A South St. Paul save

This Argentine air show near-disaster video is going viral. It happened the other day during an airshow. The aerobatic airplane’s wing fell off…

The pilot can probably thank someone in South St. Paul. The plane was equipped with a parachute from Ballistic Recovery Systems, which is based on the city’s Fleming Field.

Last month at Oshkosh, the CEO there told me 61 people are employed at Fleming Field now, the highest employment they’ve ever had. The factory is working three shifts, and the company has plants in North Carolina and Mexico.

But while the company has recently received $1 million a month in orders for the first time, it’s only because of the defense industry. BRS makes the chutes for military aircraft. The general aviation market remains weak, he said. Duluth-based Cirrus uses the chutes in their aircraft, and they’re credited with saving over 200 lives.

The chutes are no guarantee, of course. The pilot above was lucky. His plane caught fire, but the plane was close enough to the ground that it was a short trip to safety. Earlier this year, a Cirrus aircraft collided with another plane in Colorado. The parachute deployed but the plane was on fire as it slowly descended. The occupants jumped to their deaths, witnesses said.

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