Aircraft Parachutes - Investment opportunity? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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Texas T
04-23-2004, 17:53
I looked at BRS (Ballistic Recovery Systems) a long time ago and never bought it. They've been hovering at the $2 range for quite a while, had a slight drop to $1.70 a month ago, and then right after the news came out about them saving two Cirrus aircraft within a few days of each other the stock spiked to over $3. It closed today at $2.90. Symbol is BRSI.

I read today that some of the personal jets coming online in the next five years or so are looking at aircraft parachute systems. That, plus the success Cirrus has had with them (excluding yesterday's fatal crash) indicates to me that there might be some opportunity here. I would think that some other mfg's might consider adding them to their aircraft as a way to mitigate future lawsuits.

For anyone that's close to the business, any thoughts on this?

Stock stuff normally belongs in GNG, but I doubt if 10% of the people over there even know that there are parachutes made for aircraft and not just for people. :)

04-23-2004, 21:51
It's pretty cheap right now... consider it "on sale". But only buy what you can afford to lose. Definitely risk for the adventurous.

04-24-2004, 10:50
Interesting idea.

Although ultralights have used them for a while there's only 1 certified plane, the Cirrus, that has it as standard equipment. It would seem that right now the fate of the BRS is tied to the fate of the Cirrus; and the Cirrus is a bit of a topic for discussion. It seems like the Cirrus has become a favorite of pilots with lots of dough and not a lot of flight time. This is similar to the situation with the V-tailed Bonanza that was famous for kill Dr's in the 70's and 80's. The thinking of this is that low time pilots are atracted to the BRS since it provides a level of safety to offset their defficiencies; then they go off and get themselves into trouble.

If the Cirrus gets a bad rap, whether its deserved or not the BRS might be rejected by the industry, like the V-tail was. I read somewhere that Cirrus is implementing a new mandatory pilot training program for all new Cirrus deliveries so that may help.

Of course it may be that the cost of the new personal jets is so high that the BRS system cost is relatively minor and so it gets tossed in anyway.

Lots of angles to it.

Texas T
04-24-2004, 13:51
Originally posted by Wulfenite
It seems like the Cirrus has become a favorite of pilots with lots of dough and not a lot of flight time...

I read somewhere that Cirrus is implementing a new mandatory pilot training program for all new Cirrus deliveries so that may help. See my thread on the Cirrus that my former boss purchased...

He did indicate that he had three days of checkouts before they turned the plane over to him.

I don't know how many hours he currently has, but he's had his license since about 1989 and owned a 182 until he sold it to purchase the Cirrus.

As to your overall comment about low time pilots purchasing the Cirrus, I think you might in fact be correct. It would be interesting to know the average number of hours that these new owners have.

04-24-2004, 18:24
I do not see BRS happening for a jet. The jets are going to be much heavier and faster than the Cirrus. As the weight goes up, the size of the chute required to support it goes up as well. The deployment forces go up as the square of the airspeed at which it is deployed. The only time a BRS will be needed in a twin jet is in case of a structural failure. Putting a maximum deployment airspeed is not practical because the only time you will need to use it you will not be in a position to control the airspeed.

On the issue of BRS as a stock, there is definitely an upside there at a speculative level. If there is a major save by the BRS that results in a lot of publicity, the stock can easily quadruple or even more. However, when that would happen is anyone’s guess. Whether that would happen or not is an even bigger risk. And the biggest risk is whether the company will survive while you wait for the big event. If you buy it, either keep a close eye on it and bail out if it slides below your target price or consider it a high risk investment that you are willing to loose completely.

Texas T
04-24-2004, 19:01
Originally posted by 20pilot
I do not see BRS happening for a jet.
BRS developing a chute for very light turbofans

by Mark Phelps

Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) of St. Paul, Minn., has received a $600,000 grant from NASA to develop a whole-airplane parachute system for very light jets. The company has identified eight aircraft in various stages of development that could become a market for the product and has agreements to work with three possible manufacturers of jets in the 5,000- to 8,000-lb-mtow, 350-kt-cruise-speed category.

In its preliminary design phase, the system is envisioned in a two-stage format. A separate drogue chute would deploy first to slow the aircraft down to around 175 kt, and a main, Kevlar-reinforced chute would then lower the aircraft to the ground slowly enough to protect its occupants from injury.

BRS v-p Dan Johnson told AIN that his company is also considering developing the first-stage parachute as a separate product that could be installed without the main canopy and used as either a conventional drag chute on landing or a “return to control” chute for situations in flight where an aircraft may encounter an unrecoverable spin or otherwise lose aerodynamic control. He said aircraft up to the size of airliners could use such a system from BRS.

Asked about the projected weight of a full, two-stage system on a very light jet, Johnson said that roughly 2.5 percent of mtow–at 80 lb, the operative figure in the Cirrus piston models–is a number that seems to keep surfacing in hypothetical calculations. That would translate to 125 lb for a 5,000-lb aircraft and 200 lb for an 8,000-lb aircraft. Asked about price, he said it’s far too early in the program to commit, but a “wild guess” would be $30,000 to $50,000 per aircraft.

BRS developed the Cirrus airframe parachute system (CAPS) that spared the life of Texas pilot Lionel Morrison when his four-place Cirrus SR22 lost an aileron in flight last fall. CAPS is standard on Cirrus SR20s and SR22s, and a similar BRS system is available for retrofit on Cessna 172s. BRS started making whole-airplane parachute systems for ultralights and claims 156 “saves” (lives preserved) over its 21-year history. The company said it has more than 500 of its parachutes installed on certified aircraft, with an overall total of more than 17,000 parachute systems delivered worldwide.

For the jet system, the drogue chute would begin by slowing the airplane and stabilizing it. The pilot would have the option of deploying only the first chute if necessary. Under more extreme conditions, however, the second chute would then take over and lower the aircraft to safety. One complication could be where to stow the parachute package so as not to compromise a jet’s pressure vessel. Johnson said the system would not need to ride within the pressure vessel, but conceded that beefing up the structure could present design challenges.

The grant from NASA is the third for BRS under the agency’s small business innovation research (SBIR) program. BRS received $70,000 from NASA in 1994 and then $600,000 to develop “new, lightweight and strong materials that would allow a parachute to deploy at the speeds required for high-performance, general aviation, single-engine airplanes.” The second grant led to the certification of the Cirrus system.

BRS’ Johnson said the company has letters of intent with VisionAire for its single-turbofan Vantage project and has a cooperative agreement with Cirrus for a possible turbofan being explored by that Duluth, Minn.- based company (see page 31). Johnson declined to identify a third company with which BRS has signed an LOI. Johnson said the company is targeting the developmental Cessna Citation Mustang for the new product, though it has not opened discussions with Cessna, yet. At press time BRS had a meeting scheduled with Adam Aircraft concerning its A700 very light jet.

He added that some developmental single-engine jets were among the very light designs being considered for BRS systems. He also said Dr. Sam Williams, head of Williams International, had stipulated to some of those single-engine candidates that he would consider selling Williams engines to them only if they incorporated a BRS parachute in their design plans.

04-25-2004, 03:41
Originally posted by Texas T
BRS developing a chute for very light turbofans
Thanks for the link. I will believe it when I see it (the chute, that is).

The concept simply does not make sense in a twin jet. I am not familiar at all with the single engine jets under development and what their weights and capabilities are. I am however very familiar with aircraft structures and the structural issues implied in the article are HUGE hurdles. You might see a chute that is designed into the jet during initial development if the jet is light enough, slow enough and the idea is considered early enough in the design process. You will never see a retrofit chute for any jets and that includes jets that are far into the design process, even if they have not flown yet.

I am also extremely familiar with SBIR grants. No one does any development under SBIR if they think there is even a slight chance of success. Don't take me wrong, things do get developed under SBIR occationally, but for the most part if you see something being developed under SBIR you can count on it that it is a very very long shot. If it looked feasible, investors would be available to fund it with fewer restriction, higher financial rewards upon success and much more protection for your intellectual property rights.