I have a friend whom I should thank for making me a better pilot. He’s one of those safety conscience kind of guys with good tricks for better piloting. For instance since he drilled it into me I don’t think I’ve ever taken off without immediately thinking “if my engine dies right now where am I going” (sorry to previous instructors who certainly taught me similar habits I never took to 100%).
He sent me a video in email recently about a subject he always promotes; using Ballistic Parachutes in General Aviation Aircraft. The video is actually of an air-show RANS S-9 Chaos but it does make the point clear that without the chute in this situation all in the aircraft probably would have perished. It doesn’t take much from that to see how a number of rare aircraft situations could benefit from similar technology. In fact I’m saddened by the thought of a twin engine aircraft crash just the other day at Long Beach (KLGB) and dare to wonder if something like this could have helped there.
I’ll have to do some research but I’ve heard the numbers $25-30K thrown around in terms of cost of retrofitting a average four place GA aircraft. That certainly does seem like quite a bit of money but I suppose that is only if you never need to use it.
I have to admit, in the worst of times, these things look pretty useful.
The original article from the Experimental Aircraft Association can be found following this link http://www.eaa.org/news/2010/2010-08-17_BRS-WingSeparate.asp.