CAPS-What are you going to do?

CAPS, otherwise known as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, is a Parachute System which had been the heart of all Cirrus Aircraft since 1999. Cirrus Aircraft have been built around the CAPS system, to ensure it’s the safest General Aviation Aircraft on the Market, which it has proven to be.

So, why CAPS? In 1985, one of the original owners of Cirrus (Alan K) survived a mid-air collision, after he collided with another aircraft on a Base to Final turn, Alan, lost 3 feet of his wing, the other aircraft entered a spin, the occupant was killed on impact. After this Experience the brothers decided to develop an Aeroplane around the CAPS System, thus, the Cirrus SR20, then SR22 and recently the SF50.

CAPS is quite a simple System: image

1-The Rocket, is launched after the Red CAPS Handle is pulled (located above the center storage compartment).

2-The Parachute follows the Rocket, initially slowing the Aircraft down.

3-The aeroplane enters a Nose-Down attitude.

4-The Reefer ring, slides down the Lines, allowing the Parachute to fully deploy. (The Reefer ring is in-place to ensure the initial moments after the CAPS Deployment are as smooth as possible, if the parachute was to fully open initially, it would rip of the Airframe)

After the SR20 was released, the Fatal accidents in the Cirrus where above average. Much like the Ejection Seat, Pilots where hesitant or wouldn’t use the CAPS due to the ‘I don’t need a Parachute’ state of mind. After Cirrus gave Pilots the proper training, the Fatal accident rates dropped dramatically. But unfortunately, to date, there are still Cirrus Pilots, who refuse to use the CAPS.

And still today, there have been no fatal accidents due to the Deployment of CAPS within the published requirements.

So, in the event of a Forced Landing, why would you use CAPS?

-Unless you have studied every single field in the world, and have checked that it’s suitable to land an Aeroplane in, a Forced Landing is not ensured to be survivable.

-Why would you want to die with a perfectly good parachute behind you?

-You won’t be classed as a ‘Better Pilot’ because you took an unnecessary risk.

So, your flying along, Engine Failure at 1000ft. What do you do? Do you pull CAPS or no.

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate, at 1000ft, there is a very small amount of time to make a decision.

Field, Troubleshoot, CAPS.

Any questions on CAPS, ask away :)


Well, it depends on where you are. If you’re in a place that’s covered in trees then I would pull it. But if there’s a safe landing place I would go for the landing.


I take it you can Ensure that the Aircraft won’t Cartwheel on impact? Don’t take the unnecessary risk.


I think it will depends on the current situation. Weather, speed etc.
But of course I will pull it if I thinkI will not make it.


Also, the plane it basically gonna be trashed. Not that it matters or anything because you would probably have insurance but still.

The Aeroplane, doesn’t matter in this situation. Don’t die with a perfectly good Parachute sat right behind you :)

I would definitley use the parachute if it came to that. You’re life is worth more than your ego.

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That’s what I like to hear.

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Well I would over the woods, field, etc, but in a populated aria dropping through the roof of a Chick-Fill-a is hardly better than trying to glide it to a field a hundred yards farther…

As with a lot of things, depends of circumstances… 🤷🏻‍♂️


If you can’t Land Clear, your illegal, in the UK anyway. At 1000ft, I say good luck, would rather deploy CAPS, better then colliding into the side of a Building. Fields in a populated area aren’t that common, if there is one aim for it and deploy CAPS above the field.

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I’m more saying that I think it’s best that you do a once over of you’re surroundings to make sure there isn’t a better option that dropping whare you are…

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Oh yeah, of course. Field, Troubleshoot, CAPS.

Obviously at 1000ft probably not got a chance to troubleshoot.

I want to try that. Lol.

But really. I would deploy CAPS if I were over a non-populated area.

What would your alternative be to pulling CAPS?

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CAPS is an amazing feature, but i can’t imagine the rush youd get from flying an aircraft (or stalling) to a slowly decscending parachute

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so when I fly I am always looking for a place to land if my engine was to fail. I generally am not 1000 ft unless I am coming in for landing. So I probably would not pull the parachute

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What happens if it doesn’t work out?

You would regret it.

And I hope all Pilots are doing this, shouldn’t be flying if your not, well, obviously, at FL360 it won’t do you much good XD

I’m pulling the chute! IMC or VFR if I’m above 1,000 feet I’m pulling it. I’m going to find my best landing spot and aim for it in the time and altitude given

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I am pretty sure this was more designed for if you put yourself into a spin as with a cirrus it is more difficult to recover from a spin than your engine failing. and if your engine fails its not like your going to fall straight down from the sky. you are still going to fly. You might not want to use it and you fly the plane because you can try and manuver away from buildings if you are coming down and I would imagine it would be harder to do it if you have your parachute open. (note I do not fly a cirrus)