Cirrus Releases Statement About Plane Crash That Killed Company’s Longtime Engineer

Dave Rathbun Cirrus Aircraft 002

Courtesy: Cirrus

DULUTH, Minn. —  Cirrus Aircraft released a statement to FOX 21 Monday involving the death of their longtime employee, David Rathbun, who died in a plane accident Friday in Duluth’s St. Louis River.


Courtesy: Daniel Rathbun

“Dave Rathbun, Vision Jet Chief Engineer, was involved in a fatal aircraft accident while on a personal flight Friday afternoon in a privately-owned 2016 Cirrus SR22. He was flying solo in the aircraft at the time and was the only person involved. We are in close contact with the Rathbun family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

His passing is a profound loss for the Cirrus family. His presence and character will be missed, but his legacy will be indelible. A key contributor throughout his 26 years at Cirrus Aircraft, Dave played a crucial role in the early design and certification of the SR20.  Following similar work on the SR22 and SR22T, Dave was instrumental in the development and successful entry into service of the SF50 Vision Jet.

Cirrus Aircraft personnel are fully engaged in supporting all appropriate authorities in the investigation. With respect to those involved, and as the initial investigation begins, we will not comment on the accident details or speculate about the accident’s cause.”

Sr22 2

Cirrus media stock photo of an SR22 plane.

According to David’s brother, Daniel, he was a “brilliant” engineer. “David was instrumental in the design of the Cirrus single engine private jet that recently won the coveted “Collier Aviation” award,” Daniel said in a social media post.

According to, the plane David took off from the Duluth International Airport Friday afternoon before abruptly crashing around 4 p.m. – just minutes after takeoff.

“Help us with a prayer for my family. David was indeed a gifted mover and shaker in the aviation world and will be horribly missed,” Daniel said.

A cause is being investigated by the FAA and NTSB.

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