Et was a world premiere, which the occupants and pilot of a single-engine SF50 Vision-Jet business jet would certainly have liked to have avoided. The five- to seven-seater jet was caught in a severe thunderstorm and in distress over Florida on its approach to Kissimmee Airport on the Friday before last. The pilot then presumably activated the rescue system on board. The jet parachuted to the ground in a swampy area near the city of Orlando. The three people on board, the pilot, a woman and a youth, were injured. However, they were all able to get out of the demolished plane themselves. This was the first time in the history of aviation that a business jet went down on a parachute.
The Cirrus vision jet, which can reach speeds of up to 560 km/h, is the only business jet to date to have a rescue device in the nose of the fuselage. It's a complex system. Before the parachute is released by the pilot or a passenger and shoots out, the on-board computer checks whether the flight attitude and speed allow this. Otherwise, the autopilot attempts to steer the machine to an attitude and speed range compatible with the system. Only then is the parachute shot out. Hanging on this, the machine levitates to earth.
Why does a pilot deploy the parachute using a handle in the cockpit? This can be in the event of an engine failure over water or mountains without the possibility of an emergency landing. In addition, after collisions in the air, for example with other aircraft or birds. In addition, if parts of the control such as aileron or elevator fail. Also, visual pilots without an instrument rating are never allowed to fly in clouds. If they do it unintentionally and lose control while flying blind, deploying the chute is often the only way to save lives.
Since their introduction in the 1980s, rescue systems have become increasingly popular. In this way, they saved more than 600 people from death, especially in the ultralight aircraft, which weighed a maximum of 600 kilograms, but also in larger single-engine propeller aircraft with a take-off weight of up to two tons. The systems from the manufacturer BRS alone have already been able to save the lives of 463 people in ultralight aircraft and in larger Cirrus propeller aircraft and now, for the first time, in a Cirrus jet. The Czech company Galaxy has so far rescued around 100 pilots and passengers with its parachutes, and there are other manufacturers such as Junkers Profly or the Czech company USH with successful deployments.
However, parachute rescue systems have design limitations. So far they have not been suitable for very heavy aircraft, since the forces to be withstood by the screen or the cell structure would be too great despite the use of sliders that delay deployment. The most powerful systems are currently designed for a take-off weight of up to around 2.6 tons, as in the Vision-Jet, and deployment speeds of around 300 km/h.