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Parachutes for Drones - Make Drones Safe Again

Today's drones have incredible technology built in that allows them to virtually fly by themselves. More and more safety features are being added such as altitude limits, no fly zones, obstacles avoidance and smart battery tech, but even with all the those systems, drones are not 100% reliable. That's where Drone Parachutes come in...

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Safetech Rescue Systems for Drones

Today's drones have incredible technology built in that allow them to virtually fly by themselves. More and more safety features are being added such as altitude limits, no fly zones, obstacles avoidance and smart battery tech, but even with all the those systems, drones are not 100% reliable. Mechanical and electrical failures can and do occur along with interference and the dreaded pilot error. It all means that sometimes a drone goes down and that is never a good thing. Most consumer camera drones weigh in at a couple of pounds or more and that much weight in a free fall can cause significant damage or injury. It's not the fall that does it, but the sudden stop at the end and Opale Parachutes aims to turn that sudden stop into a soft landing with drone parachutes.

The Safetech Rescue Parachute Systems are made in France and they can deploy in less than .8 seconds allowing your drone to safely and gently float to the ground in an emergency. The design team consists of aeromodeling experts with a passion for drones and they set out to create a system that didn't require dangerous pyrotechnics yet still provide a fast and reliable ejection of the parachute. Opale provides great customer service too in that if your parachute gets damaged, you can send it in and they will repair it for you.

There is an inherent risk in flying drones on multiple levels and having a safety parachute system on board not only protects the drone, but also property and people. It gives you peace of mind when flying and could one day be mandatory as we are starting to see in other countries. What are your thoughts on Drone Safety and Parachutes? Would you use one? Why or why not?

Check out the Opale Parachutes here.

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Feb 14, 2017, 02:14 PM
Registered User
What activates deployment? Is a radio signal needed or some other mechanical trigger?
Feb 14, 2017, 02:41 PM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
Radio signal from the pilot controller or a separate controller if needed.
Feb 14, 2017, 06:23 PM
Registered User
Hmm I would have thought there'd also be a sensor you could arm in flight with the ability to detect excessive axial thresholds and/or velocities (configurable). Is there are reason not, because it seems like a feature that would be a no-brainer on something like this? It's totally manual?
Feb 14, 2017, 06:38 PM
Registered User
Problem with this system is that with most drones you can carry a camera (and do something useful) or the parachute system, but not both.
Feb 14, 2017, 07:53 PM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
No they are light enough that most drones have no problem with them. Phantoms and larger, any smaller than that and then you would run into power issues.
Feb 14, 2017, 10:28 PM
fly a LiPo a day...
Brainstorm's Avatar
I guess my question is same as with a real parachute. What's the minimum altitude you can jump (deploy) and still save your (drone's) bacon? IOW, a (pseudo) ballistic parachute will only work if you're flying up high. You need some time in free fall for parachute to unfold before you impact ground.
Feb 15, 2017, 12:07 AM
Registered User
Seeing the idiots who are buying these on a daily basis I'm all for it. Normally I wouldn't be for this at all, however many people buying these are not into RC whatsoever and really don't care to learn. I don't know how the larger companies deal with these people. They always say the drone crashed on its own blah blah blah. I wonder how they keep these people happy?
Sorry if I seem so jaded, it just gets old seeing people want something for nothing. Back on topic I think it's a great idea for parachutes especially if they're not too expensive and can be repacked, etc. easily...
Feb 15, 2017, 04:13 AM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm View Post
I guess my question is same as with a real parachute. What's the minimum altitude you can jump (deploy) and still save your (drone's) bacon? IOW, a (pseudo) ballistic parachute will only work if you're flying up high. You need some time in free fall for parachute to unfold before you impact ground.
It says between 2 and 5 meters on the site.
Feb 15, 2017, 08:27 AM
ParachuteDrone.com
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carcharadon View Post
What activates deployment? Is a radio signal needed or some other mechanical trigger?
To further elaborate on Jason's answer, the parachute systems from Opale Paramodels have a servo that you need to plug in your receiver. You may also use a separate receiver for redundancy (required by some countries regulations, eg: France). Or you may also plug it directly on your flight controller, Pixhawk, for example, does support automatic parachute triggering in case of failure. Opale Paramodels also sell a 433 MHz remote control specifically designed for triggering a parachute. If you'd like to know more about how to trigger a parachute on a drone, have a look at this article on my blog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VRS Varmint View Post
Hmm I would have thought there'd also be a sensor you could arm in flight with the ability to detect excessive axial thresholds and/or velocities (configurable). Is there are reason not, because it seems like a feature that would be a no-brainer on something like this? It's totally manual?
This kind of automatic detection does exist, as presented above, the parachute library of Ardupilot can detect a problem and trigger a parachute. For further informations on this subject, have a look at the Ardupilot wiki and the code on GitHub.
Another nice system is the Mayday board by North UAV, a small and lightweight (0.5oz / 14g) board that detect a fall and can deploy a parachute. This system works with almost any parachute as it outputs a PWM signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssobol View Post
Problem with this system is that with most drones you can carry a camera (and do something useful) or the parachute system, but not both.
As stated by Jason, drone parachutes are really design with lightness in mind and a few people does use them on professionals AP rigs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm View Post
I guess my question is same as with a real parachute. What's the minimum altitude you can jump (deploy) and still save your (drone's) bacon? IOW, a (pseudo) ballistic parachute will only work if you're flying up high. You need some time in free fall for parachute to unfold before you impact ground.
Good question, it does depend on a lot of factor, such deployment altitude, ground speed, wind speed, UAV weight, I wouldn't recommend deploying under 10 meters even though I've personally tested this kind of system at 5 meters AGL, on a few successive try and it always successfully deployed.
Feb 15, 2017, 08:54 AM
Registered User

does it include inshurance?


does the company insure the drone when there product is used? (pay for replacing lost/ damage)
Otherwise they do not stand behind there product.
Feb 15, 2017, 09:06 AM
fly a LiPo a day...
Brainstorm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole View Post
It says between 2 and 5 meters on the site.
Thanks, Jason. I have to wonder why their demo videos show the parachute deploying at a (much) higher altitude. 2m (6 ft) is like dropping your drone from the roof of a cargo van. 5m (15 ft) is like dropping your drone out of a second floor window. Seems awfully low to deploy and fully inflate the parachute to be effective in arresting the aircraft's uncontrolled descent.

In any case, ballistic parachutes have been effective in manned ultralights and small piston planes for many years. There have also been ballistic parachutes for drones for some time. So I have no doubt that the technology will mature and become more effective over time. This may not be worth the weight penalty when flying an inspection mission over unpopulated areas. However, when flying over crowds of people, even an incremental improvement in safety is worthwhile.
Feb 16, 2017, 07:39 AM
Registered User
goofyfoot2001's Avatar
Well, until they come in at around fifty bucks, it aint happenin.
Feb 16, 2017, 04:28 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmulder View Post
does the company insure the drone when there product is used? (pay for replacing lost/ damage)
Otherwise they do not stand behind there product.
@ cmulder
does your drone company insure the drone when there product is used?
Do you think that 100% of all flights are absolutely safe? You have never heard of crashes?
I'm wondering why the forums are always full.
Some insurance companies in the commercial sector give a discount for full insurance coverage

Frank
Feb 16, 2017, 04:56 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm View Post
Thanks, Jason. I have to wonder why their demo videos show the parachute deploying at a (much) higher altitude. 2m (6 ft) is like dropping your drone from the roof of a cargo van. 5m (15 ft) is like dropping your drone out of a second floor window. Seems awfully low to deploy and fully inflate the parachute to be effective in arresting the aircraft's uncontrolled descent.

In any case, ballistic parachutes have been effective in manned ultralights and small piston planes for many years. There have also been ballistic parachutes for drones for some time. So I have no doubt that the technology will mature and become more effective over time. This may not be worth the weight penalty when flying an inspection mission over unpopulated areas. However, when flying over crowds of people, even an incremental improvement in safety is worthwhile.
Parachute DJI Inspire 1 - Crash test - Safetech ST60-X Opale Parachutes (1 min 40 sec)


Please check out mInute 1:25

This new rescue parachute system will allow you to secure your drone in any circumstances.

Thanks to its new extracting technology, the parachute is ejected and deployed in less than 0.8s,

Unlike the competitors’ systems, the Safetech® does not apply a permanent pressure on the parachute, which allows to guarantee a safe ejection, a super fast deployment and also a longer parachute shelf life, without repackaging it every week.

One of the main advantages of this technology is that it is pyrotechnic free. Ensuring you this way an easy and safe air transport and maintenance routine, Safetech® prevents uncontrolled explosion risk.

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all information about the Safetech® Series you find here http://www.opale-parachutes.com/gb/46-kits

Frank


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