Friday, May 22, 2020

Cirrus Aircraft, N883PJ: Fatal accident occurred May 20, 2020 in Santa Maria, California

2 months ago
"Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883 Papa Juliet has a mask on."

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Santa Maria, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA152
Date & Time: 05/20/2020, 1043 PDT
Registration: N883PJ
Aircraft: Cirrus SR20
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2020, about 1043 Pacific daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N883PJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Santa Maria, California. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 solo cross country flight.

There were several witnesses who observed the airplane prior to the accident. A witness reported that the airplane was flying lower than normal. He observed the airplane oscillate, followed by an engine power increased and then the airplane straightened out. Shortly thereafter, the power decreased, and it started to oscillate as it went out of view. Another witness observed the airplane with it's wings perpendicular to the ground as it descended out of view. And a third witness said his attention was drawn to the airplane when he heard a "loud hissing sound," which sounded like a "large bottle rocket." He looked up and saw the airplane abruptly turn left and descend like a corkscrew.

The student pilot's flight instructor reported that he has been in flight training since September 2019, and had accumulated about 50 flight hours. The accident flight was the student pilot's third solo flight, and second cross country. They had flown the same route as the accident flight at least twice together, and the student pilot flew it once on his own about one week prior to the accident.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N883PJ
Model/Series: SR20 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SMX, 261 ft msl
Observation Time: 1051 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / 15 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Van Nuys, CA (VNY)
Destination: Santa Maria, CA (SMX)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.893056, -120.454722 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

Dr. Tigran Garabedyan
June 27, 1981 – May 20, 2020
6 months ago
"More practice! Gotta get it VFR to Van Nuys. 883 Papa Juliet, Cirrus Aircraft" 

4 months ago 
"883 PapaJuliet back in action, soaring above the fluffy clouds!"

5 months ago
"Night flying cross country to Riverside and back. Encore Flight Academy"

7 months ago
"This is starting to get a bit technical ... climbs, descends, stall maneuvers, ground reference maneuvers. Really fun though!"

8 months ago
"Here we go first flight, Encore Flight Academy, 2 takeoffs 2 landings, beat one way to beat the 101 traffic."

ORCUTT, California  - The NewsChannel has confirmed through Federal Aviation Administration records that Tigran Garabedyan, who died in a plane crash Wednesday morning, was certified as a student-pilot on November 7th, 2019.

The 38-year old from Burbank took off from Van Nuys Airport around 9:45 Wednesday morning and flew about 133 miles to the Santa Maria area before crashing near the playground at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in Orcutt about 10:45 a.m.

No children were present as the campus is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home order.

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate Garabedyan's student-pilot certification prohibited him from carrying any passengers. Authorities confirmed he was the only person onboard the Cirrus Aircraft when it crashed.

Social media postings made by Garabedyan show the Cirrus Aircraft parked at Van Nuys airport. In one of the last postings made just two months ago, Garabedyan wrote, "Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883PapaJuliet has a mask on."

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate the Cirrus Aircraft Garabedyan was flying is registered to a company called West by Southwest Investments LLC in Newport Beach. The NewsChannel has not been able to confirm Garabedyan's connection to that company.

The Cirrus Aircraft is a technologically advanced airplane. It comes equipped with a built-in Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which is designed to deploy during an emergency and avoid a fatal crash. The parachute is manually released by the pilot and must be deployed within the certified speed and altitude parameters.

Video of Wednesday's crash appeared to show Garabedyan tried to deploy the parachute. The parachute can be seen in the video trailing behind the plane as it nose dived onto the school playground and exploded. Photos of the crash site also show yellow straps wrapped around the tail section and a parachute on the ground near where the plane made impact.

Garabedyan was married with two young children. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.


  1. Weather recordings at KSMX for 20 May:
    (Note: accident time = 10:43am PDT for GMT-7)
    Captured on 22 May from 3 day scrolling history (link below):

    Day/ MST/ Tmp/Dp/RH / Wind /Vis / WX / Press
    20 9:51am 64 47 54 NNW 9 10.00 CLR 29.86
    20 10:51am 66 48 52 WNW 8G17 10.00 CLR 29.86
    20 11:51am 67 47 49 NW 17G23 10.00 CLR 29.86

    1. Note: ^^^^ First entry captioned time as MST, is PDT.

      Using 5 minute observations (minimal reformatting):

      Day/ PDT/ Tmp / Dp / RH / Wind /Vis / WX / Press
      20 May 11:00am 66 48 52 WNW 9 10.00 CLR 29.86
      20 May 10:55am 64 48 56 W 9 10.00 CLR 29.86
      20 May 10:51 am 66 48 52 WNW 8G17 10.00 CLR 29.86
      20 May 10:50 am 66 48 52 WNW 9 10.00 CLR 29.86
      20 May 10:45 am 66 48 52 NW 10 10.00 CLR 29.86
      20 May 10:40 am 66 48 52 WNW 7 10.00 CLR 29.86


      If you watch the video just before 7 seconds you might notice the plane was inverted and the crash site photo also shows inverted.

      Shoot was deployed less than 1/10 second before can hear the rocket as the inverted plane comes into the frame!

      This video would make a good Cirrus Training video!!

      Title: Why Inverted Landings are Bad

      The problem with this is...Training!

      The ultimate responsible party is the FAA.

      If Training is Right...idiots can't get in!!

      SR22 Training is obviously failing...this is the second video of a SR22 crash near an airport...both low time pilots!

      Reminds me of the good ole days with Commercial Trucks when there was no training!

    3. Looking at the video, this guy went in inverted at terminal velocity so not much there for the coroner to look at. His body was highly fragmented just chunks of stew meat already barbecued and deboned.

  2. The PIC for a student pilot is the CFI that provided the endorsement and limitations. If that student was within those limits at the time of the accident the CFI is legally as responsible as if he were at the controls with that student. Being a CFI has liabilities like no other jobs besides being an A&P whose signature in a logbook can also come back to haunt them decades after...


    Airman opted-out of releasing address
    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 12/2019
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None
    Certificates Description
    Certificate: STUDENT PILOT
    Date of Issue: 11/7/2019


  3. Good weather, chute deployed, yet this terrible outcome ... engine failure ? Fuel exhaustion ?

    1. Probably deployed the chute to low. There is a minimum altitude to deploy the chute. (400 in level flight; closer to 1000 if you are in a spin) The comment that the the chute was streaming behind the airplane may indicate he deployed too low.

    2. The chute worked fine. You can see it in YouTube videos of the crash, only beginning to inflate behind the plane. It takes maybe 5-10 seconds to fully deploy. It blasts out of the fuselage, trailing behind the plane as it slowly opens so as to not create too much force too quickly and rip it off the plane. As it fully opens, it ends up directly over the plane, with the plane horizontal and level. This plane obviously stalled and headed straight down. The chute would have needed to be deployed within seconds of the stall in order to be high enough to save the pilot. As Gary said above, he was just too late. Sad stuff.

  4. The track on Flightradar24 shows a straight in approach to RW 30, then flying the 8000' length of RW 30 at low level without landing, followed by a left turn to a downwind leg back south for a second try. Crash appears to be associated with a left turn to final.

    Crash cause could be the simplest of all: tightening up the turn to final with high bank angle because he hadn't stood off far enough to the west during the downwind leg. Accelerated stall.

    Overflying the field without landing and then wandering wide right of intended course on the alignment for the second final would not be a student's idea of a well done cross country solo. Easy to feel that pressure, may have had a traffic or taxiing aircraft issue on the first approach and just got rattled.

    1. Flightradar24 also shows him climbing to 1700ft when the traffic pattern altitude is only 1261ft. The dude couldn't even make the right pattern altitude and was somehow given endorsement on solo x-country. He shouldn't even have had the solo endorsement yet.

    2. ^^^^ You made an important observation about incorrect pattern altitude.

      His home airport pattern instructions include "no turns before reaching 1800 ft MSL, unless directed by air traffic control". Van Nuys is at 802 feet elevation, so pattern altitude of 1000 AGL is 1800 MSL.

      KSMX observes a 1500' AGL (1761 MSL) traffic pattern altitude for turbojet and pure jet aircraft, so he could have been called out by the tower controller for being too high as he climbed toward the pattern altitude that training had taught at Van Nuys.

      He may have been expediting a 500 foot descent to get back down to the correct pattern altitude when he lost it in the turn. Let's hope the NTSB report includes all communications with the controller that he had at KSMX.

  5. Oh my dear Lord please don't tell me this student pilot was taking selfies and hand-held video recordings during his fatal accident flight.

    1. in an incredibly slick complex aircraft. Can't fault Cirrus for having a ballistic chute and selling this to a seemingly competent adult. Student pilot 40+ in this rocket sled (Sr-22 not Sr-20 as the headline claims). What could go wrong?

    2. The FAA registration shows N883PJ as an SR20. Flight school was leasing it from the owner under typical LLC-held ownership arrangement. Accident pilot did not own the plane.

  6. You can't make this shit up -
    "He's slippery. He's sneaky. And he is running a fraud! Meet fraudster Tigran Garabedyan"....

  7. One more slick 'businessman' who took selfies and didn't treat aviation with any respect.
    Look at me, Look at me.

    1. Maybe he was a good guy, medical doctor helping others, father of two young kids, manifesting his childhood dream of flight, and evidencing a normal level of testosterone for a 38-year-old male . . . who happened to screw up precisely at the worst time.

      There but for the grace of God went I, 35 years ago.

    2. This fellow was a doctor of osteopathy - DO; not a medical doctor. Not that we don't read about medical doctors on here too, but it does feel a bit like he was putting quite a bit of emphasis on the coolness factor with all the selfies and images of the airplane. Seems less likely that someone would be taking self-portraits 35 years ago when you perhaps had a similar number of hours in the air. Times change, I guess and I suppose we've all made stupid decisions that we've used as learning experiences precisely because said decisions didn't result in our demise.

    3. DO degrees are recognized by state medical licensing boards. He went through medical residency and was an emergency room doctor.

  8. A panel picture above said it all - 45 degree bank, 700 FPM decent rate. It does not look good and the student pilot still took the picture instead of flying the aircraft.

    1. I wonder if the student pilot has stored video flights, photos, documentation in the cloud.

    2. Very easy to find his Instagram postings.

  9. Casual attitude toward flying the aircraft and inadequate training.
    Lack of operational oversight of the flight instructor(s), formal safety program for the student pilot, proper protocol and overall flight safety.

  10. Yelp reviews are an interesting read....
    "Dishonest and poorly run company. Booked a 3 lesson program and requested a specific Cirrus SR20 with the avionics that I plan to fly;
    Showed up on day of first lesson. Informed on-site that the Cirrus SR20 I requested is down for maintenance but that another Cirrus SR20 with different lower grade avionics is available. Agreed to fly that plane.
    Ask the instructor how much experience he has on Cirrus aircraft. He responds 5 hours total. Makes me nervous but I still agree to go forward with the lesson.
    We go to the simulator for some initial training before flying. The instructor can not get the simulator to work. I suggest we go straight to the plane.
    We get to the Cirrus SR20 and the door won't open. I suggest to the instructor that he uses the key which he hadn't thought of. Door is still somewhat stuck, but with key it opens.
    We attempt to start the engine. Won't start. Later, school explains that the instructor did not know the "hot start" procedure.
    We finally get the engine started but the plane has no fuel so we stop at the fuel pump to fill-up.
    After filling, the plane won't start again and instructor states that he will need to tow it back to the school's tie-down area.
    I get out, lesson obviously not happening.
    I send an email to Alex Abbassi the head guy at Encore and request a refund, primarily based on the lack of experience of the instructor assigned to me. Alex agrees to refund.
    No refund shows up and I check-in with Alex. He states that refund has been processed. Still no refund shows up.
    I contest the charge on my credit card. Encore states to credit card company that I did not request a refund.
    Today, I am sending to the credit card company prints of all of the email strings with Encore clearing stating that they have agreed to a refund and that they have processed the refund--which it is now clear they didn't.

    Think twice before you trust this company with your life."

  11. Apparently he didn't even know enough to be stupid.

    1. The CFI is 100% responsible of a student pilot and is in charge of people's lives, hence why the checkride is so difficult. As I learn to be a CFI myself I see the stupid and insipid teaching I was subjected to vs the ideals of fundamental of instructing and proper ethics a teacher should display taking people's hard earned money.
      The practice are Puppy mills only interested in cranking CFIs who rack hours to work for the airlines once they hit 1500 hrs.
      Some DPEs refuse to work with puppy mills schools like A... and the like because of almost criminal pressure they face to pass 250 hrs "CFI"s that are sometimes half the age of the students they teach and who have never done any real actual flying in actual conditions besides a few rehearsed X-countries and the rest in the traffic pattern. This is ridiculous.
      Those "CFI" barely pass the checkride and don't teach but rather milk unsuspecting students of $$$ and to make as much flight time to the magical 1500 hrs to get an ATP.
      This is fraud pure and simple. The FAA shouldn't turn a blind eye and those who become CFIs without much motivation to teach shall be punished.
      I hope this one CFI who endorsed this guy is taken to the cleaners in civil court and that the FAA immediately suspends all his ratings and certificates through an emergency order and swoops down on the school to investigate their practices.

    2. The flight school records will be able to show that the appropriate amount of instruction was provided.

      Meanwhile, the accident pilot Instagram videos from his first solo flight are still out there and very easy to find, so the school's attorney should have stored copies by now.

      One student's stall/spin crash is not gonna cause swoop and decertify, in spite of decreasing standards of qualification and instruction, just as you have described them.

    3. As an older CFI, I had a few thoughts on this. First, I am not the PIC for a flight my student is flying solo with a student pilot certificate, medical, and proper endorsements. I am supervising the training. I don't solo students until all the required training is provided and they demonstrate to me they can fly and land the plane safely without any help or input from me. But still, there comes a day in the life of every pilot when they go by themselves, once the plane leaves the ground, they have to fly it and land it. I stand there and watch, but am powerless to do anything else, lol.

      I have been fortunate to have not had any student accidents thus far, but this case is the CFI nightmare scenario. As for instructor liability, the courts have generally not held CFI liable if the proper training has been provided, ect.

      As for this case, primary training in a high performance aircraft? Certainly doable, but I would imagine a lot more lengthy training time and dual before I signed someone off for solo. Things happen a lot faster at speed than in the usual trainer, very easy to get behind the airplane as well as the automation. But with proper instruction should not have been a problem.
      Will be interesting to see students experience in this aircraft, CFI comments, other CFI comments if he flew with other CFIs.
      The selfie taking drives me nuts. I dont permit it in my airplane during training. If they want to take some pictures, I will take the airplane and fly it while they spectate, after the phone or camera is put away, we can get back to work.
      MarcPilot: It is great that you are working towards the CFI, there is nothing more rewarding than taking someone from zero hours to first solo, passing a checkride, advanced ratings and then at some point in the future hear they got their first job at an airline. I am glad you see the responsibility the FAA will bestow upon you. Yes, unfortunately there are time builder CFI's out there, but becoming a great teacher in the world you have control over will turn out better pilots.

  12. A bit late deploying the chute.

  13. Remember people and wannabe student pilots... just because a field is heavily regulated don't trust it to be devoid of dishonesty, fraud and neglect... the things that will kill you in Aviation.
    I saw airplane owners defrauded by repair shops and shoddy work done or equipment stolen and replaced with subpar components under the hood with falsified logbook entries, and I saw flight schools careless and renting planes with no insurance coverage covering renters because run by convicted felons who were refused any sort of coverage so resorted to the traditional "lease-back" scheme.
    I wouldn't be surprised if this plane was not insured for commercial usage and 100% of the coverage would need to come from a renter's policy which generally has low limits and is supposed to be an overflow, not the primary insurance.
    The best way to learn flying is to find a veteran CFI with decades of experience with a passion for teaching and stick and rudder skills and a tailwheel experience. The later is a dead giveway for a competent CFI who has passion for the craft.
    Then get your own used C172 in good mechanical shape and learn with that guy. To be a good apprentice you need a good master.
    Those are my words based on my personal experience.

  14. His actual knowledge and understanding of stalls and spins characteristics in the Cirrus should have been crucial/imperative. As well as consistent flight training hours, academic knowledge, and study diligence. I am suspicious... if the investigators find the student workbooks in pristine and unused, and the instructor's signoffs being possibly done in a single sitting - same ink, possibly even after this fatal accident.

  15. Everybody knows that stall/spin during downwind turn base to final happens to a lot of pilots. Can you be bold and bank harder in the pattern because the CAPS chute will save you from stall/spin? Maybe it would be good to read the manufacturers instruction before presuming that its okay to go "Top Gun" if you need to in the pattern.

    Cirrus SR20 POH 11934-002 includes info on chute response if you pull it soon enough after a spin starts: (bold emphasis added)

    "The minimum demonstrated altitude loss for a CAPS deployment from a one-turn spin is 920 feet. Activation at higher altitudes provides enhanced safety margins for parachute recoveries. Do not waste time and altitude trying to recover from a spiral/spin before activating CAPS. "

    Product marketing likes to show the excellent CAPS videos for engine loss in level flight. Pilots who are training in Cirrus aircraft need to also be shown the video of that 920 foot spin deployment demonstration test as part of learning the limits of the aircraft. Might add some caution to aggressive control input at low speed/low altitude.

  16. All those discussions blaming the student pilot are pointless. Regardless of his behavior the Pilot in Command is his CFI and entirely responsible for the solo endorsements that testify the CFI was deeming the student pilot competent to operate the aircraft safely and within acceptable risk levels.
    Obviously this was broken so the FAA is probably interrogating the CFI as we read this to seek grounds for an immediate revocation of the certificate.
    This is why as a CFI I will take my responsibility pretty seriously when I endorse a student for a solo.

  17. And I agree if proper instruction and due diligence was done the CFI will be cleared. But this is about as basic a mistake that the pilot did... no IMC, no weather, simple pattern work. Unless a terrible mechanical problem arose it will be hard to prove there wasn't a deficiency in training. As the post criticizing the school said the CFI that the one posting the review got had... 5 hrs in a SR2x series???
    That doesn't bode well on the civil liability side.

  18. I agree with most of the previous postings. I appears that the student placed his social media presence as a pilot, above that of actually being a pilot. One of the photos shows a 45 degree bank angle with a 700fpm decent AND a 10 degree nose up on attitude the Art Horiz: I wonder what the Air Speed Ind was showing while all this, including the photography was going on.

    Aviation is a Self Cleaning Oven.

  19. Instagram is tigran2009 showing video/selfies/pics flying the cirrus.

  20. My personal opinion is related to the PTS for CFI's... namely the ability of a CFI to recognize hazardous attitudes in a student regarding ADM. If the aero decision making of the student is deficient in regards to anti-authority, invulnerability, impulsivity, macho or resignation, then he CFI shall not endorse the student and seek a second opinion too if necessary.
    Again the fault is squarely on the shoulders of the CFI on this one.
    No one said being a CFI is a walk in the park towards the 1500 hrs ATP mark, and sadly the ones that think it's just a time builder are about to find out what it means to be responsible for a student's life at their detriment as they explore the meanders of the civil legal system years after the fact and prey their insurance can cover the duty to defend and cost of a settlement.

  21. What's up with the two pictures, showing 45* banks and 600-700fpm descent? Looks like there is a pictures of both a left bank and right bank.

    The left bank one shows ~20% nose up. That doesn't seem right, wonder if the artificial horizon wasn't set properly.

    1. Gyro horizon works without any lag, but a standard VSI like that one will have some lag before catching up. Need to have more than a one moment in time snapshot to see the effect.

    2. "That doesn't seem right, wonder if the artificial horizon wasn't set properly."

      Typical student error...not checking AH setting...CFI failed to correct the error!

      "Gyro horizon works without any lag" millisecond it appears to be a setting error.

      "VSI like that one will have some lag before catching up."

      For small delta's...500 milliseconds lag...large delta's 6-9 seconds.

      So if you're in a 45 degree turn indicating 700fpm you are in that turn already 6-9 seconds and are ready to die!

      A constant-altitude turn with 45 degrees of bank imposes 1.4 Gs, and a turn with 60 degrees of bank imposes 2 Gs.

      If you don't feel those G's you need to look at the slide/slip ball and VSI in a big hurry!
      Experience pilots just feel the G's and know perfection turns!

      What we see here is typical student error in making turns...insufficient back pressure entering and maintaining a turn.
      This will be used in the NTSB report...clearly indicates student wasn't proficient turning in type aircraft.
      Instructor doesn't want to see 700 fpm in any turn, we are looking for 0 and accept +/-200fpm without correction, beyond 200 we correct the behavior immediately each and every time!
      This is exactly how students stall in a turn and unfortunately when vsi indicates down in the turn, the plane will roll inverted to the outside of the turn...not the inside of the turn.
      Not only does the Ailerons and Rudder need to be coordinated so does the Horizontal stabilizer by applying appropriate back pressure to the yoke.

      In this case it is additional proof of causation of the crash.

      This fellow terminated flight crash photo above and video prove that para shoot was pulling out bottom of air frame in video before impact (of course bottom if inverted which is reality the top)...which pulled the plane into a real nice arc terminating almost perpendicular to the ground...normally the shoot would have pulled the top and nose up with a more linear 45 degree angle of termination.!

      My bet is how many times he rolled it before guess is at least once which is average for this student scenario!!

      Instructors should never allow students more then 30 degrees in the traffic pattern ever and no more then 15 degrees during first solo.
      IOW It's a big pattern with plenty of wiggle room!

      This will help explain specific to the SR22.

      I don't agree with it a 100%...but it's good enough for today...

      Fly Safe and be Well...

    3. I truly believe that anyone who decides to become a pilot should join the AMA (academy of model aeronautics) and first fly R/C aircraft for about 2 years then start training for full scale aircraft. You learn the basic fundamentals of flight, just read the stories of the best pilots from the past they all played with model airplanes.

  22. Another human sacrifice to the gods of social media.

  23. Before crashing, he flew an incorrect (500 feet too high) pattern altitude at his destination airport during a cross country solo.

    Pre-departure interaction with the CFI should have included a review of his planning for that solo. Field elevation is easy to find and it is simple to pre-plan the MSL altitude for a 1000' AGL pattern, but he got it wrong.

    It appears that more training was needed. If inattention to details was demonstrated during ground school or dual flight, solo endorsement should not have been given.

  24. Look at me look at me look at me! Look at my photos on Facebook and give me thumbs up! Social media is killing people. I'm just glad this moron didn't go into an occupied house that was all around that school as seen from one of the home's security cameras out front capturing the crash.

  25. Ring camera video was weird? You hear the crash before you see the plane come in for impact, not a computer guy, but seemed backwards, maybe the way it records/time lag???

    1. What you where hearing prior to impact was possibly the rocket from the ballistic chute.

  26. Ring is slow;
    Nest is best!

  27. In a Cirrus - or any airplane, for that matter - you just can't focus on anything else other than flying the airplane.
    In a Cirrus, you're either ahead of the aircraft or dead.

  28. Lots of red flags on this guy. Filming while taxing, questionable other things, and taking pictures on short final, etc. He had no business flying alone, period. This guy was way over his head in a Cirrus.

  29. Compared to a Piper Arrow, the staple of commercial pilot training prior to the untimely demise of one in Florida losing its wings... on a touch and go, the Cirrus is a fixed gear airplane no different than a C182 or Cherokee 235 in my experience of ferry flights long distance.
    As a trainer it was selected by Luftansa for their pilot academy as it replicates an Airbus sidestick and advanced avionics and no more difficult to fly than a C172 if one is properly trained. Same applies to tailwheel aircrafts used as trainer like the Taylorcraft or Piper Cub.
    The issue here is I am wondering why the CFI endorsed someone who was obviously firing off social media feeds all around. Or didn't make any efforts to explain a little bit more clearly the CFRs and the AIM sections detailing sterile cockpit requirements and need for little distraction during critical phases of flight i.e risk management 101.
    Either way and whatever people comment on here the FAA looks severely at any CFI who lost a student shortly after endorsing them. I hope he was a diligent documenting his lessons and lesson plans with said student and not just pencil wiped a solo xc after just a couple of solo flights by the student.
    A solo XC is even more so a big deal than a first solo for so many reasons hard to enumerate on here but basically it is where the CFI considers the student proficient enough to do flight planning, preflight and execution at the stage where the successful outcome is never in doubt.

    1. Well, Marc, you nailed it: NTSB prelim report is out, says:"The accident flight was the student pilot's third solo flight, and second cross country."

      Who sends a student on their first XC after only one solo flight?

    2. And the report says "They had flown the same route as the accident flight at least twice together, and the student pilot flew it once on his own about one week prior to the accident."

      There should be no reason to climb 500 feet higher than the correct pattern altitude if the accident flight was the third time through that exact trip. Maybe they can look at ADS-B FROM his first XC on that same route and see how that one went.

    3. The "CFI that just got this stupid certificate to accumulate the hours for his ATP and will leave the school in 5 milliseconds when he hist 1500 hrs" struck again...
      I hate to be wrong like that but basic 101 PTS standard stuff ignored. Up there with some other accident report where such a type of CFI let their plane chew up the rear end of another plane on the tarmac while with a student, both eyes down on kneepads while taxiing (another violation of PTS standards regarding ground operations).
      Yeah people are social animals and today being social means social networking... but accusing the starry eyed and ambitious student of bad behavior when subjected to such an bad faith act of teaching is even more disgusting given the poor fellow died and can't even defend himself. RIP

    4. Just because a CFI is building time doesn't mean the training is substandard. Though I don't know if I'd take a student pilot with a Cirrus. When all is said and done, the pilot didn't fly the airplane.

  30. And maybe the CFI flew with the student on the same route to fulfill the LEGAL requirements per CFR but that only shows the lack of passion/interest and a casual attitude towards teaching. There's quite a bit of difference between LEGAL and SAFE. Per basic 101 ADM.
    I will be curious how this develops.

  31. Mmmmh, all this talk about the CFI's (legal) responsibilities makes me wonder how infantile and irresponsible grown men(?) really are, the student I mean.
    If flying a heavy machine at high speeds in three dimensions doesn't make you careful and want to understand and focus on everything that goes on, such as physics, aircraft systems, weather etc, well, then I don't know what to do.
    How does one teach someone who one day wants to be in control (as in PIC) of something complex, fast-paced and unforgiving who is not fully engaged and wanting to soak everything there is to learn and able to reflect about and learn of their own mistakes during that process but only play around and show off? Not that flying can't be full of joy and fun and play, but safely only once one comprehends, not just copies rote.
    Perhaps the only true solution is to cancel further training once that behavior becomes obvious as besides some substantial behavioral change/therapy, which clearly is not within the scope of instruction, there probably is not much that will, well, change.
    If by adulthood one hasn't learned to listen or to even recognize by oneself when (even fun) things are complex and potentially dangerous, to take it all in to really comprehend and to ask questions if anything is not clear, then what can a CFI or any teacher really do besides calling it off?
    The same is probably true for many aspects of life and politics.

    My $0.02

    1. ^^ I think this right here is it in the shell of a nut - if this guy had no idea and/or didn't want/care to understand what he was getting himself into then the only thing the instructor could have done was tell him to come back when he's serious. Perhaps he should have recommended a 6 week course of Kathryn's Report three times a day so that reading about these kinds of things might impress upon him that concentrating on flying is what matters, not how many likes you're getting from your instragram followers. Not much anyone can do about someone who just doesn't want to understand what's going on and pay attention to the big picture as well as the details. One's life depends upon it, chute or no chute.

    2. Hahaha, "a 6 week course of Kathryn's Report three times a day", that's a great idea!

  32. Actually good CFIs are trained to recognized potential hazardous attitudes in students and discontinue training for those deemed hazardous. Most laymen think it is like driving ie hand the student driver the keys after a few lessons and have fun.
    In reality it is a harsh process of training someone to understand and care for the fact all it takes is one mistake to mean death.
    There's no trial and error. And the CFI although having no control over a solo student, say because the dude wants to off himself because of a recent breakup, needs to use good judgement to not dispense this endorsement like a candy for halloween.
    The NTSB report clearly nails it... 3rd solo and a X-country? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
    That's all to it.

  33. I recently saw a statistical study of Cirrus accidents (done by the company) and in the fatals either the chute was not deployed or deployed too late ... the ones who deployed immediately were something like 93% survived ...

    1. I found the statistics video but link does not work here so google "Are Planes With Parachutes Really Safer?" and look for a 13:44 minute video ... very informative

    2. Gliding, wings level flight provides the best result from CAPS deployment. Can't expect to react fast enough when a turn becomes a stall/spin at 1000' AGL in the pattern. You would need to pull the chute before the turn began, which you would not do because you would not know the stall was coming.

    3. The focus on pulling the chute is such that insurance companies will waive the deductible if pulled and it is also taught to be done at the slightest issue i.e night engine failure or engine failure in IMC or engine failure away from glide distance of an airport.
      That would also include be on the ready to pull it immediately on base and final. Even at 300 AGL it can still provide some degree of speed reduction. Full effect at 600'.
      Maybe in the future it would be helpful to have a simple automated system that would activate it if below 1000' but also in an unusual attitude or a fast turn indicative of a spin. The amount of false activations would be negligible vs. the lives saved. If 2 AHRS' agree that the plane is 60 degrees of bank at 40 knots and 900' I think time to activate it regardless of what the pilot wants...

    4. MarcPilot, and many of the CFIs here, thanks for your knowledgeable and concise comments that I (think) learned a lot of, that's why I come here.
      On a side note - you experienced pilots/CFIs seem to disagree how responsible this guy's CFI shall be held by the FAA (and courts), lots of statements/opinions but only some explaining/corroborating facts, that's the only think I wasn't happy about as I then can't really learn from that. What exactly are these opinions then based upon? Doesn't the C in CFI mean that there are regulations one has to go by?

      Another thing: would spin training/demonstration during the private ticket be a good idea (again), I believe in the US it was required at some time and in Canada until much later (or still is?), not sure about many other countries. Obviously not all GA trainers are safe to do it in and some schools/CFIs may not have access to a "safe" one.
      Not only to train how to avoid (and recover from) an incipient stall/spin, but to really show how easy to get there, surprising, confusing, fast and unrecoverable at low altitude it will be and to drive home (as in "a picture is worth a thousand words" or in "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.") that it is very different from a wings level stall we all train for and to never ever stray into that territory at low altitude.
      I had a whiff of it in a C172 (which with two people barely wanted to even enter a spin) at altitude during my training and it was enough to create the necessary respect.

    5. If you want more elaborate discussions go here:

      I am a CFI in training. It is the hardest ticket one can expect. It is hard and for a reason.

      Only a CFI can teach flight and flying and there's a mountain of regulations to obey by and common sense to exercise to.

      Aviation is hard work and hard liability too. Also what you do in your life outside of any aviation work can also haunt you. Be in bar brawl as an ATP and get convicted for a criminal infraction... bye bye airline job. Lie on any of your medical application by failing to report a condition, and say collect disability on the side because of it, 5 years in jail and 250k of fines in the federal slammer. Those are not traffic infractions if something bad happen but facing a federal judge if the FAA decides to refer the case to the DOJ. The FAA can be your best friend or your best enemy depending on your compliance with the rules... written in blood as the adage says.

      A pilot is really a lawyer, a psychologist and a meteorologist... and last in that hierarchy comes manipulating the controls of this thing we call an aircraft, which still needs to be done with good skills.

    6. The previous anonymous post on CFI responsibility asked what regulations one has to go by. Also asked about spin training.

      Find Part 61 regulations here:

      Or go direct:

      Spin training - Any pilot can go get upset/stall/spin recovery training. Train for that where full aerobatics is offered using properly maintained, spin-certified aircraft if you want to become really proficient in your spin training.

    7. Oh a 172 will spin just fine, put it in a power on stall and at the buffet push the left rudder to the floor, hold it there, and see what happens. Was up teaching that just the other day.

  34. I see several dots connected here: a CFI who allowed a non-sterile cockpit environment (selfies during instruction--really?), and who may have over-estimated his student's progress, and a student with a casual attitude towards his training. While the loss of his life is tragic, we should be thankful that the accident didn't hurt anyone on the ground, and that this guy didn't eventually earn his PPL, only to make a similar mistake with his family on board.

  35. The 1st picture at the top should have the text revised to read;

    "Here's how I went in"

  36. No flat spin there .. he augured straight in nose down inverted.
    Very sad .. RIP

  37. 3rd solo and 2nd cross-country solo means his 2nd solo is a cross-country solo flight.

    What kind of CFI put their students on a cross -country solo as their 2nd solo flight?

    1. A reluctant CFI...

  38. Looking at the ground track on FlightAware, it appears he overshot the centerline on his turn from base to final. It is a very common (and often fatal) mistake to try to save the approach by banking sharply and kicking in some opposite rudder to try to align with the runway, which can easily lead to a cross-control stall. A cross-control stall at a high bank angle can occur well above the normal stall speed, and will often cause the nose to pitch down, the inside wing to suddenly drop, and the airplane may continue to roll to an inverted position. This aligns pretty well with the videos showing the plane in a rapid inverted decent. Of course, the best thing to do as an inexperienced pilot when you overshoot the centerline on your base to final turn is just go around, but the pilot may have been reluctant to go around a second time.

    (Interesting coincidence: At first, I accidentally looked up N833PJ instead of N883PJ on flightaware and that plane's last flight was in the opposite of this one: from SMX to VNY!)