VIDEO: Watch parachute save falling drone

Heliguy has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of a drone safety parachute for DJI’s Matrice Series – which dramatically slowed the aircraft’s fall from the sky during a simulated crash.

We equipped the M210 – popular with the emergency services – with the ParaZero SafeAir Parachute, which is now available to buy from Heliguy.

We recently tested the parachute in front of police representatives. The special demonstration was a success – with the parachute kicking into action and bringing the drone to ground in a safe descent.

The drone would have fallen from the sky almost four times faster without the parachute

The simulated crash began when the Matrice was 55-metres high. The power was purposely cut and the drone began to fall from the sky. Almost instantly, the parachute automatically opened up (after detecting flight failure) and slowed the UAV’s descent considerably. The wind speed was 11mph, blowing in a north-westerly direction.

Following the power outage and the rapid deployment of the parachute, it took the drone just over 14 seconds to hit the deck. Without the parachute, it would have taken the Matrice less than 3.5 seconds to fall the same distance.

Cases of drones falling from the sky are very rare, but the parachute is a great safety feature and provides reassurance in case of an unexpected emergency 

On top of this, the drone only incurred minor damage – the landing gear and Lightbridge antenna snapped on impact with the floor. Falling at speed without the parachute, the drone would have suffered more significant damage – possibly even a write-off. 

Benefits Of The Drone Parachute

In a real-world scenario, the increased safety of the parachute has multiple benefits.

As well as the Matrice 200 Series, a ParaZero SafeAir Parachute is also available for the DJI Phantom series (except the Phantom 4 RTK) and the M600. The SafeAir Mavic 2, Enterprise and Enterprise Dual is coming soon

Firstly, a slower descent helps to minimise damage to property and reduces the risk to members of the public. It also gives greater time to react to an unexpected drone failure.

The parachute ensures a much slower descent, minimising damage to property and the drone itself

This is particularly useful and reassuring for the emergency services, who can acquire special exemptions to fly over buildings and people.

The parachute is a completely autonomous system. The parachute is triggered automatically using the independent sensors based on a predefined set of parameters. The parachute is automatically activated in cases of free fall and breach of roll/pitch angle

A slower, more cushioned landing also means less damage to the drone itself – reducing the cost of subsequent repairs.

The demonstration was very successful and the parachute deployed almost instantaneously once the motor-stop was initiated at a height of 55 metres



Ben Shirley, UAS (unmanned aerial systems) Instructor at Heliguy

The image gallery below shows the demonstration, from the drone beginning to fall, the parachute springing into action upon descent and the UAV dropping to the floor. The final image shows the Matrice after impact.

 

How Does The Drone Parachute Enhance Safety?

The ParaZero SafeAir is an intelligent solution for increasing safety when using drones.

The parachute is compatible with a variety of Matrice 200 configurations, including the 210 RTK. It can be integrated with the M200 V1s and V2s

It’s a totally autonomous system that prevents drones from crashing back to the ground if there is an error during flight.

This extra layer of protection is crucial on drone operations that involve flying over people or property.

The parachute works with dual gimbal set-up featured on the Matrice 210 and 210 RTK

This Matrice 200 parachute system uses sensors totally independent of the drone itself to monitor inconsistencies in the flight. If a critical failure occurs, power to the motors is terminated and the parachute will automatically deploy in a fraction of a second. 

An alarm is also activated to alert anyone nearby of the descending drone.

The drone is brought back down to the ground through a much slower descent, minimising damage to equipment or property.

The drone’s motors are automatically terminated to ensure that the props don’t tangle the parachute’s cords.

The deployment system has been extensively tested by both ParaZero and third-party organisations to give drone operators real peace of mind.

Even with the cost of repairs, coupled with the price of the parachute and repackaging costs, you would still be saving a decent amount of money, compared to if you didn’t have the parachute



BEN SHIRLEY, UAS (UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS) INSTRUCTOR AT HELIGUY

The parachute also works at low and high altitude and the drone’s motors are automatically terminated to ensure that the props don’t tangle the parachute’s cords. The batteries are disconnected once an unexpected descent begins, but remain with the drone.

The parachute does not stop you from using a dual payload on your Matrice drone, but when the chute is attached, payloads can only be integrated in the downward gimbal position. The parachute for the M200 Series weighs 1.63lbs/40 grams.

Thoughts About The Drone Parachute

 

Heliguy’s UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Instructor Ben Shirley was part of the demonstration crew. He was impressed with the performance of the parachute, saying that it deployed very quickly and that it did not impact the handling of the aircraft prior to the fall.

He said: “The demonstration was very successful and the chute deployed almost instantaneously once the motor stop was initiated at a height of 55m.”

He added: “The chute then fully deployed within an approximate 10m decent and the aircraft landed about 40m from the drop point. The only damage to the Matrice was to the landing gear and Lightbridge antenna, both of which snapped on impact, however easily repaired by our expert technical team. 

“Even with the cost of this repair, coupled with the price of the parachute and repackaging costs, you would still be saving a decent amount of money, compared to if you didn’t have the parachute.” 

He continued: “The aircraft handling after fitting the parachute system was virtually indistinguishable, although obviously flight time was marginally reduced due to the increased mass.

“I was very impressed by the ease of use of the system which integrates easily into the aircraft pre-flight checks and the indicator LED provides added assurance that the system is armed.”

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