Are Three Chutes Better Than One?

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The usefulness of a whole-airplane parachute has been well-proven by the folks at Ballistic Recovery Systems (203 lives saved at last count), but an upstart company in New Jersey thinks there might be a better way. Aviation Safety Resources said this week it has formed "a distinguished team of aviation experts" to bring to market a three-chute emergency landing system for small aircraft. The system aims to lower the aircraft safely to the ground in three sections, separating the wings (and their fuel) from the cabin. An early version of the system was tested successfully in 1967, according to the company. "The fact is, three parachutes are better than one," said Dario Manfredi, whose father developed the original design. "ASR's TriChute technology improves upon existing single-chute designs to safely land six-passenger aircraft, and, down the road, even commuter jets, larger aircraft and helicopters. We believe it will become the new standard in aircraft design, defining a new era in aviation safety." The company is working to raise $3.2 million in seed money to fund development and testing of a model.