Airborne Systems tests new large lighweight canopy

Santa Ana, CA., USA - 24 July, 2010

CATEGORY: Engineering

Airborne Systems, a world leader in parachute technology and products, has successfully completed the first drop test of a large canopy made from the next generation of lightweight materials. The test canopy used provides G-12 cargo parachute capability and performance but with a canopy size and weight equivalent to a current personnel canopy.

 

Bob Shiley, Vice President, of Airborne Systems’ Space and Recovery Systems Group said: “We are delighted with the successful testing of the new large canopy using these in-house developed techniques. Airborne Systems has already produced and delivered a number of small parachutes using this lightweight material for a defense systems application which necessitated the use of these new high performance fabrics..The large canopy testing now opens up the market for additional opportunities”.

 

Airborne Systems has been developing new techniques to construct parachutes from very lightweight fabrics, including bonding techniques necessary to achieve high joint efficiencies. The test canopy was constructed to the same planform and diameter as the very successful 62.2ft main canopy used on the US Airforce BQM-167A aerial target.

 

The initial testing was completed with a test vehicle weighing over 1000 lb, with the aim of providing a capability of recovering payloads up to 2000 lb. The use of lightweight fabric using Dyneema materials developed by Cubic Tech Corporation of Mesa, AZ, has brought the 62.2 ft canopy assembly weight down from approx 42 lb to approx 32 lb – a saving of 23% in canopy assembly weight. This significant weight reduction leads to a reduced pack volume , easier packing of existing canopies or the ability to provide larger parachutes within an existing airframe compartment to accommodate air vehicle weight growth over time. The advantages for use of this material in spacecraft application parachutes include the ability to provide significant weight and /or volume savings in these mass-critical applications.

 

Airborne Systems continues to advance the state-of-the-art in parachute systems technology. A comparison between parachutes built using this lightweight material and equivalent parachutes built with standard Nylon materials can be seen at the Airborne Systems booth No. 3909 at the AUVSI show, (24-27 August 2010, Colorado Convention Center, Denver).

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