Jump Fearless: Complete Guide on How Parachutes Work

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Knowing how parachutes work is a very common curiosity, especially among those who wish to go skydiving. As well, learning the proceeding of the equipment during a free fall is a good alternative in order to lose the fear of skydiving.

Aware of it, we have prepared a special post to explain: how do parachutes work? Check it out!

What is a Parachute?

A parachute is an equipment used to slow down the speed of a falling object. The first devices with this function looked like an umbrella, until they were developed by Leonardo da Vinci in the XV century.

Nowadays, the parachutes are used for:

  • Sports usage;
  • Recreational usage;
  • In planes;
  • By the Armed Forces;
  • Send of loads, such as food, clothes and medicines.

The format of the parachute also interferes on how it works. The two main shapes are:  

  • Rounded: doesn’t have any maneuverability. It only brings the person or load safely to the ground;
  • Rectangular: can develop a flying performance similar to the wings opf a plane, totally maneuverable, safe and precise.

The parachute and parachuting equipment has changed a lot through the years and today, due to lots of technologies, we use the most efficient and safest gear in history.

SkydiveFoz specialties are the tandem jump – recreational – and the sports jump, for athletes from all categories.

The sports or tandem jump parachute is made by the following components:  

  • Main canopy: parachute used constantly in jumpings;
  • Reserve canopy: parachute used in case of an emergency, when the main one opens with problems or doesn’t open;
  • Pilot chute: a “mini parachute”, rounded, that triggers the parachute, both the main and reserve – each one with it pilot chute. When the parachute is open it remains flying over it;
  • Drogue chute: it is also a “mini parachute”, but bigger than the pilot chute. It is used only in the tandem jump equipment and its function is to slow down the speed of the tandem jump;
  • AAD: automatic activation device that force the reserve parachute to open automatically, in case of any the parachutes are triggered;
  • Container or harness: backpack that stores the canopies, AAD and the pilot chute.

How do Parachutes Opening Work?

Every parachute has an opening sequence and, in every executed part, the speed is being reduced. Until the moment of the end of the fall and starting to fly with the canopy that will be inflated over over your head, the deceleration is gradual, so, there isn’t any hard impacts.

When you are in free fall at 200 or until 300 km/h it is necessary to trigger the parachute, so it the pilot chute is pulled and the opening gets started. It inflates, pulls the bag of the parachute stored in the container and in the sequence of opening the lines are loosening – the lines are tied by specific parachuting rubbers to the bag.  

Right after, it is the time of the canopy gets out of the bag and inflate, completely opening the parachute. Then, it is just needed to steer it until the landing.

With the open canopy, the speed slows down to approximately 30 km/h. So as to pilot the parachute, it is used “toggles” that allow you moving to the right or left, as well as slow down the speed for landing, when the both are pulled at the same time.

In tandem jumps, the equipment used is specific for this kind of jumping. The main characteristic of it is the “drogue chute”, released within 10 seconds after leaving the airplane.  

The drogue chute adjusts the speed of free fall in the jumping. The trigger of it is done by a “release” – a ball placed in both side of the equipment. In the tandem jump, all of these procedures are done by the qualified instructor. The student just has to enjoy the moment!      

What if the Parachute Doesn’t Open?

Problems triggering the main parachute in uncommon. However, in every case, there is also a reserve parachute ready to use if it happens.

In emergency situations, the main parachute is unplugged and the reserve is activated immediately. The reserve parachute has the same opening sequence of any other parachute, so, after it is open, just follow the procedures until the land.

Who Folds the Parachute?

The parachute folding is one of the most important steps of the skydiving. The main parachute is folded every jump by a qualified folder or the parachutist him/herself.

The reserve parachute must be folded by a certificated professional and following the factory patterns. Also, the folding of the reserve parachute has an expiration date of 6 months, and it is necessary to refold it after this time.

In this folding, all of the equipment gets through a careful evaluation done by the professional that approves the usage of that gear, certificating the safety conditions required to be used in the jumping.

Enjoyed learning how the parachutes work? Share with you friends on social media!

Images: SkydiveFoz and Aliexpress.

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