BRS Records 4 More Saves

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Rare Incident is Second for Same Pilot/Aircraft

In an extremely rare event, an ultralight pilot in Germany has used his BRS emergency parachute system to save his life for the second time. Helmet Grossklaus became BRS save number 135 after his trike-style ultralight suffered a catastrophic structural failure on May 23. He escaped the harrowing incident "without a scratch," reports German BRS agent Jürgen Schubert.

Grossklaus was towing hang gliders using his Silent Racer trike when another pilot suddenly turned in his direction. In an attempt to avoid a midair collision that would have endangered both pilots, Grossklaus was forced to make a rapid maneuver that upset his aircraft. His Silent Racer was flipped violently enough to cause structural failure. "His wing totally collapsed," said Schubert, who added that Grossklaus is the only human in history to have used his BRS rocket-deployed emergency parachute twice from the same aircraft.

BRS designs, manufactures, and markets ballistic parachute systems that lower aircraft to the ground in the event of an in-flight emergency. Through 20 years in business, the company has delivered more than 15,000 parachute systems for use on certified and recreational aircraft. So far, the company has recorded a total of 138 saves that represent 117 airborne incidents with 21 such incidents involving two persons on board the aircraft. The latest two saves are related below.

On June 23, Wallace Clark deployed his BRS parachute, becoming save number 136 on the growing list of saves recorded by the South St. Paul, Minnesota-based company. Clark's engine developed problems shortly after takeoff from a tree-lined airport in Alabama. With the airfield a quarter mile behind him and no optional landing areas, Clark deployed his BRS from only 200 feet above the ground. He landed in wood so dense that it gook 6 hours to reach the plane when he and friends went to extract the mostly undamaged Hurricane.

And while America celebrated its annual July 4th Independence Day, two more people were spared their lives when the pilot had to deploy his BRS parachute after the wing failed on a Murphy Renegade, a Canadian biplane design. Bernd Vierling and a passenger flew their Renegade in Germany when a high-G maneuver caused an interwing strut to fail, rendering the aircraft unflyable. From 1,200 feet, the BRS lowered aircraft and occupants.

 

The Terminator Tries Trikes

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Top Dog Flight


Arnold Schwarzenegger trains on an ultralight for his role in The Terminator

Advanced Flight Instructor Ted Nesmith (left) gives actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (maybe best known for his screen character "The Terminator"), ground instruction before taking the actor for an introductory flight in a Top Dog trike.

Top Dog Ultralights founder and advanced flight instructor Ted Nesmith travels around the U.S. giving introductory flight lessons and selling Top Dog trikes. While in Sun Valley, Idaho, Nesmith had the opportunity to introduce trikes to many people, including actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Schwarzenegger had never flown in an ultralight before and was very excited and amazed that such a small aircraft could fly so well," Nesmith recalls. "He said the trike was the 'ultimate sport utility vehicle'.

"We started making trikes in '98 and spent 1 1/2 years in research and development before we put our first ultralight out," says Nesmith. "In the last year and a half we've put out more than 40 trikes."

Top Dog trike frames are constructed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum, and the brackets, fork assembly, engine mounts and everything else is 4130 chromoly, according to Nesmith. "One of the big things is, we've got hydraulic disk brakes on the back wheels," says Nesmith. "No other trike manufacturer has that."

Built in Colorado, the 2-seat 315-pound trikes are powder-coated in-house, and are now available with the Butterfly trike wing from Butterfly Wings by GibboGear and a choice of three engines: a Rotax 40-hp 447, 50-hp 503 or 65-hp 582.

"What we've tried to do is take the best features of all the different trikes on the market and put them into one," explains Nesmith. "Then we added some new features like disk brakes. We've got a chromoly internal bushing in the front steering assembly, which obviously makes it much nicer, and we have the big tundra tires. We provide everything including the engines. It's a very strong, lightweight, heavy-duty design. They're kind of like Schwarzenegger said, they're the ultimate SUV."

In addition to giving introductory flights and lessons and selling trikes, Nesmith sets up dealerships all over the country as well. "We also put out a good information package, a 10-page brochure and a video," says Nesmith.

Info: Top Dog Ultralights, PO Box 1284, Dept. UF, Cortez, CO 81321.
Phone: (970) 749-4838 e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
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