Once Upon a Time… Two companies competed vigorously for the airframe (ballistic) parachute market. One was BRS. The other was Second Chantz, run by longtime proprietor and system designer, John Dunham. In a deal back in 1995, John agreed to cease competing with BRS, which went on to fame and fortune with the parachute for Cirrus airplanes and LSA. *** Now, zap forward a decade and a half. BRS is working hard to be a military contractor, and — while still pursuing the airframe parachute business with a couple larger customers — their corporate focus is elsewhere. I say “good luck with that” but the light aircraft community badly needed another company to offer services: repacking, repairs and maintenance, and new systems for aircraft BRS had no time to assist. *** Why start a company now, after 15 years of being out of the business, and with the country in a deep recession? John answered simply, “It’s what I know and love.” *** Before selling out to the larger company, Dunham had started developing a compressed air rocket motor that had great promise fifteen years ago. The idea languished but today technical improvements make that concept much more viable thanks to much increased stored pressures. John will pursue his “A.I.R.” system as he rebuilds his former business (well, technically a different business but the mission is the same). *** John stated in a recent news release, “Second Chantz will distribute new ballistic recovery systems manufactured by the Czech Company, Stratos 07, known (to Americans) as ‘Magnum Parachute Systems’.” [UPDATE 6/10/10 — Second Chantz elected not to become the distributor for Magnum.] “And we will bring back [our] patented A.I.R. equipped recovery devices for hang gliding and paragliding pilots.” In addition, thousands of Second Chantz systems can now be serviced by the company that originally made them. And, the new company could establish service for BRS systems. *** In all, this is a significant gain for the light aircraft community.
John W. Couvillon says
I have a Sidewinder Ballistics Parachute unit made by Second Chantz several years ago. There is no date on the unit, but it has never been attached to an aircraft, nor has it ever been deployed. It was originally intended for a Hi-Max ultralight, but the aircraft was never completed or flown.
The aircraft is now being prepared to fly under FAA part 103, at 254 lbs (without parachute) however, I own the Sidewinder, and its installation would not be difficult, other then the weight gain, although the 103 weight limit goes up when a chute is installed. I particularly like the cylindrical, bullet shape as it will produce a low drag situation.
Is this unit too far gone and obslete, or can it be inspected, repacked and certified?
What would the associated cost be for that work?
Other then the name “Sidewinder”, there is no identifying cat.#, Part Number, etc. on the unit.
Dan Johnson says
John: I think you’ve asked theis question elsewhere but Second Chantz has been gone long enough that your system is surely out of date. Now, if you could attach it as designed (and don’t take that part lightly) it is probably better on your airplane than stuck on a hangar shelf where it could cause problems. The added weight is minor compared to what it can do for you IF it still functions. The chances of getting it updated are essentially none, I regret. Yet if it was your only option or face a worse situation, I’d pull the handle and hope for the best …but install it correctly and securely.