Parachute envy

I got a nice chuckle from the May 2000 issue of Plane & Pilot. Page 40 quotes Lance Neibauer as saying “that the Columbia was the first newly certified airplane that could be legally flown without a parachute.” That’s cute.

But the article then goes on to say that a full stall “settled into a steady 900 fpm rate of decent, slower than many parachutes. … It’s conceivable that you could ride the stall all the way into the ground and still walk away.”

Please! You canÂ’t just ignore horizontal velocity in a forced landing – itÂ’s the total velocity that counts. The Columbia will still be moving at 6000 ft/min compared with the Cirrus parachuteÂ’s 1800 ft/min. Impact forces are a function of speed squared, so the Columbia will crash 10 times harder.

Sounds like parachute envy to me.