BLYTHE: Two uninjured after disabled plane floats safely to ground on parachute

BLYTHE — A pilot and passenger walked away uninjured after a plane they were in crashed into an agricultural field Tuesday, Oct. 3. The aircraft went down in a shallow irrigation ravine near a single-lane road, in the area of N. Intake Boulevard and 6th Avenue, in Blythe.

Neither occupant has been identified publicly.

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A Cirrus SR22 equipped with the manufacturer’s ballistic parachute recovery system known as “CAPS” floated safely to the ground after suffering an unspecified air emergency. Cal Fire photo

The plane involved in the air emergency was a Cirrus SR22; a single-engine, four or five-seat, composite aircraft built by Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minnesota.

Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters and other emergency first responders rushed to the scene after receiving reports of an aircraft down about 3:25 p.m.

When firefighters and others arrived, they “found a small plane that had crashed with its parachute deployed,” Cal fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer April Newman explained in a written press release.

Although the plane suffered minor damage to its lower fuselage, propeller and fixed, tricycle landing gear in the parachute landing, “the two passengers on board the plane were evaluated by paramedics on scene, and declined further treatment with no complaints of injuries,” said Newman.

The Cirrus SR22, which is commonly used by flying schools, air charter and small air-taxi carriers as well as companies and private pilots, is equipped with a whole-plane, ballistic parachute recovery system (BRS), designed specifically for the manufacturer’s line of general aviation, light aircraft.

The Cirrus’ BRS is known as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, or CAPS. Once deployed during an emergency, a solid-fuel rocket housed in the aft fuselage is used to propel the parachute from its housing, allowing the parachute’s canopy to fully open within seconds.

A NASA photo series shows a CAPS BRS deployment during in-flight testing in 1998. NASA images

The goal of the parachute recovery system is to allow for survival of the crew and passengers and not necessarily intended to prevent damage to the airframe, according to manufacturers.

The Cirrus’ BRS became the first of its kind to be certified by the FAA in 1998 and is the only aircraft ballistic parachute used as standard equipment by an aviation company.

In a 2012 Flying magazine review, Robert Goyer called the Cirrus SR22 “the most sophisticated single-engine civilian airplane ever built.”

The flagship SR22 with all the bells and whistles, known as the SR22T GTS, lists for under $725,000.

As of August 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, Cirrus’ BRS’s have been activated 83 times. 69 of those incidents ended with successful deployments resulting in 142 survivors and only one fatality.

According to the manufacturer and completed FAA evaluations and studies of known Cirrus aircraft accidents, no fatalities, deployment failures or unforeseen problems have occurred when the parachute was deployed within the certified speed and altitude parameters.

Riverside County Environmental Health and Federal Aviation Administration were summoned to the scene after the plane went down.

FAA officials are investigating the cause of the air emergency and have not yet stated the cause of the air emergency.

Their investigation is active and ongoing.

Coast Flight Training video

Former Wal-Mart CEO uses a Cirrus BRS parachute to safely land disabled plane on Arkansas highway. Inside Edition video


Contact the writer:

trevor main

Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.


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