Jump to content
iaw4

Parachute Recommendation

Recommended Posts

[new owner, N86FT]

I believe (but I am not certain) that there was only one parachute pull in a Flight Design so far.  (This comes from looking at old messages on this board.) . Please correct me if I am wrong.

Cirrus changed it's training methods to suggest "if in doubt, immediately pull the parachute"---pull early and often.  It's almost "if the engine goes out and you are not over an airport, just pull."

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2016/july/24/how-cirrus-reduced-accidents

there are some obvious scenarios for a pull (hostile territory and the engine goes out, etc.) and some obvious scenarios for landing (you are high in the pattern and were practicing engine-out landings anyways).  unlike the Cirrus, we do not have much evidence for outcomes with parachute pulls, either, so there is an extra uncertainty factor for FDs.

has FD offered some more guidance on when to pull?  should I follow the old or the new Cirrus approach.

/iaw

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been talked about a LOT in a number of threads here, and there are a lot of different opinions.

As for me, I like to go with the odds.  Statistically, an off-airport landing has a much lower chance of survival than a parachute pull.  This is, however, a bit less true in a slower moving airplane like a CT than something like a Cirrus.  That said, my plan amounts to: "if the landing is in doubt, pull."  That means I'll try to land the airplane if it seems like there is a good landing site and everything works out.  If I get down to a few hundred feet and things don't look as good as I'd hoped, I'm taking the silk elevator down.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

This has been talked about a LOT in a number of threads here, and there are a lot of different opinions.

As for me, I like to go with the odds.  Statistically, an off-airport landing has a much lower chance of survival than a parachute pull.  This is, however, a bit less true in a slower moving airplane like a CT than something like a Cirrus.  That said, my plan amounts to: "if the landing is in doubt, pull."  That means I'll try to land the airplane if it seems like there is a good landing site and everything works out.  If I get down to a few hundred feet and things don't look as good as I'd hoped, I'm taking the silk elevator down.

 

Minimum deployment altitude ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Captain Charles said:

Minimum deployment altitude ?

A lot depends on descent rate, speed, terrain, etc.

Honestly, if I think I need the parachute, I'm likely to pull it regardless of altitude.  Worst case it's at least going to act as a drag brake to slow things down and lessen the impact energy.  If you are spinning in from 200ft you just don't have enough time for the chute to deploy, but trying it will not make your dire situation any worse.  If you are at 100ft and have a 500ft descent rate when you realize you are going to overshoot to a boulder field, that is 20sec before impact and that is *way* more time than you need for a full deployment.

So I don't think of deployment in terms of altitude, but instead in terms of time..."do I have enough time for the chute to get open before impact?"  Even if the answer is no, it will probably not make things worse to try anyway.  The one exception is if the airplane is covered in gas for some reason; rocket exhaust plus fuel don't mix well.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Good information.

[1] where does the 40% death chance come from?   if the 60% is mostly from bad terrain below, and I am not in this situation, then pulling may not be ideal.  (frankly, I don't 100% trust it, either.) . if the 60% applies even for seemingly good terrain (golf course?  sports field?  empty road?  road with low traffic and lots of spacing?), then I better pull sooner rather than later.

[2] we do need to get a good estimate of the (graphical) envelope for a good pull.   I presume that if I am in a good flight attitude at 50 knots, 200' altitude, but I realize that it is not good ahead of me, a pull would still work.  if I am in a spin at 120 knots, 200' altitude, I can kiss my butt goodbye.  this is a bad guess, BUT knowing this is *very* important, because it will help me to decide when to pull and when not to pull.  this is especially relevant with respect to [1].  if I have good control of the airplane and the engine went out, I am still at 1000' AGL, and I am not in bad terrain (mountains) but I see a nice golf course below me (yes, I understand a golf balls could hit me),  then my choice (descend first, decide later; vs pull immediately) will depend on the viable envelope.  I need the equivalent of an IFR decision point.

/iaw

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can have a finite "I am going to pull" set of circumstances. It is something that will have to be decided by each pilot in each individual situation.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

it does not have to be finite and can be by pilot, because it is not an FAA legal issue anyway.  but think about why there is a good reason for the existence of an IFR decision altitude: you have time to decide until you get there *before* you need to decide.

especially when the engine quits and I am still high, I want to know *when* I have a decision to make.  I want to know a good decision altitude (envelope) in my mind.  can I delay it down to 400'?  200'?  100'?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you think you need it, pull it.  Trying to decide if you fall at point A or point B on the correlated parachute deployment matrix, and then referring to the errata denoted by the asterisk at the bottom of the graph is only going to waste time.

If you have the time to think it over, then you can formulate a plan.  But if it’s an “oh shit” moment, you have to be ready to pull without a plan or a definite sense of your chances.

No single deployment envelope is really possible.  Why?  Because every circumstance is different.  Terrain is different, pilot ability is different.  Do you go out and fly twice a week and practice engine out scenarios often, or do you fly twice a year and have not stalled the airplane in the last year?  That will significantly change your deployment strategy.

It would be nice to have an easy to understand set of parameters, but that’s just not realistic.  The best rule of thumb is simply use it if you think you need it, or if there is doubt whether you do.  That strategy gives you the best chance of survival.  You might end up trashing an airplane you might have been able to save, but you’ll live to engage in that hindsight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you pull the handle and the chute deploys, you will know it right away.  I would keep pulling until you feel the shock.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cirrus has a minimum chute altitude of 500-600' agl depending on the model.  We teach 500' agl min for the CT for lack of a published value and given Cirrus has a lot of test and actual data to back up that number.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something to consider - what looks to be a friendly terrain from 1,000' might not look so friendly when you're @ 50'.   I am familiar with two LSA crashes where the pilots thought the terrain was friendly.  One of these involved a CTSW.  The pilot lost his engine at a few thousand feet.  He could see an open field below and headed for it.  On short final, he discovered there was a wide ditch that was 7 foot deep that wasn't visable at altitude.  He and his passenger were lucky to walk away from the completely destroyed CT.  The other crash involved a Technam that had engine failure during take off.  The pilot thought the soybean field  next to the runway looked flat and friendly and set the plane down.  The landing gear was ripped from the plane by the soybean plants and entered the cabin floor and struck the pilot.  He was pronounced dead by first responders.  Based on these crashes, I'm in Andy's camp.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Farmland is always rough. Try to land with the rows. But you still won't come out unscathed in many circumstances.

The nose gear is the weak point on a CT field landing. If it digs in the slightest, you're going over. Try to keep it off the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2018 at 6:47 PM, Roger Lee said:

3 pulls for sure and maybe a 4th one.

Don’t know if you include the one in Europe.  Pilot ran out of fuel, landed safely, THEN pulled the chute for an insurance claim.  The wind grabbed the chute and flipped the CT, severely damaging it.  He wasn’t in it when it flipped.  Ironically, his policy had expired the day before.  Sold for salvage. Karma.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×