Parks College Parachute Research Group

Outline of the presentation at the 2005 Parachute Industry Association Symposium

Development of a New Parachute Inflation Modeling Computer Program

presented by Jean Potvin and Gary Peek

Since 2001, the US Army Natick Solider Center and the US Army Yuma Proving Ground have been funding the Parks College Parachute Reseach Group for the development of a new software platform aimed at providing a user-friendly computer program for the the simulation of parachute inflation. Known as PIMS, or Parachute Inflation Modeling Suite, this Windows-based platform uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to facilitate data entry and graphing.

The ultimate goal is to use almost all inflation models that have been published in aeronautical literature to simulate a wide variety of parachute systems, from round-types to ram-air wing types, with or without line or slider reefing.

This presentation will include a live demonstration of the program running on a laptop computer, as a means of demonstrating many of the features of PIMS, as well as comparisons with actual test drop data. The audience will also be invited to watch PIMS produce simulations of parachute systems with parameters specifed by the audience.

About the PCPRG

Started in 1995, the Parks College Parachute Research Group (or PRG) is a university-based Research and Development organization dedicated to the scientific study of the parachute. Located St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, the PRG is a small group of faculty members, their students and a professional consultant working towards a better experimental and theoretical understanding of parachute inflation and flight. Current scientific investigations include a study of ram-air cell pressurization occurring during inflation, and a long term study of riser loading on a large number of sport ram-air canopies. Some of this work has been done with the support of industrial partners such as Irvin Aerospace, Performance Designs and Paranetics Technology.

Jean Potvin

As a professor at St. Louis University, he has been involved in parachute reserch since 1994. His main interest is the study of the aero-physics of the inflation process. He has also been involved in wind tunnel studies and flight tests of sub-scalle and full-scale parachutes. Co-founder of the Parks College Parachute Research Group with Gary Peek he acts as its science and data analysis coordinator. He has a PhD. in Physics from the University of Colorado. He is a USPA rated Instructor with over 2300 jumps and an FAA Senior Parachute Rigger.

Jean has been a speaker at 3 previous PIA International Parachute Symposiums on several parachute research group topics.

Gary Peek

Gary Peek is an active jumper with over 6100 jumps, an FAA rated Master Parachute Rigger, a Commercial Pilot and jump pilot, and a skydiving photographer and videographer. He holds USPA Static Line, AFF, and Tandem Instructor/Examiner ratings and actively teaches student skydivers in all of these training methods.

He has worked in the electronics field in the St. Louis area for many years and has combined his knowledge of electronics with parachutes and skydiving for a number of those years. He co-founded Industrologic, Inc., an industrial electronics company that now manufactures equipment related to parachute drop testing.

In addition to writing computer programs and providing clip art related to skydiving, he also is an author of many articles that have appeared in aviation and skydiving publications. He is the author of the Equipment Color Programs published by Para Publishing and has been doing research on skydiving fall rate using electronic devices since 1990.

Gary has been a speaker at 5 previous PIA International Parachute Symposiums on a variety of topics.

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