Questions Raised About Nebulusİ Flotation System

Answers Given

In the October '02 issue of Ultralight Flying! magazine in "Industry Watch," news about the Nebulus ­ an emergency flotation system for powered parachutes ­ was released.*

Since then, discussions about the best way to "crash-land" into water have circulated in the ultralight community with some resulting possible bad advice. Nebulus manufacturer JTW Associates has released the following info.

"There has been some discussion in the ultralight community regarding water crash landings of powered parachutes," says JTW Associates contact John Weinel. "Recently it was written that a pilot should unbuckle prior to hitting the water so that he or she could dive forward into the water upon impact. In our ongoing crash-testing of the Nebulus flotation device, we found that in each case the powered parachute flipped over immediately upon impact in a spectacular crash. Any pilot not harnessed would have been thrown into the front of the craft and injured or killed.

"Some have also theorized that it is proper procedure to leave the lap belt buckled and undo the shoulder harness [prior to crashing]. We believe this would be equally dangerous, as the crash would propel the pilot's head forward.

"In our crash-testing the powered parachute traveled forward in the water only 5 feet after the rear wheels impacted, and the inertia of the crashing aircraft immediately flipped it over upside down in the water.

"The Nebulus device is designed to be inflated while the powered parachute is still in the air at an altitude of 500 to 1,000 feet. The device slowly inflates a lifting bag capable of supplying temporary emergency flotation for the submerged aircraft, which remains tethered to the lifting bag. The lifting bag holds 9 cubic feet of inflated CO2, and has little effect on flight."

*See "Industry Watch: Buckeye Powered Parachute Test-Crashed into Water," October '02 Ultralight Flying! magazine

Info: JTW Associates, 6950 West 146 St., Suite 110, Dept. UF, Apple Valley, MN 55124.
Phone: (952) 431-6878.