[ testimonials : "tell your story!" ]
Ross Loudon - Skybolt, Reno NV
"I was only about 200 ft AGL and I felt that my chute would certainly not have time to open. The first jerk was the parachute opening and the second was me impacting the ground a fraction of a second later. I reached up and pulled back the parachute to find out the aircraft was only 20 ft from me engulfed in a ball of fire. The system not only saved my life, but is a pleasure to use for everyday flight operations."
David Lawrence - Raspet Flight Research Laboratory
Test pilot David Lawrence, director of Raspet Flight Research Laboratory was concluding roll rate test flights when he heard a loud explosion. The explosion was a ballistic recovery system (BRS) that activated in case the wings came off the airplane. Typically when there is a BRS the pilot would not be wearing a parachute, however Mr. Lawrence was wearing his ParaCushion 305 as the BRS had not been fully tested.
At the time of wing separation Mr. Lawrence was flying at around 162 kts in a 45 degree nose down attitude pulling about 2.5 Gs. When the BRS activated it caused an instant deceleration and the pilot and seat were catapulted through the front of the aircraft.
Next thing he remembered was being out of the airplane, free of the debris and he pulled the ripcord. He was about 500 ft. when the canopy opened. As he cleared the top of the trees he remembers thinking "this is going to be a hard landing", but after landing he was surprised to realized that nothing felt broken. He unstrapped, and walked out of the woods with only small cuts and bruises!
Rob Davies - Warbird, Duxford UK
On July 10th, 2011 Warbird pilot, Rob Davies, was forced to bail out of the
P-51 Mustang “Big Beautiful Doll” when a Douglas Skyraider collided with
him during the Flying Legends Airshow in Duxford UK.
During their final flight, three aircraft were performing a close proximity maneuver when the Skyraider struck the back of the P-51 Mustang. The Skyraider was able to land with part of his wing missing, however the Mustang was unable to regain control. At the last minute Mr. Davies decided his only option was to bail out of the aircraft.
While doing an interview with BBC Mr. Davies said: "Normally you wouldn't parachute below 1,000 feet and I guess at the time of decision making it was about 500 and by the time I'd got out and got the chute open I was down to 200 feet."
Mr. Davies was using a Strong Enterprises Para-Cushion Seat 304 with 26' Mid-Lite. The parachute opened with time to spare allowing him to walk away from an otherwise fatal situation.
Video footage taken by aviation videographer, David Taylor (FlyingFilm.co.uk), is available on Strong Enterprises YouTube channel.