The Cirrus line of aircraft have been flying for 20 years and although most people in aviation know they have full aircraft parachutes, it’s fair to ask how effective these have been. With more than 90 uses of the so-called CAPS, has the system really saved lives? In this video, AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli analyzes the record.


  1. I really like the analysis on the Cirrus parachute safety. A report on why the Piper Saratoga has such a high fatality rate would be interesting. The kit built industry has a few parachute recovery offerings, but their data may not be as good as the aircraft in this video. Keep making these videos, please.

  2. The negative reaction to CAPS by some pilots proves once again the pilot is the most dangerous component in the aircraft. I was an early Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP) and like many was skeptical of how effective the parachute would But the results are in and the bottom line is there are people alive today who would be dead if not for CAPS. The pilots who whine about how the chute is somehow too wimpy are, and I say this bluntly, fools. They are probably the same people who complained about GPS (“children of the magenta line”) and their ancestors probably complained about how the introduction of VOR’s would degrade everyone’s ADF skills! As Paul points out, like ejection seats pilots need to be trained in when and how to use CAPS to get the safety benefits from this technology. I do a lot of the Embark training Paul mentioned here in AZ and the latest Cirrus curriculum has been improved to incorporate the experience of the last 22 years. As aviators we should applaud technological advances that enhance safety, not belittle them.

    • You can keep your parachute Robert and stuff it. I have yet to be convinced how many of those CAPS saves would never have occurred if a bad decision would never had been made. By the way Robert, I have plenty of magenta lines in my cockpit. I also, have the green ones too. 🤓

      • Tom, I totally agree with you! I can see using the chute in a spin since the Cirrus can not recover but even then to get into a spin is poor piloting. Bad decisions is the main reason why there is a CAPS pull. Too many pilots with a lot of money buying these aircraft. Let’s see how many use auto land lol

    • Robert, I won’t quarrel with your basic premise except to say I would refrain from using the descriptor “fools” in the context which you did. I wish collegiality was still the norm. Also, I will say that my recollection regarding “children of the magenta” is that this phrase was coined during the late 1990’s / early 2000’s to describe pilots who were too becoming dependent on automation to the extent that they were prioritizing automation management at the expense of basic airmanship. And, as I recall, it was “children of the magenta”, not “children of the magenta line” and originally had nothing to do with GPS.

  3. “So what happened? Well 2011 happened”

    COPA proves that training saves lives, not technology. Once again we see that sufficient training makes the Cirrus on-par with other aircraft AYA did the same thing with the AA1 Yankee back in the day. As your data showed, the BRS cute is irrelevant; in-type pilot training brings aircraft accident rates to acceptable levels.