SANTA FE, Argentina -- A pilot with the RANS Air Brigade saved his life in miraculous fashion when his plane fell out of the sky during a flying display in Santa Fe, Argentina.
The accident happened on Sunday afternoon, August 15, at El Trebol aviation club, where Dino Moline was performing aerobatics, when a wing suddenly broke off and the plane plunged towards the ground.
The 3,000 spectators who had been enjoying the show thought that it was part of the display when Moline managed to activate the ballistic parachute system which is fitted to protect the whole aircraft.
The plane fell about 500 metres to the west of the public area and caught fire, according to the internet site SFnoticias.com.ar
Three fire crews were on the scene but the pilot got out of the cockpit unaided and unharmed.
The announcer at the "Show Aereo 2010" reassured the crowd that the pilot was fine. Three of the aircraft had been prepared to display at the event.
On the website, Moline described his shock at the moment the wing fell off like "an explosion".
"I don't know what happened to me, I believe that it was metal fatigue and I felt an explosion. I saw a shadow passing to the side of me and it was the wing. So I listened to Cesar (Faristocco) who yelled at me over the radio to deploy the parachute, which I did. I didn't think of anything, I saw fire inside the plane and I despaired a little. My foot got burned but I'm fine," said Moline on the website.
Rans Aircraft are used almost exclusively for air shows. They are made in the United States, cost around $60,000 and unloaded weigh 230 kilos.
These models have ballistic parachutes which protect the pilot and plane from unforeseen events.