A: Dear Sam,
Don’t hang up that headset yet. BRS Aerospace, the same company that manufactures the parachute system for every Cirrus ever built also sells an approved system for your 172.
According to BRS, it has shipped over 30,000 parachute systems.
A complete new system for your 172 sells for $13,905. The estimate to successfully install the system in your airplane is 45 hours, and the entire installation weighs 79 pounds. According to a spokesman for BRS, the installation can be done at any location by any competent A&P mechanic.
The BRS fuselage parachute system is pretty easy to use. Slow the airplane below 110 knots, remove the safety pin, then pull the deployment lever. (The handle to deploy the parachute in a 172 is located on the floor between the pilot and copilot seats.) The system will shoot the parachute canister out through the back window of your 172.
The chute will deploy, and the airplane—and you—will float down at approximately 21 feet per second. According to BRS, that’s equivalent to the impact that results from a drop from a height of seven feet. The airplane will require some work to get it back to airworthiness.
Know your FAR/AIM and check with your mechanic before starting any work.
Steve Ells has been an A&P/IA for 43 years and is a commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. Ells also loves utility and bush-style airplanes and operations. He’s a former tech rep and editor for Cessna Pilots Association and served as associate editor for AOPA Pilot until 2008. Ells is the owner of Ells Aviation (EllsAviation.com) and lives in Templeton, Calif. with his wife Audrey. Send questions and comments to .