Cessna introduced the SkyCatcher, a light sport plane, at Oshkosh this year, but it is not yet ready for market. Cessna had two prototypes, but both have been destroyed during flight testing. An aviation week article alerted me to the events of the second flight test accident.
It sounds like a pretty harrowing flight. The test pilot deliberately put the airplane into a spin "during a planned test condition" which I assume, possibly incorrectly, relates to a particular centre of gravity and weight combination. The entry would also have included a particular combination of flaps, power and attitude, inducing a stall with yaw, leading to a spin. The resulting spin was particularly rapid, and the proper control inputs did not cause the airplane to recover from the spin, so the test pilot activated the aircraft parachute.
It deployed correctly, and the airplane stopped spinning, so the test pilot then tried out another function of the new aircraft design: the ability to jettison the parachute and return to normal flying. But that function didn't work. Being a test pilot, he was wearing a personal parachute, too, but by the time he opened the door to use that, there wasn't enough altitude for it to open, so he landed, uninjured, with the parachuting airplane.
I'm intrigued by the NTSB investigator's statement that "surface winds inflated the parachute and drug the airplane." In
standard my dialect of English, the past tense of drag is dragged but this writer has chosen "drug." I wonder if that is a regionalism.
The whole story is not a great ad for the SkyCatcher, but things going wrong in testing is why testing is necessary, and why you shouldn't fly your airplane in a non-certified condition.
And in the "ideas to save money" category, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority is talking about closing the Buttonville airport. Yes, they are considering closing the general aviation airport that keeps training, medevac and business flights out of Pearson, the busiest airport in Canada.