Cirrus Deploys Chute Training

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Cirrus says it has made pilot safety its new top priority with a program designed to ensure the pilots of its aircraft know how, and perhaps more importantly when, to use the built-in safety features, including the parachute. In announcing Cirrus Approach, CEO Dale Klapmeier said the Cirrus safety record is "on par" with other designs even though Cirrus aircraft have a host of safety features, like automatic levelers and flight envelope detection and overrides, plus the chute, meaning an average safety rating "is not acceptable to us." He said the Cirrus Approach aims to change that. "If pilots do not utilize these features or are not trained properly on how to use them, then these safety devices are not as effective as they could be," Klapmeier said. "Cirrus Approach is our new commitment to making Cirrus pilots safer."

Although there have been more than 40 intentional deployments of the parachute and 69 lives saved, Cirrus believes there have been many more instances when the handle should have been pulled. "We believe a lack of training and practice are the primary reasons pilots do not use CAPS when they should," said Rob Haig, Cirrus's director of flight operations. The company has created new training materials that it's encouraging every Cirrus pilot to go to.