A Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Cirrus Aircraft was not responsible in the fatal crash of an SR22 in 2003.
Pilot Gary Prokop and passenger James Kosak were killed when the Cirrus SR22 they were flying crashed in marginal VMC. The pilot was working on his instrument rating, but was still only VFR.
The families of the two men sued Cirrus claiming the aircraft manufacturer had failed to properly train them in the correct use of the autopilot if they entered non-visual conditions. In 2009, a lower court agreed with this contention and awarded $14.4 million in damages against Cirrus.
This was overturned by an appeal court in 2009, which ruled that Cirrus had no obligation to provide proficiency training for pilots. The families went to the Minnesota Supreme Court asking for the original ruling to be reinstated, but the court voted 4-2 to uphold it.
Justice Barry Anderson wrote: “The duty to warn has never before required a supplier or manufacturer to provide training, only accurate and thorough instructions on the safe use of the product, as Cirrus has done here.”