More than one chute??

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2009
Reaction score
I've always been leery of big chutes on low power rockets. Sure they're cool but when you fly on small fields like I usually do I just know I'm going to have to recover my rocket from the top of a tree or a roof or walk forever to get it back. Spill holes are certainly a nice solution that work well with all but the most delicate rockets. Another thing I've done is separate the rocket and have the different pieces return on their own chute. Sometimes this might be just the nose cone coming in on it's own chute or streamer while the body has a separate one. Other times I might alter the design a bit so more of the rocket comes down with the nose cone. This way you can cut down on the chute size since you decrease the weight carried by any given recovery device. You of course run into the problem of having to recover each part to get your rocket back into flying shape again.

So I'm finally getting around to finishing up an Estes Big Daddy and I noticed that the nose cone on this thing is reasonably close in weight to the rest of the rocket. Each half could be recovered safely on a 16" chute according to chute size calculators instead of the standard 24" chute. But then I started thinking about not separating the two segments and using two 16" chutes. I normally beef up the shock chord on all kits I build both in terms of strength and length. I've got 3.5 feet of cord between the nose cone and the body tube. I could put one chute on the NC and the other off the shock cord maybe 6" or so from the body tube. Since each half is roughly the same weight they should have similar decent rates with the same size chute. It might make for an impressive looking recovery without the long walk on one of our all too frequent breezy days.

Anyone tried this already? Am I just asking for trouble with the possibility of both chutes tangling? Should I stick with the spill hole?
I've got a prototype 5-footer that separates into 2 sections. If it's breezy I put the lighter bottom portion on a 12" and the heavier nose-fore body section on two 12" chutes.

That looks pretty cool. I just let my Big Daddy come whizzing down under one 18" chute. Beats walking. :cyclops:

I'm not sure how using two chutes vs. one gets you any advantage. If you get the same descent rate from both setups, the rocket will be in the air the same amount of time and drift on the wind the same distance whether it has 1 chute or two.

If you are increasing the descent rate so you get down faster, you can do that with a smaller single chute, larger spill hole, reefing the shrouds, etc.
Dual or multi chutes has some other considerations. On many Competition Scale and PMC models I've used multi chutes with or without teathering the various parts together. One thing I have learned is the nosecone chute is installed FIRST, with all remaining chutes regeadless of size on top of that. This Stacking method ensures all cutes will leave the body unless you've really jammed them in beyond the ejection charges ability to expel them. I'm happy to say this methods works well with all type chutes, Nylon, real silk or plastic.

165d4_XFY-1 Pogo-c1 48th PMC_ ECRM-29_05-19-02 pg.jpg

Saturn-V flt 126b_ 3 chutes_10-11-97.jpg
Last edited: