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Aerospace/Aviation/Airframe Parachute System for airliners


Dear D. Norkus

Could this systems be useful in commercial aircraft carriers where Total weight of the aircraft is the main parameter for safe landing
in emergency conditions ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

I would say no.

Remember, any parachute is only rated to support a given amount of weight. As a reference, the heaviest drop weight on record for the USAF is about only half the weight of a 737-300.

I know a couple who had to use this system in their Cirrus. It helped them in their scenario but it would be a very remote scenario indeed where such a system would even be of benefit on an airliner.  Additionally, you need to consider the need for emergecy facilities. When a jet liner is in an emergency, quite often you'd want to be near emergency services- on the airfield- not just where ever a parachute happens to land it. Also, a parachute landing on something would cause more damage and injury, not just to those on the aircraft but those on the ground.

The cost to purchase, install and maintain such a system wouldn't be worth the fuel to carry it around on the airframe.

Even if such a device could be installed, it is far better to land overweight and undergo a maintenance inspection than take such chances. The idea really isn't that new. If it were really a great application, it would have been fitted already-

Although the Cirrus is the 1st whole-airplane parachute, the idea has been around for more than 80 years. From Smithsonian Air & Space:
"In 1929, Hollywood stunt pilot Roscoe Turner deployed a whole-airplane parachute for kicks before 15,000 spectators in Santa Ana, California, and landed softly in his 2,800-pound Lockheed Air Express. In 1948, pilot and parachutist Bob Fronius twice deployed a chute from a JR-V Robin sailplane near San Diego, and several times the following year from a J-3 Piper Cub. “He would climb, shut the engine down, open the chute, play around with it, then release the chute and dive to start the engine,” says Fronius’ son Doug. Bob Fronius never commercialized his parachute. “He was a better experimenter than a businessman,” says Doug. “He considered the job done once he accomplished the experimental part.”


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D. Norkus


I can address questions about airline pilot employment & entry level airline careers in the United States, women pilots, flight training, pilot certification, U.S. flight scholarships (mostly for women), aviation & airline safety topics, aviation accident investigation and airline operations. ***Please note, I cannot address flight training & career queries from outside the United States, or aero engineering degree programs/careers, aviation management topics. ****


Airline captain with 15 years past experience in airline ground operations. I have previously flown as a commercial skydive pilot & ferry pilot and majored in Aviation Science

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Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Aviation Safety/Accident investigation.

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