Small plane ballistic parachute saves lives

by lmallernee | July 26th, 2012

July 25, 2012

The parachute on a Cirrus plane saved four lives Sunday in South Carolina, reports the Examiner.

When the pilot deployed a built-in ballistic parachute system known as CAPS at an altitude of 9000 feet, the aircraft was lowered to the ground.

The Cirrus eventually came to rest in a grove of trees about 20 feet above the ground in Pickens, South Carolina. The plane had to be stabilized so that it would not fall out of the trees before rescuers could use ropes and ladders to evacuate the four occupants.

The plane is being transported to a facility in Georgia to be examined by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The benefits of the Cirrus aircraft parachute system are controversial. Steve Wilson, an aviation writer, is critical of the Cirrus marketing strategy which promotes CAPS. He believes that it gives prospective owners a false sense of security and that it leads to an alleged three times higher accident rate, when compared with other light private aircraft.

There have been 36 known CAPS activations as of July 24, 2012. Of those activations, 31 deployments are considered “saves” that involved 61 survivors with one fatality, according to the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.

If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised in a commercial airline or general aviation accident, the aviation accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.