An aerobatics demonstration at an airshow in the Argentinian city of El Trebol last month almost ended in tragedy. The pilot, Dino Molina, 22, was flying a home-built Ran S-9 Chaos aerobatic aircraft. These normally use engines yielding 47-65 horsepower, but according to one local report, he'd shoehorned a 100hp. motor into it. From the look of things, the airframe couldn't quite handle all that extra power (either that, or its assembly may have left something to be desired).
Here's what happened.
Thank Heaven Mr. Molina had thought to install an airframe parachute! It doesn't form part of the manufacturer's standard specifications for the aircraft, so he obviously put it in as an aftermarket addition. Ballistic Recovery Systems of Minnesota market them to fit a wide variety of light aircraft. They add several thousand dollars to the cost of an airplane, but in situations like this, that's dirt cheap life insurance!
Something tells me that Mr. Molina's next home-built aircraft will have the wing attachment hardware rather more carefully installed and inspected than usual . . . and it'll surely have another parachute - hang the expense!