A Whole-Airframe Parachute in your Future? New data on ballistic parachute systems makes them even more attractive.

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October 2012

The sun was casting long shadows on the dry Arizona lake bed. A gathering of engineers stand restlessly behind a battery of cameras, their long jackets zipped to their chins to keep the early morning chill at bay. Above them a giant C-123 military aircraft flashes in the morning light as it rolls out on a heading into the drop zone. A heartbeat later, an instrument package slides off the back ramp of the airplane and is quickly heading for terminal velocity and the desert floor below.

Boris Popov, founder and vice president of marketing for Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS), the world’s leading manufacturer of whole-airframe parachutes, watches through a pair of binoculars. After a few seconds of free fall, a giant orange and white parachute deploys and the payload slows to a crawl across the sky.

Popov can’t conceal his satisfaction over the successful test drop. “We’re seeing a real surge in demand for our systems, especially for Cessna aircraft,” said Popov. “That’s probably because of John Farese.”

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