Parachute Recovery Testing Round 1

My buddy Steve and I went out to the field to do some autonomous take-off, landing, and tuning but I forgot my RC radio antenna so we went back to get it and during the 10 minute drive back we decided to throw a parachute on the Skywalker and see what would happen.
Steve is my go to guy for all things mechanical and chute related. He is a mechanical engineer, a professional level sky diver and a certified Kite board instructor. In other words, the guy you want to go to when it comes to tethered flying things…
Well it was obvious that he really wanted to see one of my UAVs fall from the sky while attached to one of his chutes, so I quickly rigged up a deployment system using a servo and rubber band. All in all, not bad for 7 minutes of work.
The first flight was nearly the last but somehow gained enough elevator authority to barely pull it out of a death dive and performed an old “cart wheel landing”. The rest of the chute landings were actually not bad though we never managed to properly clear the air frame so that the chute was attached only to the wing spar. Instead the shock cord got caught up on either the horizontal stabilizer or the motor.
Although the landings are hard, the only damage occurred on the first test and it simply opened an old wound on the nose from a previous crash. Some hot glue took care of it. The AUW is under 4.5 lbs and a 58″ chute might be a bit small so next tests may be with a 70″ chute.
The method of deployment definitely needs to be re-worked…

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