Fruity Chutes: New Drone Parachute Release Protects Payloads

fruity chutesCA -based Fruity Chutes, a manufacturer of  parachute recovery systems for drones and other aerospace systems, has launched a critical piece of the recovery solution: the Raven On-Landing Parachute Release (ROPR).  The ROPR (patent pending) allows a parachute to be released automatically from a payload upon landing – limiting the damage caused if a payload is dragged along the ground by the wind. “Unlike other on-landing release devices, the Raven On-Landing Parachute Release is designed specifically for UAV and rocketry use and is lightweight, compact, and easy to use,” says a company press release.

Drone parachutes have a major benefit in commercial operations.  As an extra level of safety in case of an unexpected failure, drone parachute systems have been instrumental in helping commercial operators receive waivers for flight over people.  For commercial or scientific flights using expensive airframes and sometimes even more expensive sensors, a drone parachute can mitigate payload loss or damage.

While a seemingly simple device, the ROPR is actually a sophisticated solution.  “In order to work reliably, the ROPR has an internal hold timer that assures the parachute will not be released early after initial deployment due to opening bounce or other deployment shocks. The hold timer locks the device while the parachute is opening and unstable,” says the release. “After being under chute in steady descent for between 4 to 6 seconds, the hold timer rotates to allow for release only after landing – when the pull of the parachute unloads. Under no conditions can the parachute release early as long as the main parachute is open and the ROPR remains under load.”

Fruity Chutes doesn’t limit their solution to drones: they can also be used for rockets and other unmanned systems.  “Additional uses include, but are not limited to, water drop payloads such as sonobuoys, where the payload needs to detach after splashdown, and airdrop cargo systems,” the release points out.  “For people undergoing ASTM flight testing, the ROPR can minimize damage from multiple test flights where wind conditions can damage the drone being tested.”

“I’ve personally seen, after landing in windy conditions, valuable high-power rockets get dragged for miles and take on heavy damage,” said Gene Engelgau, CEO of Fruity Chutes. “One time, we had to drive to chase a rocket being dragged, and my son had to tackle the rocket to stop it. I designed the Raven device with the intention of helping others prevent this high-stress situation.”

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