Why was Evel’s jump such a flop?
When Evel Knievel attempted to leap the Snake River Canyon on September 8, 1974, his drogue parachute (designed to slow him down once he had reached full speed) came out as soon as his Sky Cycle left the launch ramp. Without full power, he drifted down into the nearside canyon wall, causing many to say he’d chickened out and pulled the chute early. To his dying day, Knievel denied this and, instead, blamed the builder of his Sky Cycle, Bob Truax. He said” “I waited seven years and then had a malfunction – and the parachute blew out on take-off because of an electrical malfunction. The engineer didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”
Eddie Braun is inclined to believe Knievel, although he doesn’t hold Bob Truax responsible. “I don’t think he pulled the chute early. There’s a million other safer things he could have done to sabotage the attempt. It was more dangerous to drop into the canyon than to land on the other side. He would have known that pulling the chute early would have meant pulling it under thrust. He was very lucky that the steam didn’t just burn the chute.”