Death Cheated Again
parachute company, Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc., has now saved
179 pilot and passenger lives. The latest dramatic save happened
when New Yorker Ilan Reich deployed the BRS System last Thursday,
June 30th, while he was flying his Cirrus SR22 at 3,000 feet near
"The system worked as advertised and I'm alive today because it
did," said Reich.
Reich, 50, an active pilot with more than 1,600 flight hours, was
about 10 miles from the Westchester County, NY airport when he was
overcome with a medical condition. According to Reich, he had few
other options than to pull back the plane's nose, and release the
airplane's onboard emergency BRS parachute system.
"My decision to pull the chute was instantaneous. I wasn't
experiencing any mechanical issues with the plane, I was
traumatized and feeling severe cramping in my legs," said Reich.
"The scary part for me was to look below and see a power plant and
some fuel tanks. I was able to use my rudder and some of the
plane's power supply to help drift my landing spot directly over
Reich said his plane hit the water like "a huge belly flop,
waves must have splashed more than a foot and a half higher than
the windshield in the air. It didn't take long for the cabin to
start taking on some water. I quickly knocked out the glass on the
pilot's door, grabbed a life jacket from the backseat and within a
couple of minutes I was standing on the wing of my sinking
airplane. I waited for the life jacket to inflate, then I swam 300
feet to shore."
Reich's airplane landed in Bowline Pond, an inlet of the Hudson
River with depths of 30 feet. Emergency workers converged on the
pond, including area fire and police departments, rescue boats from
Rockland County Sheriff's department, the New York State Police and
the Westchester County Police.
Reich was taken to nearby Nyack Hospital. He was discharged less
than 24 hours after the initial incident. Doctors have told Reich
he should make a full recovery.
"I'm lucky to be alive, no doubt about that. I always said I
wouldn't fly an airplane that didn't have a parachute system, and
don't know why anybody would," Reich added.
"We are in the business of saving lives and we are comforted to
learn that our system helped to save Mr. Reich's life. It's
gratifying to know our technology is second to none," said Larry E.
Williams, CEO and president/COO of BRS. Inc.
BRS set a company record by saving 18 lives in 2004. The South
St. Paul, Minnesota-based company will celebrate its 25th
anniversary this month. BRS has delivered nearly 20,000 parachute
systems to aircraft owners around the world including over 1500
systems on certified aircraft like the Cirrus Design aircraft
manufactured in Duluth, Minnesota.