Maker of Small Plane Defends Safety Record

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Cirrus SR20 plane involved in Wednesday's fatal crash in Bolingbrook is fast, light and incredibly popular with pilots. But the model has been involved in a number of recent accidents, according to federal records. NBC5 Investigates' Chris Coffey reports. (Published Thursday, Sep 26, 2013)

    The Cirrus SR20 plane involved in Wednesday's fatal crash in Bolingbrook is fast, light and incredibly popular with pilots. But the model has been involved in a number of recent accidents, according to federal records.

    The National Transportation Safety Board reports the SR20 was involved in 26 accidents nationally since 2009. Among those crashes, eight were fatal, in which twenty people died. The number includes a 2011 crash in Crystal Lake that killed four people on board.

    A spokesperson for Cirrus told NBC 5 Investigates the Cirrus is one of the safest planes to fly. The planes are equipped with an airframe parachute system.

    The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association conducted research which shows the Cirrus parachute system saved 36 planes and 76 lives since 2009.

    It's not yet known if the plane involved in Wednesday's crash deployed its parachute.

    Ron Mark is a commercial pilot and flight instructor who says the SR20 is comfortable and flies great. The plane is also equipped with high-tech navigation equipment.

    Mark also instructs students to fly the SR20.

    "An inexperienced pilot could be lulled into a false sense of security when all the electronics and the auto-pilot are working and they're just kind of sitting back, watching what's going on," Mark said.

    The Cirrus spokesperson said the company is saddened and frustrated by the accident in Bolingbrook.