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Sat, Apr 10, 2004

Cirrus/BRS Chute Saves 4 Lives In Canada

BRS Chute Used At Night To Save 4

ANN has learned that a CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System) emergency system was used late yesterday in Canada to recover an aircraft in distress. Manufactured by BRS, the rocket propelled parachute recovery system was reportedly used on a flight from Kelowna, B.C. to Lethbridge, Alberta about 2115 local time.

Severe turbulence over mountains, at night, seem to be contributing factors to an emergency that occurred to an SR20 that was carrying three adults and a child when the chute had to be deployed over the Monashee Mountains (Note the picture, below, of another Cirrus over the same territory... OUCH!).

Additional info, gathered from local media reports, suggests that the pilot experienced a loss of control as a result of the aforementioned severe turbulence and deployed the chute over the mountainous terrain. The aircraft impacted on a wooded hillside, at a 45 degree angle, in an area that was so remote, that they had to be helicoptered out.  After reaching the ground, the pilot of the aircraft radioed aircraft overhead and directed his own rescue operations from the impact site. Damage to the aircraft is reported to be surprisingly limited.

An Air Canada Jazz deHavilland DHC-8 flying overhead relayed radio communication from the pilot, Albert Kolk (67), of Southern Alberta, to rescuers and kept station until emergency helo crews arrived to perform the extraction and rescue of the four on board. Wyn Lewis, a member of the Cirrus Pilot's Association praised the Dash-8 crew, "as the Cirrus lay on the ground waiting for the rescue helicopter." Lewis notes that, "It's at times like this that you get the real sense of community that we pilots are privileged to belong to.

"Captain Jochen Dous of the Victoria Search and Rescue service confirmed that all four aboard were "uninjured" (outside of assorted bumps and bruises) and transported back to Kelowna, 45 miles away.

This is the second actual emergency deployment of a certified BRS parachute system on a Cirrus Design airframe, the first occurring in October of 2002 to pilot Lionel Morrison. Kolk told the Calgary Sun that the BRS emergency chute was "...an absolute must for small planes... It's why I bought the plane."

In 2002, ANN did an extraordinary two part interview with SR22 pilot, Lionel Morrison, the first pilot to fire off a BRS CAPS parachute recovery system in emergency circumstances. The links to that amazing story are included below:

FMI: www.cirrusdesign.com, www.brsparachutes.com, www.cirruspilots.org

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