A Plane, A Parachute … But It’s Not The Pilot Who ‘Hits The Silk’

Running out of fuel with no land in sight, this pilot was fortunate to be flying a single-engine aircraft equipped with a parachute – for the plane.

Since 2004, the Sirrus SR22 has been the world’s most popular single-engine four-seat aircraft. Its performance and range are two reasons, but the plane is also equipped with CAPS – Cirrus Airframe Parachute System.

In this video shot by the Coast Guard, the CAPS might have prevented a tragedy.

The pilot was flying from Tracy, Calif., to Maui. Flying solo in a single-engine aircraft across a vast ocean reminds of Charles Lindbergh. In this case, the pilot had that icy feeling of panic when he realized the transfer of fuel from the aft auxiliary to the main tanks was inoperable.

Realizing he would run out of fuel 200 miles short of land, he radioed the Coast Guard. The pilot deployed his plane’s parachute after being routed to a nearby cruise ship, which rescued him from his raft after the plane ditched and sank.