Guide to Parachutes

Parachute : What is it?


Parachutes usually consist of a series of cords holding up a sheet of fabric, called a canopy, which is usually nylon with a waterproof silicone coating. The edges of the fabric are fitted with loops or metal links, where the cords are attached. When in use, the parachute relies mainly on the object's weight to pull it down. The fabric creates drag by forcing some of the air up, thus resisting the downward direction of the fall. 

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Types of Parachutes


Kinds of Parachutes include the following:

Round parachutes

Round parachutes have single-layer, dome-shaped canopies. They are commonly used in cargo unloading and emergency and military applications. They are used mainly for downward drag, although some varieties can be steered.

Ribbon and ring parachutes

These parachutes are designed for going at high speeds. They have large ring-shaped canopies that can be broken into ribbons for releasing large amounts of pressure. Some models contain smaller parachutes that are released at regular intervals to create more drag.

Ram-air parachutes

Ram-air or square parachutes are self-inflating, with a square canopy made of airfoil instead of nylon. The canopy is composed of two layers of fabric with high-pressure air trapped in between, which inflates the canopy under high pressure. They allow a fair amount of control and steering, but are far less mobile than paragliders.

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Choosing Parachutes (Buying tips)

Capacity: Make sure your parachute is designed to support your body size and weight. Heavier people need larger canopies and thicker cords. The parachute's capacity should be clearly indicated on the package. Be sure to consider any equipment you may be carrying with you when choosing the right capacity.

Canopy size: Choose a parachute canopy that is large enough to create drag and support your weight, but small enough to open and set up quickly. This is especially important if you are buying parachutes for emergency use. For general use and for most body weights, 24 to 26 inches is a reasonable range.

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