Sat, Jan 10, 2004
That's 159 And Counting
It's not a bad day at all when you can save a life. Friday,
Ballistic Recovery Systems got word that its life-saving emergency
parachute system had done just that.
It was the company's 159th saving of a life through the use of
one its ballistically-deployed emergency parachutes. The fortunate
pilot was Mike Daeges of Prineville (OR).
Daeges' system, installed on a Hy-Tek Hurricane ultralight, was
a BRS-5-750 canister unit, manufactured in June of 1998. His
altitude at the time of deployment was just 200 feet above ground.
Mike tells the story in his own words:
"I was flying low and slow over a wilderness area looking for a
neighbor's lost horse when the engine spit out a spark plug. I was
flying up a ridge line at the time so I was able to gain some time
and look for a clearing by doing a 180 down into the canyon. No
clearings were visible and the only one I could think of was near
the mouth of the canyon. Once I realized I couldn't glide that far
I said, 'Rats' for the 100th time and then looked for a spot to hit
the 'chute over. A one-acre patch of second growth trees on the
hillside to my left was the best I could do.
"I heard the loud bang and was amazed at how fast I found myself
nearly upside down as the chute stopped the nose of the plane and
the tail swung underneath and then up. Since I was only about 200
feet up when I pulled the 'chute, the ride down was very short. The
next thing I saw was a tree within arm's reach on my right side
holding the right wing up and causing the left wing and tail to
contact the ground first. Between the tree, the left wing and tail
all folding up, there wasn't even a bump when I hit the ground. I
was able to walk away without even a scratch. I then had to hike
out about five miles but with the adrenaline it was easy." Daeges
expressed appreciation to BRS for a successful conclusion to a
"Every life we save is
special and important to BRS. We can build on every such real-life
experience to make our products the finest they can be," said BRS
president & CEO, Mark Thomas.
BRS designs, manufactures and distributes whole-aircraft
emergency parachute systems for use on general aviation and
recreational aircraft. Since the early 1980s BRS has delivered over
18,000 parachute systems to aircraft owners around the world
including over 1,200 systems on certified aircraft. Actual
documented uses of these systems are credited with saving the lives
of 159 persons (of which ANN Editor-In-Chief Jim "Look Out Below"
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