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Parachute Deployment Bags, Parachute Liners, Nomex Blankets

Deployment bag, parachute liner, and Nomex blanket by Fruity Chutes

Deployment bags, parachute liners, and Nomex blankets serve a variety of purposes for drone recovery systems, rocketry, and the realm of UAS as a whole. Of the three, parachute deployment bags are the most complex and serve the most demanding applications, especially those with large parachutes. Parachute liners come second in complexity, and Nomex blankets are the most basic of the three. Though all different, a number of their applications and benefits overlap.

Benefits of using a Parachute Deployment Bag, Parachute Liner, or Nomex Blanket:

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Parachute Deployment Bags

Parachute descending with attached parachute deployment bag, display of open and folded deployment bag

What is a Parachute Deployment Bag?

Parachute deployment bags are highly useful in ensuring successful parachute deployment. They allow the canopy to open in an orderly manner by maintaining the folding and organization of the canopy and shroud lines within the airframe until the point of ejection.

For use in UAV recovery, such as rocket or drone parachute deployment systems, the main parachute is neatly z-folded and stowed inside of the deployment bag. The shroud lines are then z-folded and stowed under elastic straps sewn to the outside of the bag. This allows the lines to lengthen in a controlled manner without any twisting or tangling.

Parachute deployment bags such as the CDB-3 through CDB-75 series are designed to require minimal force to pull out the shroud lines. When packed, only a few shakes of the bag will cause the parachute to fall out. The bag also includes a top loop for attaching a pilot or drogue parachute and, optionally, a leash for connecting the deployment bag to the main parachute (so as to not lose the bag).

Recovery tethers and line cutters usable with deployment bags and other parachute recovery systems

Additional devices such as a recovery tether or cable cutter / line cutter (pictured above) can be paired with a parachute deployment bag to restrain the packed main parachute and deployment bag, holding it inside the UAV until you want the main to deploy.

Applications - When to Use a Parachute Deployment Bag?

Passive Deployment

Fixed wing systems descending after passive deployment of parachutes Deployment bag and parachute for fixed wing drone recovery

UAV recovery systems using passive deployment, such as fixed wing, use continuous forward flight and an extraction parachute (i.e. the pilot or drogue parachute) to pull the main parachute from the airframe. In most cases, a hatch opens and the ensuing airflow catches the pilot parachute. This pulls the deployment bag from the airframe, and the main parachute slips from the bag to then expand and carry the payload to the ground.

Medium to Large Parachutes

The use of a deployment bag becomes increasingly valuable as parachute size increases. Parachute deployment bags serve to organize the canopy and shroud lines in order to prevent wrapping and twisting when the parachute is deployed. As the parachute size increases, so does the amount of fabric and the number and length of shroud lines. More material means more opportunities for the canopy to become tangled, thereby risking failure to open and putting the payload in jeopardy. This presents the need for a container that can reliably eject and open in an orderly manner: the parachute deployment bag.

Parachute deployment bags are primarily used for medium to large parachutes. They are generally unnecessary for smaller parachutes around 5 ft or less in diameter. For medium parachutes around 7 ft, a deployment bag is highly beneficial, and they are virtually necessary for large canopies of 12 ft or more.

Simplify Folding and Packing Techniques

Side view of packed parachute deployment bag Above view of packed parachute deployment bag

How you fold and pack your parachute can also determine whether a parachute deployment bag suits your situation. For the parachute to successfully open, it must be properly folded and packed with techniques that prevent wrapping for both the shroud lines and the canopy.

For those familiar with this process, you may be able to fly medium parachutes just fine without an extra containment method. As previously described, when using larger sizes of 12 ft or more, the added organization is incredibly helpful.

As for those who know that folding and packing isn’t their strong suit: no worries! Whether you’re using a petite 4 ft elliptical or a gargantuan 20 ft annular, a deployment bag is a safe bet.

Dual Deployment - Deploying Multiple Parachutes

Graphic of dual deployment using parachute deployment bag by Fruity Chutes

A parachute deployment bag is essential for dual deployment (i.e. packing multiple parachutes of the same size). There are twice the number of components that can shift or catch before or after they leave the UAV. The deployment bag ensures that all parachute canopies extend and open synchronously.

If you have an application requiring multiple parachutes, you can get a custom Fruity Chutes Deployment Bag to fit your needs.

Protection from Heat and Abrasion Damage

Parachute deployment bags are useful for more than just quick, controlled parachute recovery. Models such as the CDB-3 through CDB-75 series are handsewn with heat-resistant Nomex fabric, providing tough protection against damage caused by heat as well as abrasion.

Heat Protection - Deployment bags sewn with Nomex fabric will safeguard the parachute in any ejection system that creates hot gas and/or ejects the parachute with an expelling charge. Although, under some conditions, the hot gas of the ejection charge can linger on the Nomex long enough to heat the fabric to high temperatures. In such cases, you can pair a Nomex blanket with your deployment bag for extra heat protection.

Abrasion Protection - A parachute deployment bag serves as an extra layer of fabric that prevents the parachute canopy from directly touching the airframe. As such, the canopy won’t take any abrasion damage when being expelled from the UAV. Additionally, because parachute deployment bags are sized to have a slightly smaller diameter than the airframe, the deployment bag itself will experience less friction and suffer little to no abrasion damage.

Examples of deployment methods that benefit from heat and abrasion protection:

  • Pyro Ejection Charge - The use of pyrotechnic gas generators, such as systems using a black powder charge or smokeless powder
  • Airbag or Micro Gas Generator - Systems that deploy via an airbag actuator
  • Cold Gas Ejection - Deployment methods that use cold gasses such as CO2 or nitrogen - primarily beneficial for abrasion protection

Increasing Parachute Lifetime

By preventing heat and abrasion damage, you simultaneously increase the lifetime of your parachute. You'll get more flights out of your parachute before needing a replacement - simple as that! Most Fruity Chutes parachutes have an estimated usage of 100 deployments.

Facilitating Rapid Deployment and Saving Space

An added bonus of using a parachute deployment bag: less friction equals a faster ejection. On its own, a packed parachute has numerous layers and separated sections formed by the many folds required to condense the canopy. Additionally, the shroud lines are directly exposed to the interior of the airframe. This results in an uneven and higher total surface area which increases friction and slows ejection.

By contrast, a packed deployment bag has a smooth, continuous surface relative to a folded parachute alone. Plus, having a smaller diameter saves space and even provides the option to pressure pack a larger parachute without increasing the bag's volume.

Due to the precise size and even surface area, a parachute deployment bag will experience less friction and leave the UAV faster. After this, the brief time it takes for the parachute to leave the bag is easily regained by how quickly the parachute unfolds thanks to the maintained organization.

How to Choose a Parachute Deployment Bag - Sizing

Ideally, you want to choose a bag that fits your airframe diameter. You can also choose a smaller bag; however, it should not be too small or it could shift in the airframe.

Once you know what diameter will work inside your UAV, you can choose a bag length. Note the total cubic inches of your parachute and choose a bag length that will accommodate at least that high a volume. Longer is acceptable, but shorter can be a problem. It is sometimes possible to pack a larger parachute into a given bag volume, but it’s best to stick to the specified guidelines.

If you want to deploy dual/multiple parachutes, simply ensure the sum of your parachutes' packing volumes will fit into the chosen bag. If you have questions about how to size your parachute deployment bag, contact us and we’ll help you determine the right fit.

Parachute Deployment Bag Sizing Chart, click for readable pdf version

Fruity Chutes Deployment Bags

We offer a range of parachute deployment bags in sizes and lengths designed to fit most airframes and parachutes. We also offer fixed wing drone recovery system bundles complete with a deployment bag, parachute, pilot parachute and mounting gear.

Our parachute deployment bags are handsewn with high quality IIIA Nomex fabric and Kevlar thread.The bags come with elastic straps to hold the shroud lines and shock cords. We tack the elastic bands in the center, making them ideal for dual parachute use.

To ensure an easy fit into your UAV’s airframe and to accommodate your parachute shroud lines folding on the outside, we cut the bags to have a slightly smaller diameter than that of the airframe. If you have a project where space is at a premium, we can customize your parachute to make it more compact. Additionally, if you have a special application using multiple parachutes, we can make a custom parachute deployment bag to fit your needs. Simply contact us and let us know what you need.

Parachute Liners

Parachute liner exterior view Parachute liner with leash for tethering to UAV

What is a parachute liner?

Parachute liners are the middle step between deployment bags and Nomex blankets, and they have many of the same benefits and applications as a deployment bag. The only exception is that parachute liners are not geared toward passive deployment and are more lax with regard to organizing the canopy and shroud lines.

Parachute liners such as the CL-3 through CL-6 series have a simple design: a cylindrical bag with a split down the side and a nylon leash to connect the parachute liner to the parachute.

Applications - When to Use a Parachute Liner?

As an Alternative to a Deployment Bag

Parachute liners maintain the packing structure of the parachute, though not to the extent that a deployment bag does. The two share similar packing methods, but they differ in how the shroud lines are secured.

Parachute deployment bags use elastic bands to neatly stow the lines in z-folded rows. For parachute liners, on the other hand, the lines are z-folded and bundled on the inside of the liner with the canopy.

Because they are easier and quicker to pack, parachute liners are a great solution when looking for a simpler alternative to a deployment bag.

As an Alternative to a Nomex Blanket

Because parachute liners are sewn to a specific size relative to the airframe, they are highly efficient and less bulky than a Nomex blanket. This makes parachute liners the ideal space-saving alternative.

In addition, while both are useful in similar situations, parachute liners have the added benefit of organizing the parachute and condensing it for a lower packing volume. However, it’s worth noting that you might opt to use a Nomex blanket with a liner for extra heat protection.

Non-Passive Deployment and Direct Ejection

Four phases of Peregrine UAV direct deployment using parachute liner

Systems employing a direct deployment method, such as a ballistic spring launcher or CO2 launcher, benefit from a parachute liner in the same way that a passive deployment system benefits from a deployment bag. The main difference in this case is that the parachute liner is ejected directly out of the unit rather than using a pilot or drogue parachute to catch the airflow and pull on the contained main parachute.

An example for this type of deployment system is the Peregrine UAV (pictured above) - a ballistic CO2 launcher that directly ejects the parachute from a gas pressurized canister. This launcher uses a parachute liner to contain and organize the parachute inside the canister until it is ejected.

Other Applications for Parachute Liners

Other applications for parachute liners mirror those previously explained for deployment bags:

How to Choose a Parachute Liner - Sizing

For sizing, use the same method as for deployment bags. First, choose a diameter slightly smaller than your airframe. Then, note the total cubic inches of your parachute and choose a length that accommodates at least that much volume.

Fruity Chutes Parachute Liners

We offer a variety of parachute liners in sizes and lengths designed to fit most airframes and parachutes. Additionally, our Peregrine UAV ballistic launcher bundles come with a parachute liner for packing the canister.

Precisely sized for airframe diameters of 3”, 4”, 5”, and 6”, our CL-3 through CL-6 series of liners have a simple, cylindrical design with a split down the side. They are handsewn with high quality IIIA Nomex fabric and Kevlar thread, and they also include a nylon leash to connect to the crown of the parachute canopy.

Nomex Blankets

Parachute descending with nomex blanket, display of nomex blankets

What is a Nomex Blanket and When to Use One?

In regard to rocketry, drones, and other UAS applications, a Nomex blanket is a flat Nomex cloth wrapped around the parachute to protect it primarily from fire, heat and abrasion. For extra heat protection, two blankets can be layered together.

Nomex blankets are commonly used in rocketry, and they are generally useful for pyro ejection charges, airbag gas generator systems, and cold gas ejection. In heat-based systems, the user should orient the wrapped parachute with the canopy away from the heat source. The shock cord and other harnesses are more resistant to the momentary heat of the ejection charge. As such, these components of the parachute should be wrapped at the bottom of the blanket (closer to the charge), and the canopy should be located at the top (farther from the charge).

Similar to parachute deployment bags and parachute liners, the protection provided by a Nomex blanket increases a parachute’s lifetime.

Fruity Chutes Nomex Blankets

All our Nomex blankets feature heavy-duty 6oz Nomex fabric specifically designed to protect against heat and fire. Our blankets are the finest available: handmade and sewn with Kevlar thread, double-sewn edges to prevent fraying, and eyelets reinforced with more Nomex fabric and extra stitching around the opening.

We designed our Nomex blankets to fit popular airframe diameters, providing protection without bulky excess fabric. As a plus, our larger sizes have a double-layered center for double the protection - a great option for large rockets and ejection charges.

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