Re: Parachutes on passenger jets?

From:         dey@rintintin.Colorado.EDU (Michael E. Dey)
Organization: University of Colorado, Boulder
Date:         08 Feb 95 01:21:20 
References:   1
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In article <>,
Joe Konecny <> wrote:
>      This isn't a joke.  Don't take it the wrong way.  But I have been 
>wondering... why can't there be some type of massive emergency parachute
>on todays jets?  It seems that with some of the new high tech fibers that
>are available that this would be possible.  Maybe something like those that
>slowed the re-entry modules in space craft.  Even if at least you slow the
>plane down during a crash the passengers would have a better chance.  I
>might even risk flying then!  ;)

The type of parachute you're talking about, a ballistic parachute, has 
recently come onto the market for light piston singles like the Cessna 152.
The parachute is pretty large when open and packs into something that 
looks a bit larger than a gallon can of paint, but is only designed to help 
the passengers survive and not the airframe; read: you hit the ground hard.  
This type of airplane weighs about 1400-1500 lbs.  Compare that to an 
airliner that weighs a couple hundred thousand lbs, and you can see that 
it isn't technically feasible, as far as the added weight and volume of 
such a 'super chute.'    

  Michael Dey         
    School of Engineering and Applied Scince    National Center for
  University of Colorado at Boulder                 Atmospheric Research