...A "Massive Belly Flop"...

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Under the parachute, a Cirrus hits the ground as if it had been dropped from 10 feet so the landing jolt is considerable. That's why the landing gear is designed to absorb most of that shock. But Reich's descent ended on the placid waters of Bowline Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River. "It was like a massive belly flop," he wrote. "Because I landed in water rather than solid ground, the gear did not absorb much of the impact. Instead, the wings and seat did all the work. It was at this point that the fourth lumbar vertebrae in my back cracked and compressed from the impact of the crash." It was the culmination of a wild ride that also left him with a bump on his head. Reich was level at just under 3,000 feet when he blacked out for what he estimates was five to 10 seconds. When he became alert again, the plane was nose down, going through 1,900 at 204 knots, just above Vne. He gently leveled the plane but had no interest in continuing the flight into IMC, with weakness in one of his legs and an airframe he feared might have been compromised during the descent and recovery. The chute isn't supposed to be deployed at speeds greater than 130 knots but Reich is pretty sure he was going faster than that when he pulled the handle. A few seconds later there was a "tremendous jolt" that knocked off his headset and glasses and caused him to hit his head on the cabin's interior.