Cirrus Heading To Court

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Widow Of Crash Victim Sues...

Cirrus Design says it will vigorously defend itself against a lawsuit that claims its SR22 aircraft has "dangerous stability, handling, stall and spin characteristics" and that the onboard parachute system failed when the pilot tried to activate it. "We're going to court," Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier told AVweb. "We're very confident we have the facts on our side." The suit stems from a crash near Parish, N.Y., on April 24, 2002. The two co-owners of the aircraft, Joseph C. Fisher and Thomas P. Sedgewick, died when the plane entered a spin from more than 5,000 feet and did not recover. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), manufactured by Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS), did not deploy. BRS is also named in the suit as is Wings Aloft, author of the Cirrus Training Manual. The suit was launched by Fisher's wife, Kathleen. According to the NTSB report on the crash, witnesses said they saw the Cirrus dive and then pull up three or four times. On the last such maneuver, the aircraft went into a spiral that some said turned into a flat spin. The plane was substantially destroyed by fire after impact. Investigators found the CAPS parachute, still in its bag, beside the airframe and the solid rocket that deploys it nearby. The propellant was expended. The safety pin for the handle that activates the parachute was not located.