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Has the 260se's enhanced safety changed your flying decisions?

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  • Has the 260se's enhanced safety changed your flying decisions?

    We all know that with its low stall speed, stall/spin resistance, slow
    speed maneuverability, and generous performance reserve, the 260se is
    one of the safest GA aircraft. My question to all of you is this: has
    flying the 260se changed your decision-making in any way? Has it
    "raised your minimums?" What do you feel more comfortable doing in the
    260se than in your previous plane or in a stock 182?

    For me, flying a safer plane with state-of-the-art avionics has
    expanded my envelope significantly.

    Am I more willing to challenge convective weather or potential icing
    conditions? No, I'm still a confirmed wimp about this. But with
    downloadable NEXRAD in 812KT I will sure give T-storms a wide berth
    more easily than in the rentals I used to fly.

    Am I more willing to fly medium-longish IFR flights in IMC? Yes. I have
    a good picture of where I am at all times. The autopilot is a safety
    backup and eases workload when things get busy. I do not fear a vacuum
    failure much, as I have and use a rate-based autopilot with GPSS and
    have learned from multiple practice sessions that using the turn
    coordinator and GPS digital track reference makes "partial panel"
    flying a non-event. On the other hand I am concerned about an
    electrical failure and thus will have a 2nd alternator installed later
    this year when it's certified. Finally, I know that if necessary I can
    ride the plane down engine-out at 45-50 KIAS with only a 600-650 fpm
    descent; as long as I land in a flat area with a bit of time for even a
    partial flare, I will survive with minimal or no injury and minimal or
    no damage to the plane.

    Am I more willing to fly extended IFR over mountainous terrain? No.

    Am I more willing to fly extended VFR over mountainous terrain? No, but I
    am more willing to fly VFR over unpopulated/desolate terrain (not
    mountainous), knowing I can radio a PRECISE position and put the plane
    down very slowly in a very small area. Am I more willing to fly ACROSS
    mountains (brief exposure to few-or-no-options terrain)? Yes--my
    engine is new and I maintain my plane to high standards.

    My crosswind minimums have increased 5-10 kt due to the 260se's
    impeccable crosswind behavior.

    Am I more tempted to do goofy things like low level maneuvering away
    from an airport environment? No way.

    I am definitely more comfortable flying with my family in the 260se
    than in any other plane. So we use it more and our car less for
    trips.

    I think that a safer airplane SHOULD expand capabilities and the
    "utility envelope" of one's flying. That's why some people buy twins
    or turboprops or install TKS systems. It's just prudent to analyze which
    part of your envelope has expanded and which has not.
    Kevin Moore
    Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
    sigpic

  • #2
    Kevin, I've been reading the forum religously and still hope to get
    into a plane before too long (probably a 260SE rather than a
    Cirrus!). I think I know the answer to this, but I'd appreciate any
    amplification you can provide about the statement:

    "I am definitely more comfortable flying with my family in the 260se
    than in any other plane."

    You know what I'm wondering about (CAPS, etc.) and I know you've
    written about this in the past, but some reinforcement would be
    greatly appreciated. This is ultimately the central issue for me and
    my young family. If I can achieve a level of comfort with this issue
    for myself and my spouse we are there.

    Also, can you tell me more about the backup alternator option? What
    is waiting on approval? Is there currently no way to add a 2nd
    alternator to a 260SE?

    Thanks. BTW, is your former plane sold?

    Regards,

    Mick
    Kevin Moore
    Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Mick,

      I'm not Kevin (to whom you addressed your query), which is most
      unfortunate since he's so much better looking than yours truly.

      Anyway, I undertook the process of looking at both the Cirrus
      products and the 260SE last year and came down squarely on the 260SE
      as the preferable aircraft for me and my family. In that process,
      which also involved a variety of considerations other than safety, I
      came to the same "comfortable" conclusion as you quote from Kevin for
      the following reasons:

      (1) The overall safety issue as studied by various organizations
      reveals that the C-182 (with its stable mate the C-172) is one of the
      safest aircraft one can fly. There has to be a reason for that.
      These conclusions reflect decades of use in comparisons with other
      single engine aircraft. On the other hand, the in-the-field safety
      story is not yet known re the Cirrus products. In my view, a bird in
      the hand is worth two in the bush.

      (2) A relatively large percentage of accidents occur during the
      takeoff and landing phases of flight. The 260SE is quite special for
      its slow flight capabilities which converts to safer operation during
      T/O and landing activities. On the other hand, the Cirrus aircraft
      are relatively "hot", with sink rates increasing markedly at speeds
      below 70 knots, I'm told. Given the 260SE's touchdown speed in the
      mid to upper 30 knot range, my recollection from college physics is
      that the effect of kinetic energy upon the human occupants in an
      unfortunately sudden stop will be substantially less at 35 knots than
      at 60 knots.

      (3) Re CAPS, it's a wonderful thing, and I wish it were readily
      available for all aircraft; if there's one thing I fear, it's a mid-
      air that clicks the delete button on controllable flight. Yet CAPS'
      real world use and safety impact really hasn't been tested to any
      significant degree. And, the situations where it would be used
      seemed to me to be quite rare compared to the fact that every flight
      involves a T/O and landing (see #2 above). Note also that CAPS will
      do little to mitigate harm from T/O and landing accidents.

      (4) Todd knows the flight characteristics of the 260SE better than
      anyone, and is generous in imparting that knowledge to 260SE owners.

      Please note that this is not intended as an indictment of the Cirrus
      products. In fact, Cirrus is taking a much needed step in the
      direction of improving upon single engine aircraft design. I
      traveled to Duluth, met a number of their key people, and toured the
      plant, and came away favorably impressed with them and what they have
      accomplished. Had the 260SE not been available, I would have signed
      on the Cirrus dotted line.

      Best wishes and good luck with your choice, whatever it may be.

      Pete
      Kevin Moore
      Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Mick

        Re 2nd alternator: consult Todd about it. The particular one I want
        (by GAMI?) should be certified later this year, but I think there are
        other alternatives.

        I think CAPS (Cirrus' airframe parachute) is a terrific innovation that
        has done worlds of good for enhancing the comfort level of many--mostly
        nonpilots--who were up to now wary or downright fearful of GA planes. I
        personally know several whose spouses simply would not fly with them
        except in "the plane with the parachute." What were their main fears?
        Helplessness in the event of pilot incapacitation was #1. Another:
        loss of control a la the recent highly publicized JFK Jr. mishap. Or a
        mid-air collision. Finally: without much or any flying experience/
        knowledge, they share the public misconception that small planes are
        just prone to breaking and falling out of the sky. Ultimately the
        marketplace and pilot experience will determine the success of this
        innovation. If for no other reason than that it has brought more
        people into GA, I applaud Cirrus for giving it a try.

        However, analyzing the type of flying I do, the ONLY scenario in which
        I feel that CAPS makes the Cirrus a safer plane for me is a midair
        collision or structural failure. Even then, in a significant number--
        not all--cases, pilot and PAX would likely be incapacitated by impact
        or G forces and be unable to activate CAPS. How many auto collisions
        that damage the car enough to make it undrivable are benign for the
        occupants? IMHO for any other "bad day" event I feel as safe or safer
        in the 260se, with its power-off slow descent rate, slow touchdown
        speed, ability to maneuver at slow speeds, and use a small area for
        forced landing.

        In a forced landing the 260se touches down under 40 kt vs. 55-60 kt for
        the Cirrus. That's less than half the kinetic energy to dissipate and
        a much smaller landing area required. Engine failure in low IFR? I
        don't do extended flights in low IFR, but in any case as Todd has
        pointed out one can ride the 260se down at 45-50 KIAS with only a 600-
        650 fpm descent rate under perfect control (vs ~1600 fpm under CAPS OR
        ~88-94 KIAS Vglide/900 fpm down in an SR2x forced landing). If there's
        even a little time to partially flare in a small flat area, the outcome
        should be safe and maybe even damage-free.

        Over water? I personally don't fly over water out of easy gliding
        distance from land.

        Mountain flying? The 260se has an amazing power reserve and steep
        turns with <300 ft radius can be done at 50-55 KIAS. The SR20 is NOT a
        mountain or density altitude airplane, and while the SR22 also has a
        generous power reserve and climb rate, its climb gradient is
        significantly lower because of the higher airspeeds involved. In the
        260se, I am mindful of high density altitudes, but I do not WORRY
        about them.

        Pilot incapacitation? I will familiarize Tina with flying 812KT from
        the right seat, use of the autopilot, use of 121.5; she already knows
        use of the GNS430 for "direct-to." The 260se can be landed straight
        ahead no flaps under a little power at 65-70 KIAS in a flat or
        slightly nose-up attitude.

        So this is my personal analysis. "Your mileage may vary" in your own
        situation, and nonpilot spouses clearly may need some persuading.
        Good luck with your choice!
        Kevin Moore
        Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Mick and others: My beloved N21396 is for sale because I will
          likely only fly 50hrs or less this year. Can't do that to her. Use the
          SEARCH to read about what she's got. I posted it a few months
          ago but then changed my mind and decided to wait and see at
          the advice of many. Alas, the one thing you really need to fly is
          time.

          I feel it's okay to mention N21396 also because of the safety
          discussion. FWIW, I challenge anyone to find a Piston single as
          safe as a 260SE overall. And then if you make some intellegent
          choices as to how you equip her...

          For example. I have a vac pump and a standby. If they both fail - I
          still have an Electric AI I put in on the co-pilot's side. Not to
          mention the SANDEL EHSI and the slaved #2 HSI not to mention
          the STEC55 AP which runs off the TC.

          If you lose the alternator, you've got 30 minutes of battery, and I
          can shut down everything except the tansponder, and use a
          hand-held com plugged into the emergency jack which goes
          right to a real antenna.

          Lose all power? Still got two vac's going.

          Combine all this with a JPI that keeps you ahead of the engine,
          and allows you to build a spreadsheet over time to monitor how
          it is running and flag any changes.

          Not to mention the Garmin 430, the big MX20 moving map... The
          sl30 navcom which can work as two nav/coms at once if you
          know how to use it. And a fuel flow computer....

          Bottom line is - the only way you can fly safer than this would be
          to have the world's first Turbine 260se (take-off roll= 3.2 inches)
          or add the weeping wing when it is available.

          Having flown the Cirrus and the 260SE I know one thing. If I had
          to lose an engine in either at random. I'd MUCH rather be in the
          260SE. Much rather.

          As for other issues. As Kevin once said - if you get lost or in
          trouble with all the avionics and redundancies we are building in
          - then you should be on the ground eating babyfood and
          watching TV all day - safe from the world

          Dean
          Kevin Moore
          Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Mick,
            I fly a Cirrus SR22 but I read this forum daily because of all of the
            things Kevin and Todd and the rest of the group rightly point out
            about the advantages of the 260SE. I was (and am) seriously
            conflicted about the relative merits of the two designs (thanks
            primarily to Kevin, who once gave me a demo ride in his Peterson
            fixed wing helicopter). My dream is to wind up with enough time and
            capital to own and fly one of each!

            At the margin, CAPS made the difference for my non-pilot wife. Also,
            I fly a fair amount of business day-trips where the 175-185 KTAS
            cruise of the SR22 is a winner. However, my dream someday is to
            spend my summers flying around Idaho and the SR22 is definitely NOT
            the plane for that mission!

            If you get a 260SE, I'll trade rides with you!
            Kevin Moore
            Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              It looks like we are in the process of getting our first 260SE with a ballistic parachute. Hopefully it will be on display at the AOPA Convention in Palm Springs, CA.

              Comment


              • #8
                BRS in a 260se

                As Todd well knows, parts and pieces of the BRS parachute slated for my machine are lying in his shop. Originally, I was going to have Todd install it, and had everything shipped there, but it became apparent that it made more sense for the folks who work with BRS to do the job instead. So, some parts were left at Todd's and the "ballastic parts" (yes, the thing has a rocket attached to it) flew back with me to Sarasota. They will travel northward again and, after the paint job, it's off to Minnesota to have the chute installed. Then, back to Florida. Then, with any luck, Palm Springs!

                The biggest advantage to the chute? The sense of comfort I will have flying with my family (or friends) knowing that if I suffered an "event" (not necessarily a heart attack or similar -- I know one guy who was incapacitated for a time when a bird came through the windshield) they would have a good chance of getting down safely. It just doesn't feel entirely responsible to me to not have the thing and put (non-pilot) others aboard.

                In just about all other scenarios, including most control surface failures, but excepting mid-air collision and loss of power over hostile terrain or in IMC with very low ceilings, I think I would fly the plane down. If you are willing to sacrifice the plane (which is going to happen with the chute anyway), you can land the thing in an incredibly small space and you will be going SLOWER at impact than with the chute deployed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chute the messenger

                  Originally posted by nworth
                  The biggest advantage to the chute? The sense of comfort I will have flying with my family (or friends) knowing that if I suffered an "event" (not necessarily a heart attack or similar -- I know one guy who was incapacitated for a time when a bird came through the windshield) they would have a good chance of getting down safely. It just doesn't feel entirely responsible to me to not have the thing and put (non-pilot) others aboard.

                  In just about all other scenarios, including most control surface failures, but excepting mid-air collision and loss of power over hostile terrain or in IMC with very low ceilings, I think I would fly the plane down. If you are willing to sacrifice the plane (which is going to happen with the chute anyway), you can land the thing in an incredibly small space and you will be going SLOWER at impact than with the chute deployed.
                  Well said. For more than 2 years since bidding my beloved 812KT farewell I have been flying mostly rented Cirrus and have become ever more comfortable with an airframe parachute. I admit I now feel somewhat "exposed" without it. I happily flew more than 1000 hr without one, but now it's a significant "want-to-have" if not a "must-have" for me. Go figure. Age, perhaps?

                  Senior Management has made it clear that for her it has become a virtual requirement to fully enjoy flying: it gives her a sense of security and an "out" should something happen to me. When we're back in the ownership game her first choice would be an SR22. However I'm holding out for another 260se, this time with a BRS installed!
                  Kevin Moore
                  Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kwmoore
                    Senior Management has made it clear that for her it has become a virtual requirement to fully enjoy flying: it gives her a sense of security and an "out" should something happen to me. When we're back in the ownership game her first choice would be an SR22.
                    I'm curious that, if safety is the primary concern, that Tina would prefer the SR22. It's definitely a cool plane but in no way could it be said to be safer than the 260se (with a chute installed!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nworth
                      I'm curious that, if safety is the primary concern, that Tina would prefer the SR22. It's definitely a cool plane but in no way could it be said to be safer than the 260se (with a chute installed!)
                      Agree.

                      The 'chute is now a must for her. The '22 gets her vote (not by much margin though) for other various reasons that end up summarized as, "Let's try something different." However, I've got time for the process of persuasion to work.
                      Kevin Moore
                      Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Airframe parachute deployment outcomes

                        Originally posted by nworth
                        The biggest advantage to the chute? The sense of comfort I will have flying with my family (or friends) knowing that if I suffered an "event" (not necessarily a heart attack or similar -- I know one guy who was incapacitated for a time when a bird came through the windshield) they would have a good chance of getting down safely. It just doesn't feel entirely responsible to me to not have the thing and put (non-pilot) others aboard.

                        In just about all other scenarios, including most control surface failures, but excepting mid-air collision and loss of power over hostile terrain or in IMC with very low ceilings, I think I would fly the plane down. If you are willing to sacrifice the plane (which is going to happen with the chute anyway), you can land the thing in an incredibly small space and you will be going SLOWER at impact than with the chute deployed.
                        For a very thorough analysis of Cirrus CAPS deployments and an ensuing discussion click here. You may have to be an AOPA member to view this.

                        So far, all deployments within the POH-specified envelope (speed, altitude) have resulted in NO INJURIES.
                        Kevin Moore
                        Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now
                        sigpic

                        Comment

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