The small planes sold by Cirrus Aircraft are all outfitted with a whole-airplane parachute. The system demonstrated in this video was developed by Ballistic Recovery Systems' Boris Popov, who was inspired after surviving a fall from a hang glider into a lake. While this is the first commercial whole-airplane parachute, the idea has been around for more than 80 years. From Smithsonian Air & Space:
In 1929, Hollywood stunt pilot Roscoe Turner deployed a whole-airplane parachute for kicks before 15,000 spectators in Santa Ana, California, and landed softly in his 2,800-pound Lockheed Air Express. In 1948, pilot and parachutist Bob Fronius twice deployed a chute from a JR-V Robin sailplane near San Diego, and several times the following year from a J-3 Piper Cub. “He would climb, shut the engine down, open the chute, play around with it, then release the chute and dive to start the engine,” says Fronius’ son Doug. Bob Fronius never commercialized his parachute. “He was a better experimenter than a businessman,” says Doug. “He considered the job done once he accomplished the experimental part.”"How Things Work: Whole-Airplane Parachute"
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.