Cirrus Airframe Parachute System and Odds of a Fatal Accident in Cirrus Aircraft Crashes
INTRODUCTION: General aviation (GA) accidents have continued to demonstrate high fatality rates. Recently, ballistic parachute recovery systems (BPRS) have been introduced as a safety feature in some GA aircraft. This study evaluates the effectiveness and associated factors of the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) at reducing the odds of a fatal accident in Cirrus aircraft crashes. METHODS: Publicly available Cirrus aircraft crash reports were obtained from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) database for the period of January 1, 2001-December 31, 2016. Accident metrics were evaluated through univariate and multivariate analyses regarding odds of a fatal accident and use of the parachute system. RESULTS: Included in the study were 268 accidents. For CAPS nondeployed accidents, 82 of 211 (38.9%) were fatal as compared to 8 of 57 (14.0%) for CAPS deployed accidents. After controlling for all other factors, the adjusted odds ratio for a fatal accident when CAPS was not deployed was 13.1. DISCUSSION: The substantial increased odds of a fatal accident when CAPS was not deployed demonstrated the effectiveness of CAPS at providing protection of occupants during an accident. Injuries were shifted from fatal to serious or minor with the use of CAPS and postcrash fires were significantly reduced. These results suggest that BPRS could play a significant role in the next major advance in improving GA accident survival.
& Olson, D.
(2017). Cirrus Airframe Parachute System and Odds of a Fatal Accident in Cirrus Aircraft Crashes. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, 88 (6), 556-564.