Low And Slow Dangerous, Even With A Chute

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On Monday, a flight instructor and his student died when the Cirrus SR20 they were flying crashed while they were practicing touch and goes at Gen. William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster, Calif. The airplane's ballistic chute was found deployed at the wreckage site, but witnesses quoted in early reports disagreed as to whether it was activated before or after hitting the ground. In practice, low and slow in the pattern is a dangerous time for something to go wrong and even if chute deployment is attempted, there may not be time for it to help. Depending on attitude and airspeed, it can take about 300 feet to a maximum of 1,000 feet to fully deploy the chute, Cirrus's Bill King, vice president of business administration, told AVweb on Tuesday. King added that without a chute, most aircraft require 1,200 to 1,500 feet to recover from a spin. "The Cirrus is the safest airplane in its class on the market today," he said. The NTSB is investigating the crash.