It’s a bit of a role reversal for Cessna which up until now, has been well known as the plane that carries the parachutists aloft. But now the jumpers no longer need to leave the aircraft to get that floating down to earth feeling.
Since its inception in 1980, BRS Aerospace has delivered more than 35,000 ballistic recovery system (BRS) parachutes spanning the aviation spectrum including light sport, military, experimental, and certified aircraft; and according to company officials, has documented a total of 393 lives saved when the BRS system was deployed.
Cessna aficionados might recall that the kits were first introduced in 2002, and many systems have already been installed on the popular Cessnas. South African Cessna owners can now also take advantage of the ‘Plan B’ BRS safety system as local group Absolute Aviation have been appointed as an official installation centre; with the capability of installing or retrofitting the only FAA/EASA certified BRS parachutes for 172s and 182s.
The Cessna BRS modification is approved for most models manufactured from the mid-1960s onward, and is installed in the baggage area. Kevlar harnesses attach to the outside of the airframe and are tucked beneath fiberglass covers. When deployed, the recovery capabilities are comparable to systems installed on the popular Cirrus aircraft, according to BRS Aerospace literature.
The BRS parachutes don’t add significantly to the cost of a typical annual, but aircraft owners should budget for routine maintenance items that are unique to parachute-equipped aircraft. For example, every five years the line cutters must be replaced and there is also a 10-year repack cycle, which must be observed.
Weight and balance must be adjusted to reflect an additional 79 pounds for the equipment mounted on a Cessna 172, and 85 pounds for a Cessna 182. The maximum deployment speed is 133 knots, but other than that, there are no additional flight envelope restrictions.