Mylar 'Chutes

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Well-Known Member
Jan 30, 2003
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GOt to fly last weekend and figured I'd take a new batch of Mylar chutes I'd bought last fall out for a spin. Wish I hadn't. Out of four flight I got one deployment. They didn't melt or burn and they ejected fine, didn't tangle, but just stayed folded up while falling out of the sky.

I hadn't brought any PE chutes (my bad) and figured that they HAD to work, so I just kept trying. Any one had similar problems?

How do you pack your chutes?

I rarely have chute failures...Do you repack your chutes before each flight?

Do you store your chutes in the rockets?

All no-no's

I used one 12" Estes plastic chute (the cheap ones pre-tied in China) 8 times in 8 different rockets just to see if it could be can but 8 is about their limit.

I repack (refold) mylar chutes backwards from how they are stored so they don't "remember" their folded position.

I've only had experience with one mylar chute thus far (got several more rookies eager to fly though!) and it did very well on its flights, until the failure that really wasn't a chute failure as much as a rocketeer failure - Too short a delay and the chute came out when the rocket was moving WAY too fast. Zippered the tube, broke 1 of the shrouds, and tore 2 more loose. But again, that was my fault, not the chute's!

I tend to stay away from Mylar. I have had problems with the chutes staying folded, and I know how to pack and store them properly. I use nylon almost exclusively now. Much more reliable in my experience. I do use some plastic, but not much.
I agree with rbeckey: ripstop chutes are ABSOLUTELY the way to go.

I too have had TERRIBLE results with mylar: at least 7 attempts that I can remember and ZERO good recoveries.

I've you have to fold 'em backwards and all that nonsense - I'm out. Ripstop you just unfurl them, make sure you let them hang there unpacked for a little bit before packing in your rocket, and let 'er rip.

I've got several Thrustline ripstop chutes from flying_silverado and they work beautifully. In fact, I have more on the way to make sure I'm stocked up for the upcoming NSL. I have one 18" thrustline chute that I've launched 13 times that I can remember in probably equally as many rockets and she still looks "good as new." One rocket comes down, detach the parachute (using the swivel-clip, of course) and attach it to the next one. Pack it up and launch!
When I'm using mylar: Before each flight (I may look foolish) I spin in a circle letting the wind/air deploy the chute to see its preformance. Then I fold it up and I'm good to go. Doing this I've never had a problem. Even with plastic.
Mylar also tends to be very temperature sensitive. In the cold, they get pretty stiff, even more so than plastic chutes do.
Looking as all the responses to this thread I didn't see anyone mention or suggest powdering your Estes plastic, mylar or drycleaner bag chutes??? In 30 some years of flying I think I can count the number of Plastic wad recovery flights i've logged on one hand... Why??? Talc baby powder. I powder the heck out of both sides before folding. I always refold my chutes before flying but DO store them folded in the rockets. I usually preprep models for a particular launch the day before, repowdering and repacking the chutes as I go. Don't use Corn Starch baby powders unless you like flaming models and chutes!
I also find it helps to crumple new plastic or mylar chutes several times before their first use. Grab the mylar by an edge and crumple into a very tight ball, smooth out, grap another corner and so on around the chute. 6 to 8 times is usually enough to loosen up the material. but the baby powder is essential to ensure the chute opening no matter the temp -0 to 100+degrees.
Think about stuffing a 42" or 48" 1/4mil metalized mylar chute into a BT-50 size competition PD model, knowing for sure it's going to open everytime! A generous dusting of talc baby powder is the answer to Plastic Wad recovery problems:).
Nylon is ok but adds weight and bulk. For small to medium Mod-Rocs their un-necessary if you add a small bottle of talc baby powder to your range box.
Hope this VERY OLD Time, low tech competition remedy helps.
To add to what micro said, the talc also works on streamers. I use some teflon streamers that like to stick to themselves when packed tightly, and the talc helps keep that from happening.

Actually WW:
I use talc powder on all my recovey devices, chute or streamer, teflon, plastic, silk, even on my nylon hemi-chutes to add a tracking cloud at ejection.

If you'd like to add a little color to your chute opening tracking powder, I make my own using a 50/50 mixture of talc and dry tempra color or one of a number Chalk-line chalks. By cutting the tempra or chalk with talc we almost half the weight, without decreasing the density of the ejection cloud. Believe it or not one of the very best colors tested for overcast skies is yellow!!! very dense,dark cloud against the greys;) Just remember if using tempra hi humidity and rain will cause a mess unless you wipe the model down immedately after the flight:)

I'll take a few pics of some of the premixed powders t, squeeze bottles and such this evening...This is another of those "I thought this was a "Standard Practice" things I'd never think to take photos of...Maybe a series page of powdering a chute and streamer??? Anyone out here already have anything like that?