ability for this application. These bulletins are being readied for release within a day and will have a compliance time of 10 flight hours. Cirrus Design expects that the FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive to require compliance." 

The FAA Version

Report created 10/4/02   Record 1

IDENTIFICATION
Regis#: 1223S  Make/Model: SR22  Description: SR-22
Date: 10/03/2002   Time: 
Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None   Mid Air: N  Missing: N
Damage: Unknown

LOCATION
City: LEWISVILLE   State: TX   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
ACFT LEFT AILERON SEPARATED IN FLIGHT, BALISTIC PARACHUTE DEPLOYED, ACFT TOUCHED DOWN IN A FIELD, LEWISVILLE, TX

INJURY DATA   Total Fatal: 0
# Crew: 1  Fat: 0  Ser: 0  Min: 0  Unk:    
# Pass: 0  Fat: 0  Ser: 0  Min: 0  Unk:    
# Grnd:    Fat: 0  Ser: 0  Min: 0  Unk:   

WEATHER: METAR KDTO 031853 UTC AUTO 11009G15KT 10SM FEW045 SCT055 32/19

OTHER DATA
Activity: Pleasure  Phase: Cruise  Operation: General Aviation
Departed: ADDISON, TX  Dep Date: 10/03/2002   Dep. Time: 
Destination: ADDISON, TX  Flt Plan: NONE  Wx Briefing: N
Last Radio Cont: 4 NNW ADDSION
Last Clearance: NONE
FAA FSDO: FORT WORTH, TX  (SW19)  Entry date: 10/04/2002

More details as they developy... and DO keep checking back here as we updated this story over a dozen times in the first four hours alone. [ANN thanks Dallas, TX, area NBC affiliate Channel 5 and Mike Radomsky, Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), for their assistance]

FMI: www.cirrusdesign.com, www.airplaneparachutes.com, www.cirruspilots.org

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