By Phil Nasskau
Spelco, part of the German pavilion has brought its Gryphon, the next generation of parachute systems. It is an innovative strap-on-wing that allows a parachutist to fly further, and unlike with a traditional jump, it is not dependent on the winds. There are even plans to fit an engine, which would allow a parachutist to ‘fly’ for up to 150km.
Designed specifically for military use the Gryphon is a modular upgrade for existing HAHO (High Altitude High Opening) parachutes. It is presently designed for the TW-9 based parachute system, but it can be modified to accommodate other suitable canopies.
It has a wing span of 1.8m and offers both roll and pitch control. It even has a virtual reality simulator, giving showgoers the chance to strap on some wings. “We have made more than 100 jumps with the latest wing now and so far all of the calculated targets have been met.
Presently we have only flown the glider version, but once we work on the engined version we’re confident that a range of at least 150km will be possible,” says Frank Carreras, Spelco programme manager, training and development.
The powered version will use simple and inexpensive turbojet engines designed for small UAVs, and although lacking the power for take-off; should be able to maintain straight-and-level for a period of time.
“Using Gryphon for HAHO operations is ideal. Although it cannot carry as much payload as just a parachute, the advantage is clearly in time-saving and speed. If using a parachute from 30,000ft the drop could take 45minutes. With our Gryphon it could take only five,” says Carreras.
The heaviest part of the Gryphon is the parachute, weighing about 20kg. The wing itself weighs 15kg and will feature a flight support system to aid the critical flight phases. It is designed for stealthy operation and features a built in trunk – with a capacity of 100litres and a 50kg payload. “Its payload capability is less than just using a parachute, but typically the special forces missions that would use it last around three days. It has ample space for their needs,” adds Carreras.
Source: Flight Daily News