Four People And Dog Walk Away From Cirrus Jet Crash


All four people and a dog aboard a Cirrus SF50 VisionJet walked away from what might be the first hull loss in an accident for the type at Capital Regional International Airport in Lansing, Michigan, on Aug. 24. The single-engine jet went through a fence at the end of a runway during a takeoff attempt with a thunderstorm approaching the airport. A wind shear alert was issued just before the aircraft was cleared to take off, according to ATC recordings posted to YouTube with a simulated cockpit view of the crash sequence whose accuracy is unknown. According to local media reports, the occupants got out of the plane before it caught fire.

The SF50 went into service in December of 2016 and almost 300 have been delivered. Weather at the time of the crash, just before 7 p.m., was unstable with thunderstorms in the area and gusty winds. A cell passed over the airport just after the crash and dumped a half inch of rain in about 20 minutes as firefighters put out the blaze. It has not been confirmed if the weather was a factor in the crash. In 2019, an SF50 was destroyed when it caught fire on the ramp at Santa Monica Airport in California.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. The closest I’ve come to crashing in 10,000 hrs was on take off from Carlsbad, NM with a thunderstorm approaching, a fast moving pseudo-squall line overhead (bow wave/shelf clouds), and a warning from a biz jet that had departed a minute before about a 40 kt shear on departure. (The usual three in the “chain of events” before an accident.)

    As we had “Getoutofthere-itis” (we wanted to get out of there before the storm hit and locked us in for the night), we ignored the warning signs. We took off with a strong (25 kt) right crosswind. About 100 feet off the ground, the wind sheared and we slammed back on the runway, hard, right gear first as we slipped it on.

    Good thing I had told the not-as-experienced pilot to NOT retract the gear for this takeoff. (I’m surprised we didn’t punch the gear through the wing. (Thanks, Glasair.))

    Lifted off again, stayed in ground effect this time, crabbing over the runway until 100 KIAS, ready to kick rudder if we slammed back onto the runway again.

    Once at 100, we were able to climb out as normal, away from the storm.

    Whew. I’m not going to make that mistake again.

  2. Oops.!!! Yes, glad they could walk away.. Now Cirrus can start to add to the accident rate of the Jet model, just like the extreme accident rate of the “recip” models. Selling airplanes to customers with way more money then skill..

    • Oops, try again. Go look up Cirrus SR accident rates for the last 7 years compared with the GA piston fleet and report back what you find. Hint: Cirrus is better than the fleet.

      The SR fleet is approaching 10,000 aircraft so what feels like higher numbers is statistically not the case.

      • Kurt is correct. Back in the days of Diamond vs Cirrus safety debates I was a big time Diamond fan. I still am, and I’m still sure everything I said back then was true (in those debates anyways). I’m also pro composite (quality and design matter just like metal), and I’ve never been anti chute.

        Changes in the SR22 have made it a safer plane, but the real story is the success of the owners group in developing and disseminating superior knowledge and practices to their pilot community. The numbers reflect that. If the government wants to spend some money on more studies, they could get some value figuring out what made COPA’s efforts so successful.

        Now, if you are self aware and want the plane that will protect you the most even with only average training effort, and which has the stick in the proper place as well, get a Diamond. 😃

  3. Wind shear! We don’t care about no stinking wind shear, we got a jet (with less take performance than an overloaded Navajo). Seriously if these folks think they have an “all weather Jet” ( no such thing) they need lots of training like AQP and weather training.

  4. Wind shear and strong down drafts can bring down airliners. Taking off into those kinds of conditions was a mistake only experienced pilots appear to make – every screw can be overturned eventually. Glad they all walked away from it!

  5. That linked video is totally misleading. The radio calls are time-compressed, and they don’t line up with what’s shown in the simulation.

    Of particular importance, note that the jet was cleared for takeoff BEFORE a wind-shear alert was issued. Because of the time compression in the audio, we don’t know how much time elapsed between those two calls. The plane may have been well into the takeoff roll before it received that alert.

  6. I’ll say it again…
    Another crash where the aircraft began to burn long after the crash occurred. There are very good non toxic fire extinguishers used in race cars. Yes, they are about $75 each, but the amount saved is much much more if preventing an after accident fire. (Could be life saving)
    People do survive accidents and are trapped… would really be bad to be burned alive, when $75 could have stopped it.
    Note – these are not regular fire extinguishers used now in planes. They are much smaller and work much better.