Other parachute types, recovery methods

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Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2003
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I've recovered all of my rockets so far using a standard parachute or streamer. They work great, but I want to try some new recovery methods. I am already beggining to experiment with a para-streamer (see my post on this) Now I know of tuble recovery and helicopter recovery, does anyone have any other parachute plans I can try out or any other recovery methods?

heres my "reverse" para-streamer..

instead of rocket-streamer-parachute

mine is rocket-parachute-streamer... difference? the streamer has a spill hole it in the same diameter as the streamer width
NASA has been using air-bag recovery; and I have been thinking about how to do this for a model rocket!

You could always use glide recovery, which can now be simulated using the techniques I developed for RockSim.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
These are intersting chutes - used for weather dropsondes.

I've made a simple one myself.
Its just a square cone, 18" x 18", with equilateral triangular sides.
on mine, I just cut of about 1" from the apex and attached 4 shroud lines.

Two benefits: they are very stable, and open very slowly ( about
5-10 seconds to fully inflate) - so no opening shock.


That's neat..

How about this.. I have seen the small parafoils at the beach.. They use four control lines.. Maybe with a 2 channel radio and some sort of servo mechanism to pull the the control lines.. You could have guided recovery.. Just steer her home.. You could have a default setting so it flies in a circle without a radio..

Any thought's ???

Do you have any size comparisons for the square cone parachutes to a regular parachute? I'm just wondering if a 12" square cone would be equal to a 12" flat parachute. Maybe some testing is in order :eek:

The square cone parachutes were developed by NCAR in the early 90's to recover radiosondes from 100 kft. They work very well.

NCAR patented the design and liscenced it to Vasala, a major manufacturer of radiosondes. Unfortunately this means that other commercial manufacturers may not use the design until the patent expires, however there should be no restriction on using this design for your own personal non-commercial use.

Bob Krech
I'll be brave & mention the aerobrake recovery method... See Art Applewhite's rockets, especially his Qubits. Those are the highest flying rockets he sells, but ALL of his kits are draggy designs that do not need a "traditional" recovery mechanism... While it might be easy for someone to say "That's no recovery system!" Let me just say "That's no recovery system TO FAIL." :D It works everytime :) Not to mention that it couldn't be any easier to prep!

andyc is amazing when it comes to new chute designs (at least in use for rockets). He's already mentioned the dropsonde device here & a while back there was a thread that he discussed a cone-band chute that seemed really cool (although I was unsuccessful in convincing him to mass produce them! hehe ;) )
edwardw: - my guess is that, size-for-size, a square cone is less efficient than a standard chute. Its shape is in effect more streamlined, hence lower drag. I believe it was designed for high stability, and safe high-speed deployment, rather than maximium drag. Once inflated, it is in effect more of a ballute than a parachute. Now there's an alternative recovery technique....

lalligood:- yeah, never did get round to mass-producing that cone-band chute !! Still, pretty easy to make your own;)
It looks interesting - I'm going to have to try one. I like the idea of high speed deployment. Thanks for enlightening us all :)
edwardw - just as an idea, if you do a search on the web under 'ballute', there's some really interesting work being done on inflatable decellerators, especially for planetary probes etc..

here's one for starters: LINK
Earlier I saw that page - some really interesting stuff. They even have some water deployment tests :) I'm going to see if I can get a high speed camera and do some deployment testings in our schools wind tunnel. I would just love to look at the footage of different chute inflating. As well as create some with 'errors' (ie tangled cords, blown panels) to see how they react in deployment.