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An autopilot lesson from aviation: the fatality rate of the Cirrus SR22

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    In the year 2000 the world of small aviation saw a revolutionary airplane come to market - designed by two brothers who dreamed (foolishly, they were told) of a better airplane than the existing "spam cans" with designs decades old. 16 years later the Cirrus SR22 is the best selling single engine piston plane in the world. It has one revolutionary, still-unique safety device - a parachute which can safely lower to the ground the entire airplane and all its passengers in the event of an emergency. In addition to this parachute, back in the year 2000 Cirrus added other features which seemed guaranteed to reduce fatality rates - including a giant moving map which made it almost impossible for a small airplane pilot to "get lost."

    However a curious thing happened - Cirrus pilots began dying in huge numbers despite the fact that they were flying around in an airplane which seemed to have a huge safety advantage on its competition. Many theories have been put forth as to why this is - from deficits in the airframe design to overconfidence in the pilots due to the presence of a revolutionary safety device. My point is not to dissect that here - you can easily find detailed discussion elsewhere.

    I want only to point out one thing - with a concerted effort the Cirrus owner community was able to wrestle down that fatality rate dramatically, as seen in the graph below. [CAPS saves means pilots who pulled the parachute lever for one reason or another and lived to tell about it rather than crash their airplane and die in it while trying to fly it to the ground despite bad weather, engine trouble, catastrophic airframe failure, etc.]

    Now, I believe, the Cirrus accident rate sits well below the general aviation average.

    What it took was education of the pilot base - training them to pull the damn chute and not to take additional risks they would not take when flying an airplane which did not have a parachute.

    And frankly - it took a lot of deaths as well - to get people to sit up and take the problem seriously. But things did eventually get better.

    What did not happen was the U.S. government deciding to tell Cirrus how to engineer its airplanes - the pilot community solved the problem over time on its own.

    I hope we will be able to do the same with the Tesla driver community. Maybe we need our own organized effort - trying to keep the government out of our automobiles and educating our owners to pay attention when they drive.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 6.26.15 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 6.41.29 PM.png

    Klapmeier brothers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  2. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    • Informative x 3
  3. ZeroDarkSilver

    ZeroDarkSilver HEPA cleaning your atmosphere, you're welcome

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  4. BigAirHarper

    BigAirHarper Member

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    Love it. As a pilot and currently shopping for an SR22, totally on point. Everyone wants to get big government involved but the people can rally and get things done.
    All my friends have messaged me after this highly publicized crash, and I simply ask, do you blame the airplane when it crashed on autopilot, or the pilot? Usually gets the point across.
     
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  5. ZeroDarkSilver

    ZeroDarkSilver HEPA cleaning your atmosphere, you're welcome

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    #5 ZeroDarkSilver, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
    From:
    "Cirrus has made substantial revisions in its training for new owners at the factory and these changes are shortly to be fielded to Cirrus owners at large through the company’s well-established Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot program."

    Come on Elon, mount up some Model S on Stewart platforms and run AP simulator trainings at the Fremont factory and every Tesla store!
     
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  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting thread. I think there are indeed valuable lessons here for Elon and Tesla.

    In another thread, I posted my opinion that even at this early stage of its development, Tesla AP V1 is a sufficiently different driving experience from the "traditional" car experience that we have all grown up with to require specific training well beyond the few minutes of rudimentary instruction that Tesla provides during new vehicle delivery. Others have posted the same, before I did.

    @calisnow, thanks for posting!
     
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  7. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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  8. xav-

    xav- Member

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    Or just simply online training?
     
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  9. Tree95

    Tree95 Member

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    Off topic, but Mr Big, please consider joining the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association, COPA. There is an enormous amount of information and support there for those who fly or own a Cirrus. Their training weekends, called CPPP, are top notch. In the past, COPA, more so than Cirrus itself, has been the driving force in reducing the fatality rate. But, Cirrus has stepped up with great online training materials.

    Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association
     
  10. BigAirHarper

    BigAirHarper Member

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    Definitely joining! Waiting until the Tesla gets here. I can only handle constantly checking one forum at a time ;) hahahaha
     
  11. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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  12. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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  13. John Stuckey

    John Stuckey Member

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    Or the example of conventional cruise control.
     
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  14. Humanji

    Humanji Member

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    My opinion is that for complex vehicles like the model s/x manufacturers training materials should certainly be provided. I also am qualified in the SR22T and I had to go through online training and testing which I found extremely beneficial.

    However, we need a careful balance as to not over regulate. To date the government has allowed the auto industry to self regulate -- and it needs to stay that way. Tesla should step up and provide online training material. They could easily incorporate it into the infotainment system and require participation to unlock features.

    If the Oem (tesla) doesn't take action the insurance companies will, and us tesla owners won't like the outcome.
     

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