A pilot in Asia was able to heroically save both his own life and his plane by hitting a button that deployed a unique parachute system which slowed the craft’s rapid descent.
A report in the U.K. Daily Mail didn’t mention where the incident occurred in Asia or what type of plane it involved, but the video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday.
The video begins with the propeller-powered plane in what appears to be a flat spin, careening down through the sky.
The pilot desperately tries to get the plane back under control, using the flight stick to try and get back to a more manageable position. Alas, nothing seems to work.
Then, about thirty seconds into the video, things seem to go from bad to worse as the engine shuts off. Given that this seems to be a single-engine light sport plane, that’s what George Orwell might have called double-plus ungood.
However, it turns out the pilot cut the engine for a very good reason: he decided to pull the lever on a type of parachute known as the Ballistic Recovery System, or BRS, which would have gotten caught in the rotating propeller if the engine had stayed on.
As you can see, the parachute managed to save both the plane and the pilot, even if it didn’t take it out of the spin.
The plane landed with a thud, which is a lot better than landing with an explosion. The pilot was uninjured and the plane even managed to fly again the next day.
A flat spin is usually exceptionally difficult to recover from, given that the rudder and elevator — two important control systems typically located at the rear of the plane — don’t receive enough air to work, leaving little option for the pilot other than to pull the chute. And if he doesn’t have one… well, the outcome isn’t promising.
FlyingMag says that the the Ballistic Recovery System can cost at least $13,500 and requires a $4,500 inspection every 10 years.
However, in cases like this — and plenty of others — it’s definitely worth it.
According to its maker, BRS Aerospace of South Saint Paul, Minnesota, the system has saved over 300 lives since company founder Boris Popov invented it in 1980.
“The pilot wants to remain anonymous as well as the location but we can say it was filmed in Asia and the plane was flying the next day,” Popov said of the incident shown on video.
It may be a pretty steep investment, but it’s an investment that can save lives. This pilot found that out in pretty dramatic fashion.