When a drone malfunctions and stops working during flight, there’s not much a drone pilot can do except to wait for it to come down. Various companies, like AVSS, Drone Rescue Systems, or ParaZero, have already developed parachute systems to help the drone descend safely to the ground. To mitigate potential damage caused by wind dragging a drone along the ground after landing with a parachute, Fruity Chutes, a manufacturer of recovery systems for UAV, has released the Raven On-Landing Parachute Release (ROPR).
Specifically designed for UAV and rocketry use, the patent-pending ROPR is a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use device that allows a parachute to be automatically released from a payload upon landing. The device features an internal hold timer to make sure the parachute doesn’t release while opening, or earlier than anticipated by using a 4 to 6 second timer that starts counting only when the drone is on a steady descent. After that, the hold timer rotates to allow for release, which happens only after landing when the pull of the parachute unloads.
Gene Engelgau, CEO of Fruity Chutes, came up with the ROPR device solution after seeing rockets, which are more durable than drones, take a lot of damage by being dragged along the floor after a parachute landing.
“I’ve personally seen, after landing in windy conditions, valuable high-power rockets get dragged for miles and take on heavy damage,” Engelgau said. “One time, we had to drive to chase a rocket being dragged, and my son had to tackle the rocket to stop it. I designed the Raven device with the intention of helping others prevent this high-stress situation.”
As parachute-equipped drones can be a critical piece for acquiring a BVLOS operation approval, Fruity Chutes’ complementary solution can only help to strengthen future waiver requests.
Available now in limited quantities for testing and evaluation, the ROPR can be “a huge benefit” not only for landing drones and rockets but also for water drop payloads such as sonobuoys, where the payload needs to detach after splashdown, airdrop cargo systems, people undergoing ASTM flight testing to minimize damage from multiple test flights where wind conditions can damage the drone being tested, and more.