Skip to comments.Heavy demand for skyscraper-escape parachutes
Posted on 10/20/2001 6:51:11 PM PDT by joan
DETROIT, Michigan: The maker of a lightweight parachute designed as a last resort escape from skyscrapers is being overwhelmed with inquiries from as far away as Malaysia and Taiwan following the collapse of the World Trade Center last month.
Executivechute in Three Rivers, Michigan, sells the escape devices for $795 a piece and says they work for jumping from any building or office on the tenth floor or higher.
Since launching Executivechute last week, John Rivers, a 37-year-old producer of ultra-light planes and former race-car driver, has received hundreds of orders from individuals and companies.
Unlike the rectangular chutes steered by skydivers, the Executivechute is round, which Rivers says carries it straight down rather than along a sloping, lateral descent.
He said he wanted to help prevent deaths like those suffered by people trapped in the 110-story twin towers in New York or who knowingly jumped to their deaths to avoid a slower death by smoke inhalation or fire.
He had received a request to design such a parachute just months before the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington but refused, believing no one would want such a product.
"I'm not going to make that mistake again," he said.
"To have something that could potentially save lives and not make it available to the general public would be criminal."
The parachute opens automatically by the weight against a static line that the user clips to a desk or door knob in the office from which he is escaping.
( AFP )
With my luck, the static line would pull the desk out with me instead of opening the parachute.
LOL You will never know what hit ya..(the desk or the ground)
Now multiply this by a hundred other skyscraper jumpers. What a sight!
Also I'm thinking about window-washing gear. Could they be modified for rescues in emergencies? I'm thinking something modular which can be rapidly assembled with rails to hold onto. Then it could be let down by pulleys or something. People would have to stand across it properly for balance. Am I being naive? Probably. Pretty scary operation. If too many got going at the same time (likely) there could be serious entanglements. With our ingenuity, we ought to be able to devise something like an emergency outside elevator or something.
$795 is pretty pricey. Kinda makes a Trump worth more than your average Joe, doesn't it? He should provide for all his people, not just himself.
I saw it on one of those "believe it or not" shows. I tried to search for it, but was unable to find anything!
US makers Precision Aerodynamics say they have been besieged by calls about the £500 chutes billed as a last resort for those trapped on top of burning high-rise buildings.
A rival, the Emergency Building Escape Parachute, will cost £1,575 or more depending on the customers weight.
Precision Aerodynamics brochure says the chutes, developed after the September 11 atrocities, will open automatically.
It adds: Simple steering and landing techniques can deliver you to the surface with confidence.
But the American Parachute Industry Association said most people who used the products would DIE.
I just checked the dollar to pound exchange rate, and the cheaper of the two from your link, Precision Aerodynamics, would be inline with executivechute pricewise, ~$720. But with Precision Aerodynamics' product you'd have to steer, and does it work from as low as the 10th floor as does executivechute's parachute?
Sure hope window washers are carefully screened. They could also be used to perform outside security checks.
I'm thinking if they tried to pull a Cole-type attack on a building instead. Gotta prepare for these ugly possibilities.
Sounds like an "Executive Body Bag."
LOL... I was thinking the same thing.
I had a cousin in Airborne. He told me the breakaway tab on the end of the static line is about 300-500 lb. test. A body falling picks up 'weight' quickly.
I can see pulling a desk right out.
Of course, they could make the parachutes from plate steel in a pointy configuration and then objects would merely be deflected. :)
Two grand for a decent rig. I wouldn't risk my life hanging from a $795 piece of Nylon. Can't you just see all the idiots making practice jumps off of skyscrapers ? Not to mention the vortex winds that develop between and around large buildings, and little or no control with a round parachute. Then again base jumping is way out of my league.
I remember someone commenting on a WTC article on FR last month that a man on a cell phone from WTC #1 had called someone and mentioned that they were being evacuated to the roof of the building to be rescued by helicopters.
The helicopters never came, even though WTC #1 stood for nearly 1 3/4 hours before it collapsed.
And somewhere I remember reading that people were waving from that roof there signaling that they were alive.
Like Airborne stated above, it better have the ability to steer or you're going to end up in some wild situations.
I would think you could pick up a used BASE jumper chute for less than $800.00 USD.
Thanks for the link to the chute company.
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