You have heard of parachutes for people but can an aircraft also be equipped with such a device to avoid serious mishaps in case of emergencies? Capt. Lim Khoy Hing explains the possibilities.
Life isn’t like in the movies where if James Bond was in a distressed aircraft, he would strap on a parachute and jump out of the plane with great ease. People like you and I would have trouble figuring out how to strap it on and use a parachute in the first place, let alone work out how to land safely! This, we discussed in a previous issue of Travel 3Sixtyº.
In this issue, another reader wanted to know whether mega parachutes can be used to save planes from falling from the sky during an emergency. His email read: “I am a frequent flyer on long and short haul flights. I admit I have never been totally relaxed throughout the flight, regardless of how smooth it was. I have also been concerned about issues that may occur during flying.
I have a question which may sound silly: Is there any research being made to develop mega parachutes that can be attached to a plane like huge balloons that will allow the aircraft to land in case of total engine failures?”
Cirrus Airframe Parachute System
Interestingly, the concept of fitting parachutes on planes has so far been fairly successful in small planes only. The device is known as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). What this system does is, when a plane’s engine quits mid flight, all the pilot has to do is pull a red, T-shaped handle in the cockpit, which will deploy a parachute within seconds. This will then bring the aircraft to the ground safely. The force of impact when using this parachute is like falling from a height of about 10 feet only.