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Parachute helps plane make soft landing in wooded area in Washington

Two people left an airplane unscathed thanks to a parachute device that has been successfully used over 100 times to save doomed aircraft.
Parachute helps plane make soft landing in wooded area in Washington
Posted at 10:57 AM, Mar 06, 2024

Both people on board a small airplane that crashed in Bellevue, Washington, on Tuesday were not injured after the plane made a relatively soft landing in a wooded area thanks to a parachute. 

Bellevue Police said the Cirrus SR-22 plane was equipped with a CAPS parachute system, which successfully deployed.

Video released by police shows the plane coming down nose-first behind a home. The police then shared images of the plane in a wooded area still intact, showing no signs of major damage. The plane could be seen attached to a parachute tangled in nearby trees. 

Officials told the Seattle Times that two people on board were going on a training flight when they experienced an engine failure. Some fuel leaked from the plane, and environmental officials were called out to assess the site, the outlet added. 

The crash was referred to the National Transportation Safety Board. 

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As of late 2023, the CAPS parachute system had been successfully used 126 times. The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association says the parachute is designed to slow the rate of descent to 20 mph.

The association says no one has died on board a doomed aircraft when CAPS has been deployed at an altitude of over 1,000 feet above the surface. There have been a few instances of fatal crashes involving planes that activated CAPS. In these cases, the planes were either moving too fast, or were too close to the ground. 

"Designed for use with multiple Cirrus aircraft, CAPS consists of a large ballistic rocket-fired parachute attached to the airframe. The rocket ensures that the parachute deploys successfully despite altitude, spin, or inversion, while a slow inflation rate and reefed risers allow for rapid transition to stable altitude under canopy," the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association said. 

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