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Old September 27th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Parachuting Off a Skyscraper

Czech parachutes for skyscraper emergency not selling well- press
11 September 2006
Ceska Tiskova Kancelar

Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) - Czech-made special parachutes for emergency jumping from skyscrapers, developed in reaction to the September 2001 terrorist attack on the WTC towers in New York, do not sell well though they could save people's lives in similar hopeless situations, the daily Pravo writes today.

The parachutes, an original Czech invention unseen elsewhere in the world, have been produced by the Czech firm Stratos 07.

After the terrorist attack five years ago, the U.S. company Evacuchute turned to Czechs with a request for such a parachute.

"We were developing such product at the time, it was almost complete. We tested it and made the final touches in cooperation with them [Evacuchute]," Pravo quotes Stratos 07 owner Josef Straka as saying.

The Americans originally wanted to push through the parachutes as compulsory equipment in all skyscapers. The plan, however, fell through and the parachutes - not required by law - have been selling rather poorly. It is also because they are quite expensive, $1,895 apiece, in a situation where lots of them would be needed in the USA's numerous skyscrapers.

The parachutes have thus been spoken about rather than traded in, Pravo writes.

It took Stratos 07 three years to develop the special parachutes. First, they were tested in throws from cranes and later from buildings under various wind conditions, and afterwards jumps were made from planes, from a balloon and finally also from buildings, Straka told the daily.

After more than 200 test actions, which culminated by a jump from a skyscraper in Prague-Pankrac, the parachute was complete.

Unlike a standard parachute, the special one can serve to safely jump from as low as the 12th floor, and can be adjusted for even lower altitudes. Unlike standard parachutes, the Czech ones do not approximate to the building's wall but tend to deflect from it while sinking along, Straka says.
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