Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) has air-dropped two varieties of the quarter-sphere parachute that will be used for its Next Generation Parachute System (NGPS), one designed to handle a 1,630kg (3,600lb) aircraft and one for aircraft weighing as much as 2,500kg.

The Minnesota-based company expects to complete development of the NGPS by the end of this year. Its largest parachute to date is a 16.5m (54ft)-diameter ballistic product approved to carry as much as 1,540kg. Two manufacturers use BRS parachutes as standard equipment in their single-engined aircraft - Cirrus Design for the SR20 and SR22, and Flight Design for its light sport aircraft. Launch customer for the new 5500 parachute, measuring 20m in diameter, is likely to be Diamond Aircraft for it single-engined D-Jet. BRS has shipped 25,000 parachutes, with 3,100 installed in certificated aircraft, says BRS vice-president of sales John Gilmore.

In addition to carrying more weight, the new parachutes will also drop the aircraft to the ground at a more leisurely pace. Gilmore says the target steady-state descent rate (at 5,000ft density altitude) for both the 3600 and the 5500 will be less than 1,500ft/min (7.6m/s), compared with 1,620ft/min for today's 16.5m-diameter chute. The additional F111 nylon material needed to slow the descent rate amounts to about 18kg for the 3600, says Gilmore.

The company is "tuning" the parachutes to open roughly 8s after the deployment, with a time delay linked to the parachute's slider (a device that softens opening of the chute) and the size of the vent at the top of the canopy. Opening times on previous tests were about 15s.

Source: Flight International