A near-death drop, a promise and a parachute

 Life-saving parachutes for planes are made right here in Minnesota.

Incredible video out of Hawaii shows a plane using a parachute to land in the ocean, and the company that makes those parachutes is based in Minnesota. The man who created them was inspired by his own brush with death in a 1977 hang gliding accident.

Running out of gas 250 miles from the Maui shore was an inconvenience rather than automatic death because of a parachute that rocketed out of the Cirrus SR-22. A gentle splashdown was followed by a quick rescue.

The parachute is packed and made at BRS Aerospace in south St. Paul. The pilot saved in Maui is number 323 on their wall of survivors.

Boris Popov founded BRS more than three decades ago.

"At 500 feet, I was spinning what I thought was to my death. All the way down, I was just angry with myself. 'Why don't you have a parachute device?' I promised myself on the way down that if I survived this, I would develop some sort of parachute device," he said.

His parachute can be packed into a small unit and can rocket out of the back of a plane, deploying in under two seconds.

Why don't they make these for commercial airliners? A 747 would require 21 parachutes the size of a football field. But, BRS says they're working on a solution.

"It's a tribute to dedication, and being scared to death. Combination of both is a good formula," Popov said.


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