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Old 05-20-2019, 03:04 PM
mulde35d's Avatar
mulde35d mulde35d is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Lithia, FL
Posts: 222
Default Kids and Aerobatics

So after searching the threads I found one other post on this topic, but it was closed after some heated discussion.

My question is, how to safely do aerobatic flight with a kid who doesn't fit or wouldn't be able to effectively use a parachute. I am still building the 14, but fully expect to take my daughter on aerobatic flights when she is ready (currently 4 years old).

The regulations say this:
§91.307 Parachutes and parachuting.
(a) No pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a parachute that is available for emergency use to be carried in that aircraft unless it is an approved type and has been packed by a certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger—
(1) Within the preceding 180 days, if its canopy, shrouds, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or materials that are substantially resistant to damage from mold, mildew, or other fungi and other rotting agents propagated in a moist environment; or
(2) Within the preceding 60 days, if any part of the parachute is composed of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber or materials not specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(b) Except in an emergency, no pilot in command may allow, and no person may conduct, a parachute operation from an aircraft within the United States except in accordance with part 105 of this chapter.
(c) Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds—
(1) A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or
(2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.

(d) Paragraph (c) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Flight tests for pilot certification or rating; or
(2) Spins and other flight maneuvers required by the regulations for any certificate or rating when given by—
(i) A certificated flight instructor; or
(ii) An airline transport pilot instructing in accordance with §61.67 of this chapter.
(e) For the purposes of this section, approved parachute means—
(1) A parachute manufactured under a type certificate or a technical standard order (C-23 series); or
(2) A personnel-carrying military parachute identified by an NAF, AAF, or AN drawing number, an AAF order number, or any other military designation or specification number.

The Bold lettering is obviously what's important.

Now the thought moving forward for discussion is how to actually be safe.

Since parachutes won't likely fit her from 5-12 years old and she likely would be incapable of using it anyways, my thought was to have the adult pilot wear a parachute and for her to wear a harness with a D-ring and strap attaching her to the other person in the parachute.

The concept would be if the situation for a bailout were to occur (which is why the parachute is required for aerobatics, see Part 91.307 above), then we would unhook her seatbelt and bailout with her firmly attached to me and the parachute (the tighter the better of course). I know this is unlikely and would probably result in multiple injuries, but figure it's the best chance for true survival of both occupants in the unlikely bailout scenario.

While this doesn't meet Part 91.307 requirement, it is the only solution I can think of that would meet the intent of the FAR's and maintain a level of safety greater than just disregarding the parachute entirely. The only other solution I can think of is to not perform aerobatics until she fits in a parachute and knows how to use it effectively.

Does anyone else have any creative solutions or methods that may have worked in the past?
RV-14A Sold
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:48 PM
Gt-401 Gt-401 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Wray CO
Posts: 87
Default Airframe parachute?

How about fitting your -14 with an airframe parachute. Would that satisfy the FAR? It seems like an airframe BRS would be a safer alternative to abandoning the airplane and hoping it doesn?t hit an orphanage..
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:05 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,748

First suggestion - don't do aerobatics with kids that are too young to know how to use aparachute, or too small to fit into one.
Second suggestion - If you decide to do it anyway, don't post it here, or anywhere for that matter.

Just my suggestions, take it for what its worth.

A ballistic airframe parachute does not meet the requirement of FAR 91.307.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:05 PM
mulde35d's Avatar
mulde35d mulde35d is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Lithia, FL
Posts: 222
Default BRS

I hadn’t thought about the BRS. I don’t plan on installing one as it would add a lot of extra stuff and complexity to the build. It makes you wonder if it should satisfy the FAR. Possible that part 91.307 needs an update based on new technology.

Here is the sad part though, it would be easy to meet FAR 91.307 by putting a parachute on her. Pointless, but legal. I would like to find a way to be legal and have the layer of safety. Maybe we modify a small parachute harness to fit and then attach the Tether. Meets the letter of the law for a parachute and provides some additional level of safety being tethered to the adult wearing the parachute that would actually be deployed in a bailout (unlikely a situation as a bailout may be). I would also be interested in statistics where someone in an RV actually bailed out. I would bet it is a zero to single digit number.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:56 PM
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ColoCardinal ColoCardinal is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Morrison, CO
Posts: 372

Maybe a conversation with your local parachute rigger would prove fruitful. There are chutes for dogs and all sorts of other things. Hard to believe that there wouldn't be one for a kid. You could probably rig a tether.
Carl - - Morrison, CO
Airworthiness cert issued 12/24
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:15 AM
sailvi767 sailvi767 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 1,264

Any attempt to exit a RV would only be after a catastrophic failure or loss of control. Exiting a out of control aircraft can be difficult solo and I suspect impossible with a tether arrangement.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Aurora, colorado
Posts: 14

Larry Stokes
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:00 PM
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Gash Gash is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Goodyear, Arizona
Posts: 908
Default It can be done

As some of you know, I fly a lot of aerobatics. My kids have also been doing acro with me for years, and it has been a very positive experience for them. My youngest son was 8-years old when he started flying aerobatics with me, and now he's talking about flying in aerobatic contests after he gets his PPL. We have "standard operating procedures" and full-up emergency procedures training for the children. I am not casual about any of our flying, especially aerobatics. When a child is ready to be signed off as an acro pax, then we go fly.

My humble opinion is that many here are over-thinking the subject. If your passenger a) fits properly in the parachute harness, b) is fully trained on how to use it, and c) can egress the airplane, then go fly. Get a smaller parachute for lightweight individuals with a crossover aerobatic harness. Tighten the straps all the way to the stops, and if it's too loose, then the passenger is too small to fly, period. This isn't rocket science folks. Feed the kid steak and potatoes until he/she fits the chute harness.

I should add d) the most important thing: first look in the mirror. Are you trained and proficient? Can you responsibly carry a passenger in aerobatic flight without causing unnecessary risk? The standard of excellence is much higher when carrying a young passenger.

Finally, there's aerobatics, and then there's passenger aerobatics. Loops should not be round, but rather cursive "L" shaped. Slow rolls should be docile and fun. G loads should be as low as possible. And the flight should be short. The idea is to have a positive experience where the passenger is still smiling in the base turn.
Karl, Goodyear, Arizona (KGYR) ATP, CFII
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:15 PM
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Mycool Mycool is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: West Hills, CA
Posts: 393
Default issues

WTF is everyone talking about in here...?.

? 91.303 Aerobatic flight.
No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight -
(a) Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement;
(b) Over an open air assembly of persons;
(c) Within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;
(d) Within 4 nautical miles of the center line of any Federal airway;
(e) Below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface; or
(f) When flight visibility is less than 3 statute miles.
For the purposes of this section, aerobatic flight means an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight.
[Doc. No. 18834, 54 FR 34308, Aug. 18, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 91-227, 56 FR 65661, Dec. 17, 1991]

"Understanding and working within the LAW is way more fun than blindly following it."

Stay legal my friends.
US ARMY VETERAN (75th & 1st 509th Airborne)


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Last edited by Mycool : 05-29-2019 at 02:36 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:54 PM
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Gash Gash is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Goodyear, Arizona
Posts: 908

Mycool, sir, was there a question or statement in your post?

I can’t speak for the other contributors to this thread. But in my case, I fly in a waivered aerobatic box from surface to 5,000 AGL. When someone pastes FARs, I sense his presumption that a rule is being broken. In this case, nothing could be farther from true. Have a nice day and carry on. Respectfully (from a guy who may have flown CAS for you) — Gash
Karl, Goodyear, Arizona (KGYR) ATP, CFII
Yak 50
=VAF= donor 2021

Last edited by Gash : 05-29-2019 at 03:04 PM.
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