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Is wearing a personal chute with a bail-out system acceptably safe compared to an airframe chute?

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Chris In Marshfield

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I thought we were supposed to fly the plane to the crash site. I mean, isn’t that what the majority keeps telling Cirrus owners? :grave:

Jokes aside, I think it would be very valuable to get that kind of training. I haven’t done it but think it would be very enlightening.
 

Riggerrob

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So the jettisoned canopy pulls out the D-bag while the pilot is still in the seat? There's no way anyone could push out of the aircraft between the time the canopy jettisons and the static line gets taught. I'm probably missing something here.
He probably meant “clip the static-line onto the roll-bar or canopy frame.” Many light airplanes clip static-lines to seat-belt anchors.
Then you (escaping pilot) fall to the end of your static line (3 to 10 metres) before it pulls your ripcord pin(s).
 

Riggerrob

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Dear TFF,
Military Specifications and FAA Technical Standard Orders (FAA TSO C23D or later) are based upon pilot emergency parachutes and were later adapted to include skydiving reserve parachutes. IOW PEPs and skydiving reserves are certified to the same standards.
It does not matter whether an emergency parachute canopy is round or square because it still has to open within the same number of feet, the same number of seconds, the same G-force, descend at the same number of feet-per-second, etc.
 
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TFF

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Not an expert or jumper. Over on one of the other sites, there is a pretty experienced group talk about how hard and soft the opening can be and that the emergency ones are a lot more snap to them to get them inflated timely. I don’t know them but through the Internet, you probably actually know them. Top tier jump community seems small. Most seem to have started flying aerobatics as they feel to “ old” to jump. If certification is the same, I would think you would play on tolerances to get different characteristics.
 

Traskel

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in2flight has a great attitude and knowledge base - Please follow his advice and if he were local I would love to learn from him. I'll add a couple of other perceptions from my far less comprehensive experience.

In the late 1980's I took up sport skydiving (the kind where you're not carrying 70 lbs of gear and being shot at...), and in order to afford it while in college I also got the most basic "Static Line Instructor" rating. I had a great time both playing and teaching and a couple of things stand out relative to the original post -

1) Exiting an aircraft that is not modified for skydiving, even in stable level flight, requires more physical effort than you probably imagine. Doing so from an aircraft in an emergency that involves any control issues would be considerably more difficult. Successfully doing so from the latter without ever having exited a plane before - probably not likely.

2) The few hundred people I assisted in exiting a plane for the first time included a few pilots and, without exception in my limited experience, they were the worst students I had in their initial jumps. My guess is that as pilots they are severely trained to fly, not leave, the aircraft so that without some practice to get over their innate programming they really struggled with those first exits.

So, I would encourage you to follow In2flight's excellent guidelines but if you do want to entertain the prospect of tooling for an aircraft emergency exit strategy PLEASE get a dozen skydives under your belt in ideal circumstances so you've got a slim chance of survival. And have Fun!
 

JimCrawford

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Two of my close friends and syndicate partners had to exit our syndicate glider when it clearly had become surplus to requirements after it lost half the port wing in a collision. From conversation with them on the day I learnt two lessons:
They had extreme difficulty getting out of the big open cockpit even with the canopy gone. The G forces of the gyrating aircraft held them into their seats. The front seat pilot managed with great effort to get his legs over the cockpit edge and roll clear. The rear seat pilot, in an even deeper cockpit tub was only then able to exit as all the forces changed. Paraphrasing his story; "I was so low that I would have taken my chances staying with the airframe except that I'd already undone my straps - so I stood up and pulled. Next second I landed next to the wreckage of the glider". Several skydivers at a nearby club were alerted by the sound of the collision and looked up to see the first pilot get out quite low. They were then amazed to see the second pilot's drogue appear as the aircraft descended behind a low hill adjacent to the airfield.

So;
1. It can be extremely difficult to exit the aircraft. The G forces can be great.
2. Both pilots said that they probably wouldn't have made it if they hadn't used the opportunity on rainy days to practice emergency exits onto a mattress on the hangar floor. They had no other jump training.
3. If the aircraft is no further use to you - get out! The insurance company own it now anyway.

Forewarned about the difficulties, decisions thought through ahead of time and practice saved the day.

I also saw the bruises from the parachute straps suffered by the first pilot, I could see where they had been because he had bright technicolour bruises along the strap lines. He said it opened very quickly indeed.
The parachute company refused to repack the parachutes or re-use the harnesses and they hadn't been used under controlled conditions.

I have two small VW powered aircraft as well as a (new!) glider) and I've modified them both so that I can wear a parachute.

Jim
 

opcod

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I'm quite young and it's quite hard just to enter the glider. So in panic, it's quite a joke. At 8kft .. perhaps.. but a crack can happen at 8k and the composite might much more debond much lower. Even at 500ft you will land quite safely. Galaxy , in CZ, where they are quite much more advance, is also quite much better than the brs system.
 

osprey220

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I bought and wore a personal chute during Phase I testing of my Osprey. But now the probable complications of actually being able to bail out of a pusher in a quickly progressing emergency has left me rarely wearing it. An airframe chute would be way better for me in the Osprey.

However, in terms of statistically decreasing injury/fatality and best safety for the money, by far the fist 4 major safety factors would be:
1) Recurrent safety oriented training (unusual attitude recovery, emergency IFR, spin recovery, check lists and personal assessment)
2) Preventive Maintenance and occasionally getting new sets of maintenance eyes on the plane via new mechanics,
3) Seat Belts,
4) Helment!!!!!

The vast majority of fatalities in general aviation are due to head injury. First, be sure to have good safety restraints (shoulder and even better 5-point). But even with good safety restraints, a good aviation helmet is super important and really should be worn. I have always worn one when flying off airport and now have taken to wearing one for general aviation. They are kind of like seat belts. Everyone starts out feeling constrained and awkward, but quickly find that you feel naked without it.

WEAR A HELMET!!!

IMG_5271.jpg
 
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Twodeaddogs

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So the jettisoned canopy pulls out the D-bag while the pilot is still in the seat? There's no way anyone could push out of the aircraft between the time the canopy jettisons and the static line gets taught. I'm probably missing something here.
the idea was that, as the pilot exited the aircraft, the static line went taut and pulled out the drogue. Successful bale outs from Fougas were rare and we never had to do one in Ireland. there were many Fouga operators so there must have been at least one.
 

Twodeaddogs

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There's a video of a rear gunner bailing out of a British bomber that is falling in flames, having been riddled with flak from a German gun at about 50 feet over a harbour wall. he can be seen clearly being pulled out of his turret by the chute and he makes one swing before landing in a pile of lobster pots. Much to the amazement of all concerned, he survived with lots of bruises. All the rest of the crew were killed when the bomber fell into the sea. Later, he said that the first thing he knew about it was a sheet of flame going past the turret so he turned the turret and simultaneously rolled out and pulled the handle. The german gunners were so shocked at his sudden appearance that they stopped firing and pulledhim out of the pile of pots.
 

slociviccoupe

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91.307(c) requires parachutes for all occupants if doing aerobatics with more than one occupant (with certain exceptions). I suspect that this is one of the most-violated/ignored FARs in the books.
Makes sense now my ride in steen aero labs company skybolt when i worked there and went up with the pilot. Both wore chutes. Said only if we loose wings or on fire we bail.
Also said will probably hit tail on way out and back.
But prety much told other instances you fly the plane. If you bail now you have a plane that can endanger others lives.

Also from what ive seen a balistic chute has torn some planes in half and prety much destroy the airframe when deployed.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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Also from what ive seen a balistic chute has torn some planes in half and prety much destroy the airframe when deployed.
Having done the engineering, working closely with BRS, on the CAP installation in three canard aircraft, I'd be very interested in one or more pointers to any incidents where the DEPLOYMENT of the CAP "tore the plane in half and pretty much destroyed the airframe".
 

Gsport

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I haven't seen anyone mention the ability of an inexperienced passenger trying to exit a disabled aircraft.

This is one of the main reasons I went with a whole-plane chute (Galaxy GRS). After watching many videos of ballistic chutes actually being deployed, there were some where it was obvious there would not have been enough time or altitude for a pilot unbuckle, exit and deploy a personal chute, let alone a terrified passenger. Could we live with ourselves, if we left them behind?

Other reasons I chose a whole-plane chute, in addition to the passenger benefit:
1) 8 pounds lighter than 2 personal chutes
2) rocket/rapid opening/low altitude benefit
3) airframe affords some protection on impact
 

TFF

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Sean Tucker just months after having to bail out of his show plane was giving a ride to , I think, his niece. They had to bail. He made sure she went first. Captain is last man aboard. I think they were both fine. I think that is four planes he had to jump from.
 

Cass256

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Thanks for all the info everyone, I think in my application a personal chute probably doesn't make sense. Not only is my plane small and have a very narrow exit, but the lift strut mounts behind the door - In a bail, there's no way in hell I could dodge the strut.

I think I'll look more into an airframe chute, but I'm still stuck on the tail-heavy problem. I like the concept of a wing mounted chute, but I'd rather still have my chute if I lose a wing (or both). It's not that I don't have confidence in the build quality, we all know that stuff just happens and it's better to be prepared.

On that note, has anyone seen a BRS or similar system mounted on a Ridge Runner/Sky Raider/Avid/Kitfox/other clones? I'm struggling with where to attach the tail strap, as well as how the chute leaves the airframe. Short of making a housing with a detachable panel (more weight) and attaching the fabric around this, I'm really not sure how it could work.
 

BJC

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but the lift strut mounts behind the door - In a bail, there's no way in hell I could dodge the strut.
Nothing wrong with an airframe parachute, but I would look at the struts as an extended handhold that I could use to help me pull myself out of the cockpit. If the airplane is spinning or tumbling, or both, you will need something like that. That, of course, assumes that it still is there when you need to exit.


BJC
 

Riggerrob

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Dear BJC,
Take it from an old skydiver - and jump-pilot - using struts to lever your way out of an airplane only works at low Gs and airspeeds slower than 100 knots. It also helps if you are young, light-weight and athletic.
Even if the pilot only jiggles the ailerons ... you are falling off!
If you try something stupid on the strut, an experienced jump-pilot will beat you with the wing until you fall off! ... maybe conscious?????
 

Riggerrob

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Dear cas256,
Exactly which type of airplane are you building?

If it is fabric-covered, you have many more options for installing your BRS. The BRS rocket will blow a hole in your linen, Dacron, Ceconite, Oratex, etc. fabric, then drag out the parachute canopy.

Some models of BRS allow you to install the rocket separate from the parachute canopy. Some even offer soft parachute packs that can be stuffed into a variety of odd corners.
For example, If balance is an issue, you could install only the rocket against the rear cockpit bulkhead (close to the centre of gravity), then install the parachute "soft" pack in a wing root. Join the two with a thick Kevlar "riser." Some BRS manufacturers will sew up custom "risers."
Typically, the parachute "riser" is wrapped around a major structural member: wing spar, cabin roll cage, etc. Many BRS installation kits include 3 or 4 risers to suspend the fuselage near level.

Some BRS deliberately suspend the airplane at some angle other than horizontal. For example, they may hang it tail-low so that the rear fuselage deliberately "crumples" to reduce landing shock to crew. Landing rear-wards also helps press you into your seat while landing/crashing.
These weird landing angles probably explain the above comment about BRS ripping airplanes apart.
If you are having a bad day ... a day bad enough to deploy a BRS ... then all you really need - to survive - is the cockpit roll cage. The rest of the airframe belongs to the insurance company.
Compare a BRS with all the life-saving devices installed in modern automobiles: automatic sear-belts, head-rests, front and side air-bags, crumple zones, etc. All these advancements allow passengers to walk away from "totalled" automobiles.

NOTE: I am using the term "BRS" as generic ... partly because Ballistic Recovery Systems is the most popular manufacturer in North America. At least 8 different companies have made similar "complete airplane parachutes" over the years, though not all are still active: BRS (USA), Galaxy (Ukraine), Magnum (Czech), MVEN (Russia), Pioneer Aerospace (USA), Second Chantz (USA), etc.
 
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