Ballistic Aircraft Parachute

Also known as emergency ballistic reserve parachute, a parachute system within the aircraft systems. And here comes the question: Do all the aircraft have a parachute in their systems? Well, the answer is no.

B-52 Stratofortress deploying its drag chute while landing. Source: Kevin Jackson. Transferred to Commons/ Wikimedia Commons

Do not confuse it with a drogue parachute designed to decrease the speed of the object or aircraft in the landing stage. We are talking about a system in emergencies or when facing issues on controlling the aircraft or lost control.

ballistic parachute is ejected from the canopy via a small rocket and is attached to the airframe, ideal to be mounted on light aircraft, gliders, or any low weight aircraft.  

Rocket-Powered Parachutes Rescue Entire Planes. With the help of NASA funding, BRS developed parachutes that have saved hundreds of small aircraft—and their pilots and passengers. Here, a Cirrus SR20’s parachute deploys at over 100 miles per hour, arresting the plane’s descent. BRS parachute systems are standard equipment on Cirrus aircraft. Source:

The aircraft most known for having a ballistic parachute is the Cirrus Aircraft (known as Cirrus Design), they incorporated standard equipment and offered a typed-certified aircraft. Therefore, the system of this parachute was well tested and passed all the aeronautical certification processes.

Cirrus Jet deployed. Source: Cirrus/Youtube.

An example of the system in action is the Cirrus SR-22, a single-engine four- or five-seat composite aircraft, famous for the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). They gave the nickname “the plane with the parachute”.

CAPS. Source: Airboyd/Youtube

If you want a system like this, a Company of engineering dedicated to Ballistic Parachutes Modifications in aircraft has dedicated to the development of parachutes, BRS Aerospace. Their systems can be applied to Cessna models, Cessna 182 and Cessna 182. This company collaborated with Cirrus Aircraft to develop the first ballistic parachute. The systems are identical for Cessnas and Cirrus.

How does the system work?

When facing the issues:

A: 1. Rocket fires. The chute is extracted

2. Speed-sensing slider controls how fast chute opens

3. Full parachute inflation

4. Aircraft is gradually lowered to the ground.

Deployment diagram. Source:

So, you may notice how the Ballistic Parachute can help in difficult situations in aircraft failures. It would be reliable to have this system incorporated into all aircraft? at least in lightweight aircraft? or Would it be better to implement safer systems on aircraft to avoid failures? Well difficult questions and all of them depends on the dependability and reliability of what is supposed to be an airworthy aircraft. Leave the comments below.


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