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Foldable, adaptive, steerable, textile wing structure for aircraft emergency recovery and heavy load delivery

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Safe manoeuvring for parachute landing

From Leonado da Vinci's first parachute sketches till today's more modern versions, many new designs of the parachute have been developed. Most modern parachutes are of the self-inflating "ram-air" type, able to autonomously land at a designated point.

Industrial Technologies

All ram-air parafoils have a canopy consisting of an upper and lower surface. The two surfaces are connected by airfoil-shaped fabric ribs to form "cells." These cells are inflated by ram air entering through specially designed openings in the front of the canopy to form a gliding airfoil. A successful large-scale ram-air gliding parachute system requires quality dynamic flare manoeuvre. In an ideal situation, at the moment of the payload touch down the velocities, both horizontal and in particular the vertical, should tend to zero. Despite the fact that such a condition is practically impossible, the limitation of the sink rate at landing to values less than 3m/s is feasible. The study of the behaviour of the parafoil system requires numerical simulation which takes into account many factors, such as the number of bodies, the rigidity and the number of degrees of freedom of the considered system. In the context of the FASTWING project, a 2-D model has been selected, assuming that the landing flare manoeuvre takes place without any lateral motion. Numerous simulations were performed varying the major parameters, such as flare initiation altitude, flare speed and the aerodynamic model. The results obtained gave input for the design of the FASTWING canopy and the improvement of braking efficiency. Moreover, they are expected to form the basis for further optimisation of the landing flare manoeuvre with significant benefits for designers and manufacturers of parafoils and ram-air gliding parachutes.

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