...Flight Characteristics, Parachute System Blamed

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The suit alleges that the aircraft went into the spin because of its flight-handling characteristics and maintains that the pilots tried, and failed, to deploy the parachute. Klapmeier flatly denies the claim, saying the allegation about flight-handling characteristics is a direct challenge to the FAA's certification of the aircraft. He said Cirrus wings are designed to prevent stall/spin conditions. As for the parachute, he said Cirrus' view is the rocket motor cooked off after the crash, not as a result of a last-second attempt to deploy it. "There is no evidence the parachute rocket deployed before the airplane hit the ground," he said. Klapmeier said he stands behind the company's decision to design an aircraft that resists stalls and spins. He said that most spins occur below recoverable altitude and the spin-recovery characteristics are a moot point in those cases. "I think we're going to save a lot of lives by preventing the spin," he said. The lawsuit claims the aircraft, the instruction manuals and the parachute system "were defective and unreasonably dangerous and unsafe." Klapmeier said defending the suit will cost the company a lot of money but with the fundamentals of his business under attack he's not about to settle out of court. "My view is, if we're wrong, we ought to pay," he said. "We aren't settling this because we aren't wrong." He said it will take at least a year to get to court.