Parachutes

Discussion in 'Safety Forum' started by Flying Ant, Sep 27, 2016.

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  1. Sep 27, 2016 #1

    Flying Ant

    Flying Ant

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    At the last contest I went to, out of the 31 competitors, about 3 of us wore parachutes. There is no legal or club requirement in Australia to wear parachutes for aerobatics so most don't, until recently I hadn't thought too much about it, but having 2 children in quick succession has lowered my risk tolerance.

    I was surprised when a very experienced aerobatic pilot at that same contest expressed that parachutes were a waste of time because from 2,000 or 3,000ft, there is little chance of getting out of a broken or flaming aeroplane in time. Obviously I disagree, having bought one and attended an Alan Silver bail out course, I'm a parachute wearing convert. I'm not too cool to look silly lugging a chute around.

    To that end I also wear a helmet and nomex flight suit. I probably look like a Top Gun wannabe walking out to fly a sportsman sequence dressed like a F-15 pilot, but I can cope with the embarrassment for the sake of giving myself those extra safety margins.

    For me a parachute is extra inconvenient because I rent a Pitts so I have to lug my chute around with me as opposed to leaving it in the aircraft. I also have to pull all the seat cushions out before the flight and put it all back for the next renter. Having said that, pulling all the cushions out forces me to do a really good FOD check around the seat and down the tail. If I have a fire or some other disaster and I wished I could bail out but was sitting on foam and not my chute, the inconvenience factor of a parachute would seem a lot less significant all of a sudden. Same if I hit my head on the way out and were knocked out cold because my helmet was too much of a pain to bother wearing that day.

    I'm often bemused when I see guys jumping in their hot aerobatic mount in shorts, no chute and a Clarity Aloft headset to go and pull 10 and push -6 with a fuel tank between their legs.

    I don't want this to become a rant so I'll get to the point.

    I don't know of anyone flying aerobatics in Australia who's successfully bailed out, mainly because few wear chutes. I'm really keen to hear from anyone here who bailed out so I can collate a series of success stories to perhaps influence the thinking of some of my friends down under. The more detail the better.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Sep 27, 2016 #2

    EAABipe40FF

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    Add to fire and broken airplane control lock/FOD , I'd say the later a bigger issue in a renter aircraft. All good reasons to wear a chute.

    I recall a couple successful jumps during practice in the last few years. Don't remember the details but I suspect there are more?

    There are altitudes too low to get out but I believe 2,000- 3,000' to be way above that.
     
  3. Sep 27, 2016 #3

    cashflyer

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    Let's say you are flying at 3000 feet.

    If your plane had a catastrophic failure, what is your reaction time and how long will you fiddle with the plane before making the "go" decision? Then, what is your exit time?

    According to the chart from Allen, your deceleration time from 150 mph is about 3.5 seconds.

    For a parachute to be certified, it must open within 3 seconds.

    Add all those numbers up, and then consider that a body in freefall comes down at around 174 feet every second.


    If I were going to count on a parachute to save me, I would be doing all of my maneuvers at 6000 agl or above. Is that crazy?
     
  4. Sep 27, 2016 #4

    bipedream

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    150 mph is 220 fps, if you can exit above 1000', even pointed straight down, you have a chance with about five seconds remaining.

    If you have a lower velocity component down you probably have a pretty good chance.

    If a wing or major structure has failed you have long enough to think about it that I'd rather be trying to bail out.
     
  5. Sep 27, 2016 #5

    cwilliamrose

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    Right or wrong I came to consider the chute as not much more than a heavy rules-mandated and very uncomfortable seat cushion. At Sportsman altitudes you have a decent chance to get out, flying lower can almost completely eliminate that option.

    As I said, rightly or wrongly that was my take on the subject. If I had had the option I would have left the chute on the ground but our rules don't allow for that choice. If I get my current project in the air it will be much more comfortable for me to wear a chute. That coupled with not flying Unlimited or even Advanced competition means I may wear a chute by choice because it will be a potentially more useful chunk of weight to haul around but there will be no Nomex flight suits or hard hats in my future.
     
  6. Sep 27, 2016 #6

    cactusav8r

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    I never wore Parachutes until I started doing Aerobatics, I was a bit unnerved the first time I put mine on and got in my plane.. Well ok, I was MORE than unnerved. I don't like the idea of leaving a plane -period. After 1 1/2 year of doing Aerobatics and religiously wearing my chute. I will not Fly (doing Aerobatics) without it.

    Tell your mates down there. It's like a Life Vest on a Boat or a Fire Extinguisher.

    I wouldn't get on a boat with out a Life Vest, and I wouldn't get on one if I really thought I would HAVE to use it! Same with a Fire Extinguisher. I wouldn't go without one, and I wouldn't go if I seriously thought I would HAVE to use it.

    Same with my Parachute, If I seriously thought I would have to bail, I wouldn't go!
    Let's hope the most we do with our Chutes is get them repacked every 180 days!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  7. Sep 27, 2016 #7

    Gonzo

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    I agree that one should have a chute on, but the conditions must be right
    to be able to use it. Two times I was in the situation that the parachute
    was the way to go. The first time the controls jammed on a S1S, and was to low to get out, I survived but was severely injured, second time I was at 1500' and engine caught on fire in my S2A, all heavy forest below me, I thought I would die if jumped into that, so I hung on and was able to come down on the infield of my airport and jump out.
    If you are high enough and the ground is fairly flat you have a chance.
     
  8. Sep 27, 2016 #8

    PittsDriver68

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    Ask Nigel Hopkins what he thinks about parachutes...

    If you can predict all of the ways that your airplane will try to kill you on a bad day, you should be retired after a successful stock market investing career.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
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  9. Sep 27, 2016 #9

    ssmdive

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    You are not factoring in and momentum and aircraft speed into your thinking.

    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUbvsXGyrD0[/ame]

    Also let's say you have an elevator control lock, you can't climb but you can maintain altitude. You have plenty of time.

    Listen to Shawn Tucker explain his bail out. [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm4dXC7aVzs[/ame]

    Bailing out is an option if you have a parachute. As Wes mentioned, Nigel Hopkins was able to get out in a worst case scenario. Now Nigel is a sport jumper, so he has confidence in his parachute and he had a a failure he KNEW he could not land and acted quickly.

    But I can think of three stories where people would be dead without the bail out rig. I can't think of one where someone was killed because of one.
     
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  10. Sep 27, 2016 #10

    StinsonPilot

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    The moment I realize I'm no longer in control, the decision has been made.
    I'll be real quick to turn the airplane over to the insurance company.
     
  11. Sep 27, 2016 #11

    Eric_Anderson

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    Kiril Barsukov [name corrected] successfully bailed after being T-boned by a Lancair in the practice box at Hammonton. Nick survived intact. The Lancair pilot did not.

    There was a funny Sport Aerobatics article a few years ago by two guys who jumped from an S2 when the engine quit. The second guy jumped late, made one swing in the chute after it opened and hit the soybean field so hard he left an imprint. Uninjured.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  12. Sep 27, 2016 #12

    TFF1

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  13. Sep 27, 2016 #13

    dr107flyer

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    Nigel Hopkins , practicing for WAC France 2015 was very glad he had a 'chute.

    IMG_1187.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  14. Sep 27, 2016 #14

    PittsDriver68

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    "T-boned by a Lancair"

    Actually, that was our friend Kiril Barsukov. I use Kiril as my poster child for wearing your parachute correctly. He wore his harness loose enough that on opening, the chest strap rode up and broke his laryx I think. A month in the hospital and 3 surgeries to put his ability to speak back together. So tighten up those leg straps to pull the container up on your back and the chest strap down as low as you can get it.

    Oh, and Kiril's helmet had a ding in the back from something hitting it when the two aircraft collided. The helmet likely kept Kiril from being lights out.

    All in a NOTAM-ed, FAA approved, actively supervised, aerobatic box. The Lancair reportedly came out of the haze and the sun side moving at high speed.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
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  15. Sep 28, 2016 #15

    Eric_Anderson

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    Corrected. Thanks Wes.
     
  16. Dec 23, 2016 #16

    airplanegeek

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    as for the Nomex. Count me in the believer group. Two friends of mine are no longer because they had no protection. Watching both die after weeks of forced commas in the burn centers is a gruling excersise. The chance of an aircraft catching fire on a forced landing is incredibly high. When the gas tank is strapped between my legs, ill take any protection i can get.
     
  17. Dec 23, 2016 #17

    cactusav8r

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    When I got my skybolt, I put flat seats in it, when I started flying Aerobatics I started wearing chutes. It was really really odd getting in an airplane with a parachute strapped on. A year and a half later, I would feel odd not wearing one. Now I have seat Pans so Everyone that flys with me wears a chute also, no choice. I also wear a helmet, and haven't thought much about a Nomex suit until I read the post above this one.. Sounds reasonable, I guess I will now be looking for a flight suit and probably gloves.
     
  18. Dec 23, 2016 #18

    crankyklingon

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    Don't buy a flight suit. Get a racing suit. I just bought three, $55 for a nomex one and $70 each for two great banox suits. Very comfortable, great fit and the banox ones are very thick which means warm.
    Check eBay. Many end of year close outs. I also found mil spec nomex long johns for $27 a set. Easily the most comfortable underwear I have ever owned. The military green flight suits offer almost no protection without the long johns. Most of the time I just don the jumper over denim pants and a cotton T-shirt. If it's below 65° I'll throw on the nomex top too. It never hurts to be safe and you can be comfortable too.
    Oh yeah, my suit...Bright orange and I got matching gloves too.
    Guess I got lucky nobody wanted orange this year😃
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  19. Apr 22, 2018 #19

    aobt14

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    What website or brick-and-mortar shops do y'all recommend for a parachute purchase?
     
  20. Apr 22, 2018 #20

    cactusav8r

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    Don Mayer has been very good to me, I’ve sent several friends to him as well. He’s very helpful, fair on his prices and knows his stuff.

    *1 (800) 872-2488‬

    http://www.parachuteshop.com
     
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