PENNSYLVANIA PARACHUTE COMPANY
P.O. Box 240
Mt. Bethel, PA 18343
Why Wear a Parachute?
We all know as pilots, that sometimes, no matter how well we plan, we can find ourselves in trouble. Sometimes, the trouble is such that all of your pilot training won't help you. It is at those times, a parachute will be all that will save your life. Many, many pilots and aircrewmen are alive today solely because they were able to bail out. Your parachute is your most cost effective form of life insurance in aviation. Think of it in terms of a life jacket. How many of you would go onboard a boat without a life jacket? Even though you could swim, you would still want that life jacket. Swimming is not an option at 3,000 feet. Your parachute can very well be your ticket home.
Under What Scenarios Would Bailing Out Be the Choice of Action?
1) Engine out over hostile terrain. Hostile terrain would be, mountains, forest and woods.
2) Fire - if unable to extinguish quckly.
3) Structural Failure- if aircraft is no longer controllable.
4) Engine Out at night if no airfield visible or withn gliding range.
5) Inadvertant flight into instrument meterological conditions if no way out.
If the aircraft is controllable and you believe that you can safely make an emergency landing, by all means choose that option first. Whatever your emergency, decide your course of action quickly and carry it out with haste. If bailing out is the only option, don't delay. As in all things flying, altitude is your friend. It will take several seconds for you to disengage headsets, seatbelts and shoulder harnesses. These seconds mean lost altitude. It will take longer to exit if your aircraft is tumbling out of control. Bailing out is not a skydive under controlled conditions but an emergency jump under emergency conditions.
As part of the certification testing of parachutes, a parachute must open and provide a survivable landing while being dropped from an aircraft at 500 feet AGL. HOWEVER, no manufacturer recommends waiting until that altitude to leave the aircraft. It is simply cutting things way too close. If you must bail out, get out quickly while you still have altitude. Once you have cleared the aircraft structure completely, pull your ripcord. If your aircraft is traveling at over 150 knots delay pulling the ripcord 2 to 3 seconds to allow your you body time to slow down.