An American has become first pilot of a certified light aircraft to survive a mid-air incident by using an emergency ballistic recovery parachute.

Lionel Morrison, a 53-year-old architect from Dallas, Texas, was flying his 11-month-old Cirrus SR22 when the left aileron became detached as he was levelling off at 2000ft.

“The yoke and the left wing started going over. There was a tremendous control force. I thought it was the autopilot going haywire, but it felt like an autopilot on steroids. It was really pulling hard… I couldn’t get it back, it just kept going,” he later reported.

With the aircraft rolling hard left and now down below 1500ft Morrison noticed that the SR22’s port aileron had broken free at one end and was trailing at ninety degrees to the wing.

He headed for an unpopulated area, turned into wind, slowed to 120kt and shut the engine down before triggering the SR22’s Cirrus Aircraft Parachute System (CAPS). The aircraft descended into trees on the edge of a golf course near Lewisville, in Denton County, North Texas. Morrison walked away unharmed.

More details are in the next issue of Flyer (October 24), but you can see pictures at <a href=””>the NBC news website</a>.

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