• An Integrated Data Acquisition System for Parachute Development and Qualification Testing

      Starbuck, Philip; PSG and Associates (International Foundation for Telemetering, 2010-10)
      The development and qualification of personnel and cargo aerial delivery parachute systems present unique challenges to the instrumentation and data analysis engineers. Some of the areas that must be addressed include: a) system must be low in cost, b) system often has to be operated on ranges that have limited telemetry or other range instrumentation and support (i.e. commercial skydiving centers), c) system is often rigged and operated by parachute support personnel and test jumpers rather than instrumentation engineers, and d) system must be able to be reconfigured in the field to support a variety of test card requirements during a typical test day, e) data must be available for review and the system be prepared for the next test within a few minutes of parachute recovery, and f) system must withstand ground impact velocities as high as 50 ft/sec (15.24 m/sec) without damage. This paper describes such a system as it is being used for the development and qualification testing of a number of parachute systems for sport skydiving, military personnel, as well as cargo parachute systems. This modular system has been developed as a result of previous experience in other parachute development and qualification projects to address the need for a flexible Data Acquisition System (DAS) system that meets the above requirements. This paper describes some of the tools used to meet these requirements.