To BRS or not to BRS

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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c162pilot
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To BRS or not to BRS

Postby c162pilot » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:45 pm

One of the S-LSA's that I am considering to replace my DA40 with next year will be offering a BRS chute as an option.

I am very interested in the viewpoints of the board members here. When looking to acquire aircraft where a BRS chute is offered as an option would you take the option for the chute (with associated weight penalty and cost) or decline it?

Looking forward to learning from the discussion.

SportPilot
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby SportPilot » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:50 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wm.Ince
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby Wm.Ince » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:00 pm

c162pilot wrote:One of the S-LSA's that I am considering to replace my DA40 with next year will be offering a BRS chute as an option.
I am very interested in the viewpoints of the board members here. When looking to acquire aircraft where a BRS chute is offered as an option would you take the option for the chute (with associated weight penalty and cost) or decline it?
Looking forward to learning from the discussion.
Something I would definitely consider is . . . after BRS installation . . . how much "usable payload" does that leave me with.

With my airplane (CTSW), including BRS, my usable payload (pax, cargo and fuel) is 572 lbs.
For my mission, that's quite acceptable.
One other important feature I really like is the 34 gal. fuel capacity (33 gal. usable), which provides excellent range.
Bill Ince
CTSW
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

Nomore767
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:27 pm

"Something I would definitely consider is . . . after BRS installation . . . how much "usable payload" does that leave me with.

With my airplane (CTSW), including BRS, my usable payload (pax, cargo and fuel) is 572 lbs.
For my mission, that's quite acceptable.
One other important feature I really like is the 34 gal. fuel capacity (33 gal. usable), which provides excellent range."

I agree with Sport Pilot and Bill.

For me, the BRS option was not available for the RV-12 SLSA so I had no decision to make. Had it been I would have had to think about it as regards the extra weight, which I 'think" is in the 35lb range? Those who have them could interject here.
There is also the required maintenance and periodic replacement of the rocket charge if I'm not mistaken.

Bill's CTW offers good size fuel tanks and a very good useful load. With those numbers I would definitely consider it.

There have been a few heated threads on a couple of forums regarding the use of the BRS. I don't want to get that started again!
That being said, and for ME, I don't consider the BRS a NECESSITY but I would consider it if my useful load admission could accommodate it.
I've seen one poster basically say that the only good LSA is one equipped with a BRS and that anyone who doesn't choose one is basically foolish. I disagree.
Again, for ME, I don't consider a chute pull a 'free ride'. I would pull as a last resort, as in:- "I'm dead if I don't and I might live if I do".
Without rehashing old debates, for ME, the decision to pull is akin to choosing the emergency landing site as in 'where am I going to put it?'. I'd probably add the chute pull decision to that same emergency landing scenario. For ME the emergency doesn't end after i'd pull the cute. I assume the plane will be totaled and once it hits the ground (and it will hit as opposed to land in most cases) recent history shows I stand a great chance of surviving. However, the wind could still drag the plane along, and possibly over a cliff. It could have landed in trees, the sea, a lake and on the edge of a deep canyon or gorge. Will I survive the chute descent and die after landing?
Dramatic maybe but that's in the chute pull decision, for ME.

I bring this up because along with deciding if my airplane can accommodate the weight I'd have to find out as much as I could about how it works and the pros and cons of it's operation. I know one CTLS CFI I flew with was nervous about it deploying in flight and briefed me that he always left the pin in just in case which I thought, at the time, was a bit odd.

The Glasair Merlin, when introduced to the market, has a standard airplane and an upgrade package. I believe for an extra $10k you can get a second screen, and autopilot and a BRS. They have been tentatively offering the plane at about 750lbs empty although I think it has gone to around 790. They are looking at final configurations, composite material and fuel capacity/tanks with a view to keeping the weight down. The chute option would certainly impact the useful load.

My RV-12 has a 765 empty weight and thus 555lbs of load. With a mission of say 2 x 200lbs folks, 120lbs full fuel and 35 lbs of bags including the crap I already carry around ( couple of tools, oil, tow-bar, cover) I couldn't accommodate a BRS.

BrianL99
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby BrianL99 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:32 pm

c162pilot wrote:One of the S-LSA's that I am considering to replace my DA40 with next year will be offering a BRS chute as an option.

I am very interested in the viewpoints of the board members here. When looking to acquire aircraft where a BRS chute is offered as an option would you take the option for the chute (with associated weight penalty and cost) or decline it?

Looking forward to learning from the discussion.



Most people I know who have had one, won't buy an airplane without one.

I was a Cirrus driver for 4 years and when I decided to buy an LSA, I didn't seriously consider any plane without a parachute.

As for fuel capacity and weight considerations ... I have a 22 gallon tank ... 4+ hours. Seriously, who wants to fly an LSA for more than 4 hours straight?

Plenty of pilots extoll the virtues of their extended tanks, but I bet if asked to provide a GPS log of their flights over 4 hours, hardly a pilot could produce one, unless it was extenuating circumstance or a ferry flight.

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FastEddieB
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby FastEddieB » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:28 pm

I too "stepped up to Light Sport" from about 4 years in a Cirrus.

In that 4 years I became a believer.

Yet it was not a real factor in choosing a Light Sport, for whatever reason.

That said, I would have a BRS installed in my Sky Arrow in a heartbeat, if and only if I could get a weight exemption for the installed weight of the BRS. Remember, my EW is already close to 860 lbs. Even though I only carry 18 gals., useful load with even that meager fuel load is tight with me at 185 lbs.

Another complication is I can't really imagine where a BRS would fit, given the Sky Arrow design.

Image

But if I was considering two similar designs, one with BRS and one without, the BRS would play a major role in the decision.
Fast Eddie B.
Sky Arrow 600 E-LSA • N467SA
FastEddieB@mac.com

Wm.Ince
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby Wm.Ince » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:39 pm

Excellent feedback from all of you.
Bill Ince
CTSW
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

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AJChenMPH
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby AJChenMPH » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:11 am

For me, it comes back to mission:
- What's the terrain I most likely will be flying over (including how much time do I expect to spend over water)?
- Is my perceived or calculated risks of a BRS-only save higher than average/normal? (I.e., is my home airport at a higher risk of a mid-air collision, do I think the engine is at higher risk of failure, etc.?)
- Do I have enough margin in useful load to accommodate a BRS (as others have already pointed out)?

As an example, the Sling LSA has an empty weight of 815 lbs before any other options are even considered (and the BRS totals 37 lbs according to their pricing list). With full fuel of 39.6 gal, my wife and I without any baggage would put us at about 28 lbs over max gross allowable weight. Given that our home airport is a Class D towered airport, and most of our flying together would be relatively short cross-countries over fairly friendly terrain here on the east coast, I'd pass on the BRS.

But if I were to build it as a Sling 2 E-AB kit (the gross allowable weight goes up to 1,540 lbs), or if I were single and most of my flying is out of a super-busy non-towered airport with most of my flying over mountainous terrain and Lake Tahoe -- then yes, I would include it.

Keep in mind that you cannot 100% discount the psychological factor of having the BRS in your aeronautical decision making. I know personally that it would affect my decision-making for the first year (or at least the first few months), only because I look back at how I skied when I first started wearing a helmet. I realize now that the first season I wore a helmet, I found myself skiing much faster (and took a few more chances at launching off moguls, cross-trails, etc.) than I had been prior to wearing a helmet. Now that I'm older and wiser, I'd like to think I'd be able to control those impulses, but I'm also smart enough to know that perhaps I won't.
Andy / PP-ASEL

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deltafox
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby deltafox » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:34 am

Spouse.

Makes a difference to her, she owns half of the airplane.
Dave

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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby sandpiper » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:01 pm

As for fuel capacity and weight considerations ... I have a 22 gallon tank ... 4+ hours. Seriously, who wants to fly an LSA for more than 4 hours straight?

Plenty of pilots extoll the virtues of their extended tanks, but I bet if asked to provide a GPS log of their flights over 4 hours, hardly a pilot could produce one, unless it was extenuating circumstance or a ferry flight.[/quote]

For me, What you say makes sense to a point. However, one of the reasons I bought my CTSW in 2007 was because the 34 gallon capacity allowed for options. True, I mostly fill to only 25 gallons and the max time for my butt is about 3 hours. But, what if the pumps are closed when you get there? Or you want to make a trip where only 100LL is available and you want to stick with mogas. Or things turn brown and you wish you had more options.

Having spent most of my life in Alaska with trips thru Canada to the lower 48, having enough reserve, and then some, was important to me. If I was the first flight, I was the Wx reporter. Gas in the bush, if available at all, was very expensive. Admittedly that is no longer as important since I now live in the lower 48 where airport options abound and Wx reports are better. But, old habits die hard. Law of Primacy and all that.

The only time you can have too much gas is if you are n fire.
John Horn
Independence Airpark (7S5), OR
CFII, LSRM-A
Rotax Service, Maint, and Heavy Maint. trained
Flying a CTSW, building an RV-12

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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby Merlinspop » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:21 pm

deltafox wrote:Spouse.

Makes a difference to her, she owns half of the airplane.

In many cases, THE most important factor.
- Bruce

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MrMorden
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby MrMorden » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:28 pm

deltafox wrote:Spouse.

Makes a difference to her, she owns half of the airplane.


My spouse and non-flying friends LOVE the chute. It makes them feel like they have more control of things, or have a "final option".

I have several friends who have said they would not fly in a small plane like mine, then once I tell told about the chute they said "oh, then I'd totally fly in that airplane!" :lol:
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

FrankR
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby FrankR » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:45 pm

It made my wife much more comfortable.

Sport Cruiser with a BRS.

We were flying about 1200 AGL. Not sure if that's high enough.
Frank
Fayetteville, NC

FrankR
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby FrankR » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:54 pm

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Last edited by FrankR on Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Frank
Fayetteville, NC

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dstclair
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Re: To BRS or not to BRS

Postby dstclair » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:35 am

+1 for spouse. The chute was the deciding factor for her agreeing to get back into airplane ownership.
dave


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