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Published on Aug 16, 2010
The wing of a Rans S-9 Chaos piloted by 22-year-old Dino Moline broke off during an air show routine in Argentina, Sunday. Because it was equipped with a Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) full-plane parachute system, the pilot survived uninjured. Immediately after the wing snapped off, the pilot activated the full-plane parachute system. The 'chute is normally attached to the airframe such that it would bring the plane down on its gear. In this case, it does appear that the lines were wrapped around the rear fuselage as the aircraft spun, holding the aircraft nose down during the descent and landing. Look closely and you can see the tail surfaces moving as the aircraft descents under canopy. This may represent the pilot's effort to free the line, or it may indicate something else.
Comparing a ballistic 'chute to a normal parachute worn on the body in this case it seems the full-plane parachute was a good choice. Due to the rate of roll induced by the loss of one wing, it appears questionable that the pilot could have escaped the cockpit and saved himself wearing a conventional parachute on his back. Conventional parachutes are not aided by ballistic deployment and may require more altitude to properly open. Had the pilot been wearing a parachute and managed to escape the spinning aircraft without being hit by it, he have simply have impacted the ground under a partially opened canopy. In this case, full-plane parachute FTW.