A Florida pilot escaped with only wet feet after his Cirrus SF50 lost power shortly after takeoff from Indianapolis Regional Airport on Friday morning. Timothy Borrup, 54, told local authorities the plane’s single jet engine faltered during the initial climbout and he pulled the CAPS handle. It turned out to be a textbook application of the system and the aircraft settled upright and mostly intact into a retention pond in an industrial area near the airport. 

It was only the second use of the parachute system on a VisionJet and this one will likely be of significant interest to the agencies and the company because of the phase of flight. According to FlightAware, the plane reached only about 900 feet AGL before Borrup reached for the handle on the ceiling although there are other reports saying it got as high as 2,000 feet. The official minimum deployment height for the SF50 is 400 feet.   The first SF50 CAPS deployment occurred in September near Orlando and three people were hurt in that mishap. 


    • Arthur,
      The Cirrus Jet is designed with the Williams FJ33 engine, a very similar design to the more ubiquitous FJ44 engine that other notable light jet designs are certified with. In the roughly 1500 hours I have logged in aircraft with that engine, I have experienced two separate engine-related events in flight, in two different aircraft — a complete FADEC disruption in cruise flight and a total powerplant failure.

      It will be interesting to see what can be gleaned from the engine data and the reason for the powerplant’s loss of thrust once the investigation is complete.

      • Your comment is just as applicable to all the multi-engine/rotor “contraptions” that are popping out as fast as weeds grow. Reliability is directly proportional to complexity / parts count. I hope all of ’em have a CAPS system installed because if the FADEC system IS at fault here … that’s a bad omen. At least a Cirrus can glide and has a backup parachute.

  1. “applicable to all the multi-engine/rotor “contraptions” that are popping out as fast as weeds grow. Reliability is directly proportional to complexity / parts count.”

    You’re joking, right?

    There are tens of thousands of parts in a turbine engine, and thousands of parts in a piston engine. Electric motors have maybe 100 at most. Even if an urban air mobility aircraft has 10 motors, even if they all tilt, it will still have fewer parts than a single piston engine.

      • An engine is not just cylinders, pistons, crankcase, and crankshaft.

        There’s every component of the valvetrain, every component of the oil system, every component of the accessory drive, every component of the magnetos, every component of the starter, every component of the alternator, every component of the injectors or carb (hundreds of parts on its own), seals, gaskets, bolts, nuts, washers, studs, shafts, pins, bearings, wires, connectors, sensors, covers, clamps, etc. On an IO-540, there are 22 parts on the generator mount alone, 86 parts on the fuel lines, 257 parts on the oil sump and induction housing.

          • If you just count moving parts, a piston engine has more moving parts than a turbine engine, and both have more moving parts than an electric motor. And an electric motor is basically a large starter motor, which both a piston and turbine engine include as an accessory, so by default, both would have more parts than an electric engine on its own.

            But physical complexity of the power plant isn’t the whole story. When you add in the software (FADEC, etc) that controls the entire system, all three can be similarly complex. It’s just a matter of where the likely failure points will be that is different. And it sounds like from above that it might not necessarily be a mechanical failure that caused this incident.

  2. so a commercial pilot, highly trained, in a part 135 plane walked away with some wet feet because he pulled the chute, YES this is definitely a win. Mr. Borrup lives and gets to see his family again. no lives in the plane were lost, no innocent lives on the ground harmed ( that plane fell so slowly that even Paul Bertorelli could get out of its way) , and it looked like zero property damage on the ground in a fairly populated area.
    GREAT work Tim, Cirrus and BRS!