Cirrus Ruled Liable in Fatal Accident; Considers Appeal

Lawyers for Cirrus Design are considering their appeal options in a Minnesota court ruling that found the company negligent in a fatal accident. The pilot of a Cirrus SR22, who was killed in the crash along with his passenger, was found 25 percent negligent. The jury found Cirrus and the University of North Dakota 75 percent liable. The jury believed that the pilot had not received the level of training he had been promised and the lack of instrument flight training was determined to be a direct factor in the crash.

Weather at the departure airport for the night flight was reported as 2,800 feet overcast, but witnesses at the crash site reported that the sky was clear and moonlit. One witness observed the SR22 flying level at approximately 100 feet above treetops, apparently following a road. The 47-year-old private pilot had received a high-performance endorsement and a VFR-only completion certificate from his training course one month before the accident. He had logged 248 hours total time, 19 in the Cirrus and 57 hours of instrument time.