from recent article:
"Big chutes are already in place on 18,000 single-propeller planes. Jets, though, are so fast that a conventional parachute would get ripped to shreds. Engineers at Ballistic Recovery Systems of South St. Paul, Minn., think they’ve hit upon a solution: a parachute that doesn’t fully deploy until the plane has slowed from 450mph or so to a relatively safe 150mph. BRS, with a grant from NASA, expects to deliver a version for small business jets within three years. Vice president Dan Johnson sees no reason why the technology wouldn’t scale to commuter jets and even to full-size airliners. After all, parachutes routinely bring down the space shuttle’s twin solid-fuel rocket engines, which weigh 155,000 pounds each, about 35,000 pounds more than a Boeing 737. "