When everything else fails, or fails all at once, pull the parachute that saves the whole airplane.

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™), standard equipment on every Cirrus aircraft, is indicative of the visionary commitment to general aviation safety. The parachute system is designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment. CAPS™ revolutionized general aviation safety by providing an additional measure of safety to occupants, similar in theory to the role of airbags in automobiles. No other certified general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world provides this safety feature as standard equipment.

An aeroplane piloted by Dino Moline opens its parachute after an accident when it lost one of its wings during an air show near El Trebol, Santa Fe province, Argentina:

The idea’s been around for a while. 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.”

via airspacemag and cirrusaircraft