Veteran Cirrus Engineer Dies In SR22 Crash On A Personal Flight


Cirrus Aircraft is mourning the loss of longtime employee David Rathbun, who died last Friday (Feb. 24) in the crash of a privately owned 2016 Cirrus SR22 on a personal flight. The Cirrus went down in the St. Louis River around 4:00 p.m. shortly after taking off from Duluth (Minnesota) International Airport. Rathbun was the only person on board. In a statement, Cirrus expressed admiration for Rathbun’s years as a prominent member of the design team and support for his family.

“His passing is a profound loss for the Cirrus family,” Cirrus wrote. “His presence and character will be missed, but his legacy will be indelible. A key contributor throughout his 26 years at Cirrus Aircraft, Dave played a crucial role in the early design and certification of the SR20. Following similar work on the SR22 and SR22T, Dave was instrumental in the development and successful entry into service of the SF50 Vision Jet.”

The cause of the accident remains under investigation, and the company wrote, “Cirrus Aircraft personnel are fully engaged in supporting all appropriate authorities in the investigation. With respect to those involved, and as the initial investigation begins, we will not comment on the accident details or speculate about the accident’s cause.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Sounds like a guy we needed to keep around. Thoughts and prayers to both his family and the extended Cirrus family.

  2. Medical condition? Someone who knows the systems so well must have had some physical problem that prevented him from not using all the safety features?