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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:07 PM   #1
Auburn2002 Auburn2002 is offline
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Parachutes for acro

I know the regs for wearing chutes during acro with passengers, and I "get it" in terms of safety. But have you ever known anyone to (A) have the need to bail in the first place, and/or (B ) successfully climbed from the cockpit of a damaged GA airplane and parachute to the ground?

Last edited by Auburn2002; May 4th, 2012 at 12:47 PM. Reason: fixing my (B ) that turned into (B)
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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auburn2002 View Post
I know the regs for wearing chutes during acro with passengers, and I "get it" in terms of safety. But have you ever known anyone to (A) have the need to bail in the first place, and/or ( successfully climbed from the cockpit of a damaged GA airplane and parachute to the ground?
You don't climb out, you unhook, roll over, and fall out...
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Old May 4th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Originally Posted by Auburn2002 View Post
I know the regs for wearing chutes during acro with passengers, and I "get it" in terms of safety. But have you ever known anyone to (A) have the need to bail in the first place, and/or ( successfully climbed from the cockpit of a damaged GA airplane and parachute to the ground?
I know two people who bailed from a glider in the 60s after a mechanical failure. This was below 1000ft with static line parachutes.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

There's a story of a couple of the guys doing early flights in the tomahawk putting on parachutes while doing some of the spin work. The only problem they found out was after they landed, they couldn't get the doors open. They had to have someone come hand them tools through the clearprop window to extricate themselves.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:18 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

The first Cessna 162 Skycatcher got into an unrecoverable flat spin during flight testing. The pilot first pulled the ballistic aircraft chute, which did not open, and then successfully bailed out. That was in Sept 2008.

http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news..._198852-1.html
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Sean Tucker had to use his parachute six years ago. Control system failure. Don't recall the specifics at the moment.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:19 PM
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I know of a guy who had to bail out of a Citabria. Got himself into an unrecoverable spin. The reason.....he forgot to secure the rear cockpit and the aft stick got caught up in the seatbelt.


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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Originally Posted by McBuzz View Post
Sean Tucker had to use his parachute six years ago. Control system failure. Don't recall the specifics at the moment.
I remember hearing him talk about this! Very interesting account of what happened but I don't remember the details either.

By the way, he's the first pilot I have ever seen make an airplane fly backwards (in a tailslide!). Amazing pilot!
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Old May 5th, 2012, 04:13 AM
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I had a co-worker ask me if I had a parachute for the 182.

(Bang head on desk after he left...)
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Old May 5th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

I had a friend (Rick Massagee) who used his chute at an aerobatic competition at El Reno Oklahoma in about 1990 or 91. He was doing his routine and the linkage from the stick to the elevator broke leaving him no reasonable pitch control. He tried flying the plane with trim but determined that while it could be controlled somewhat there wasn't enough control to land. He rolled it over and bailed out. .... got to watch his pride and joy hit the dirt. He bought one of the new (at the time) SU 26's and did quite well. Later he was flying one of the new (at that time) SU 31 aircraft and had a spar failure causing his death. Would a parachute have helped???? Probably not in that case but there have been times when they saved lives so I believe it is a good idea to wear them when stretching the limits.

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http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=132562
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Old May 6th, 2012, 02:47 AM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/007288.html
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Old May 6th, 2012, 09:12 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

A search of the NTSB data base will show that people have made it out of your garden variety Cessna / Piper in flight. Some with, some without parachutes.

You will also find a lot of aerobatic related fatal accidents where parachutes were not used. Many didn't have any, some, for whatever reason, had them but did not use them.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Originally Posted by Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe View Post
some, for whatever reason, had them but did not use them.
Parachute can't help you if you get knocked unconscious or stuck in a situation where the G-force interferes with your ability to egress.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Parachute can't help you if you get knocked unconscious or stuck in a situation where the G-force interferes with your ability to egress.
Or you wait too long or start out too low...
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #15
GCA319 GCA319 is offline
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Originally Posted by Fearless Tower View Post
I know of a guy who had to bail out of a Citabria. Got himself into an unrecoverable spin. The reason.....he forgot to secure the rear cockpit and the aft stick got caught up in the seatbelt.


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That's a pretty sucky reason to waste an entire aircraft over.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 10:38 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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That's a pretty sucky reason to waste an entire aircraft over.
Local lore includes a Pa-18 that went in after the pilot did aerobatics with a case of beer strapped into the back seat. 0G maneuver dislodges cargo, cargo obstructs stick.

Haven't been able to find a NTSB report hinting at this, got to ask some of the old-timers to narrow it down. While looking, I found about 20 Pa-18 crashes with the pilot drunk .... Those were the good old days, when you were too drunk to drive, you could allways fly home.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 10:51 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Rich Stowell wrote and article on this very subject a few years ago. I had a difficult time finding it but here it is:

http://parachuteshop.com/bailout.htm
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Old May 7th, 2012, 10:55 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Parachute can't help you if you get knocked unconscious or stuck in a situation where the G-force interferes with your ability to egress.
Sure it can. That's what AAD's (automatic activation devices) are for. It won't help you get out, but if you're passing through a preset altitude in freefall at a predetermined rate, it's going to release your reserve parachute (or only parachute, as the case may be).

AAD's have saved quite a few lives.

A few from National (not AAD, but emergency pilot parachutes): http://www.parachuteshop.com/nationa...hute_saves.htm
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Old May 7th, 2012, 11:13 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Sure it can. That's what AAD's (automatic activation devices) are for. It won't help you get out, but if you're passing through a preset altitude in freefall at a predetermined rate, it's going to release your reserve parachute (or only parachute, as the case may be).

AAD's have saved quite a few lives.
How would you set an AAD for an emergency chute in a aerobatic plane ?

You have drastic altitude changes in normal operation, so it would need to have some sort of proximity fuse that arms the AAD once you have left the cockpit. When skydiving, you typically know the elevation of the dropzone. If it is not the same as the departure airport, you can pre-set the AAD to account for the difference. To make an aerobatic AAD work, it would either need spatial information (e.g. from a GPS) or it would have to be set to deploy a set distance from the plane.

The parachute save I know about was using 40s era static line chutes. Not a good option for an aerobatic chute as you could get entangled during a unrecoverable spin.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:49 AM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Actually an AAD would work fine in many cases for aerobatic aircraft. It's not just rate of descent; it's rate of descent at the triggering altitude, and that's established by setting the Cypress or other unit before takeoff.

When doing aerobatics, you're generally doing them not far from your departure field, just as you're often skydiving nearby. No difference.

Altitude changes in most aerobatic maneuvering aren't that drastic. You're seldom seeing more than a couple thousand feet in the most aggressive maneuvering, and frequently much less than that. Protracted spins lose more altitude, but most of your basic "in the box" maneuvering doesn't consume a great deal of altitude, and unless you're on a low-altitude waiver (which in most cases is below the trigger altitude for even the Expert Cypress), it's not an issue for you. If you're doing practice aerobatics in a 4000' minimum box, then you're well above the trigger altitudes for the Cypress.

One need not static line deploy from an aerobatic aircraft; there are plenty of other ways to go; the most simple of which is get clear, get stable and pull. If unable, get clear and pull and hope you don't horseshoe or wrap. Barring that, even in the event of unconsciousness, one can always go with the AAD. It works.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:02 AM
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weilke weilke is online now
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Reminds me. Still have a cypres sitting somewhere. Probably museum value by now (still the original one with fixed cutter and soldered battery).

Whenever we wend down with the the plane for weather, all the student and tandem AADs had to be disabled prior to initiating descent.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

The floor of the box ranges from 1500 feet to 300 feet, depending on class. Rate of descent can be several thousand feet per second, so a Cypres is impractical for most aerobatic usage in competition or serious practice.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:06 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

Quote:
Reminds me. Still have a cypres sitting somewhere. Probably museum value by now (still the original one with fixed cutter and soldered battery).
I've got one of the same floating around somewhere in my gear.

Quote:
Whenever we wend down with the the plane for weather, all the student and tandem AADs had to be disabled prior to initiating descent.
Quote:
Rate of descent can be several thousand feet per second, so a Cypres is impractical for most aerobatic usage in competition or serious practice.
The parachute can be impractical, too, but the question statement was made previously that a parachute does no good to an unconscious person, and to that end the issue of the Cypress was addressed.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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The parachute can be impractical, too, but the question statement was made previously that a parachute does no good to an unconscious person, and to that end the issue of the Cypress was addressed.
Nothing short of a ejection seat is going to help someone who is unconcious, even then you have to be able to actuate it first.

The AAD could make a difference for someone who either A. gets out but is getting beaned by the horizontal stabilizer or B. gets out and just freezes up in the sensation of freefall (most static-line students didn remember the first jump until they were under the canopy, many AFF students regain memory from about 1/2 way down).

I dont think a conventional cypres is going to work for this. Maybe one that has a different programming and basically works like a static line without the risk of entanglement. A short lanyard with a arming-pin and a weak link attached to the plane. Once you separate from the plane the AAD arms and once you go through the acceleration profile of a freefall the AAD deploys.

Last edited by weilke; May 8th, 2012 at 05:21 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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Re: Parachutes for acro

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Originally Posted by weilke View Post
Local lore includes a Pa-18 that went in after the pilot did aerobatics with a case of beer strapped into the back seat. 0G maneuver dislodges cargo, cargo obstructs stick.

Haven't been able to find a NTSB report hinting at this, got to ask some of the old-timers to narrow it down. While looking, I found about 20 Pa-18 crashes with the pilot drunk .... Those were the good old days, when you were too drunk to drive, you could allways fly home.
I couldn't even imagine trying to handle any airplane drunk let alone a taildragger...
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