Say your engine fails at 10000 ft above acres of Nebraska cornfields. It’s nighttime and two options come to mind. I can glide and use a soft-field landing technique on a cushion of cornstalks or deploy CAPS.

Most of the 30000 or so Cirrus pilots have trained on non-Cirrus airplanes and were drilled to glide to a safe off-airport landing when an engine fails. This whole concept is thrown right out the window when the Cirrus Transition course begins with CAPS deployment as the one and only decision in 99-percent of cases. Even with demonstrations of its effectiveness and admonitions to use it, CAPS is still a hard pill to swallow for some of these transitioned pilots when crap hits the fan.

This particular Cirrus pilot recognized an engine failure above the cornfield and deployed CAPS. His stricken bird landed gently and safely with no injuries to the occupants. I will offer a much different and likely deadly outcome had he elected to choose option one.

CAPS—use it or lose it. Your life that is.

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