ST. PAUL, Minn., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The pilot of a Flightstar Ultralight powered by a Rotax 447, by all reports, considered last Sunday an ideal day for flying until his aircraft's motor began to sputter. Instead of panicking at 800 feet, Ron Elrod, a 56-year-old Shawnee, Oklahoma attorney, deployed his BRS parachute. Seconds later, Elrod's plane landed safely in wooded terrain one mile south of Tecumseh, Oklahoma. After a frantic 3-hour search and rescue, Elrod was found by local law enforcement and walked away from the incident without suffering any major injuries to himself or his plane. "It is my opinion that had I not deployed the BRS unit, I would not have survived this crash," stated Elrod. "The device saved my life." BRS (Ballistic Recovery Systems) is a South St. Paul, Minnesota based company that designs, manufactures and distributes whole aircraft emergency parachute systems for use on general aviation and recreational aircraft. Mark Thomas, President & CEO of BRS, was excited to hear of Elrod's safe landing in Oklahoma and stated that, "Improving aviation safety is the prime objective of BRS and saving lives is our most gratifying accomplishment." Elrod, who's been flying for nearly a decade, said it appears that his June 13th crash was caused by a fuel hose break, a 50-cent part failure that Elrod considers a freak occurrence. "This isn't going to discourage me from flying," Elrod said, adding that the risk is no more than driving a car. Elrod knows a little something about danger, he's a former highway patrol officer shot in the line of duty with gun shot wounds that left him paralyzed in his right leg. Since the early 1980s, BRS has delivered over 18,000 parachute systems to aircraft owners around the world including over 1,500 systems on certified aircraft like the Cirrus Design aircraft manufactured in Duluth, Minnesota. Actual documented uses of these systems are credited with saving the lives of 167 people. In April of 2004, BRS learned of two deployments in Cirrus aircraft within 36 hours of each other. On Saturday, April 10th, a Ft. Lauderdale pilot deployed his plane's BRS parachute system, landing in a Cypress grove in North Lauderdale, Florida. Also, on April 8th, flying over the rugged mountains in British Columbia, a grandfather, his grandson and two family friends encountered trouble but were able to recover and land safely after deploying a BRS parachute. BRS is awaiting Federal Aviation Administration certification on a parachute system for the Cessna 182 model of aircraft, and certification is anticipated within the next 60 days.
SOURCE Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc.