The 2013 Paris Air Show kicked off today, and there are tons of new aircraft and technology on display. Among the many large planes with fancy new engines and fuel-saving composite materials is this little Cirrus, equipped with one of the more interesting advances in recent aviation.
The newest, fifth generation Cirrus SR22T has room for five people, and is the kind of plane likely to be owned and flown by an amateur pilot (instead of a professional).
So what happens if the plane stalls, or the only pilot on board has a heart attack and can’t fly?
Just pull the handle with the red tag in the roof of the cockpit to deploy the parachute, and float down to safety on the ground.
And to be clear, the parachute isn’t for the passenger. It’s for the entire plane.
Cirrus has been offering this system for a few years (and it has failed before, in at least one non-deadly incident), but upgrades to the new SR22T include a wider canopy and a rocket system that propels the parachute into the air. As the plane descends, the nose is pulled upward, to reduce impact upon landing.
If the plane is not spinning, the system can be used just 400 feet above the ground.
The new SR22T costs between $400,000 and $600,000.
Here’s how it looks on the ground:
And with its parachute deployed:
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