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Differential Models of Parachuting Dynamics

Ryan Magee*, Gonzaga (Undergraduate Student)
Talk Abstract: 
The United States Air Force has a need for parachute operations which will work outside the scope of the current parachute systems. These operations can be constructed to mimic certain egress conditions, the end goal is always to obtain complete, unhindered openings of the parachute and a safe landing for the parachutist. Currently, USAF SERE Specialists operating as parachutists at Fairchild Air Force Base are using parachute systems designed for high altitude, high speed egress and openings. These parachutes are designed using parameters that cannot be recreated in a reasonable, safe or fiscally responsible sense. Therefore, these parachutists may face very real hazards inherent in the design of a parachute system being used outside of design parameters. The objective of our research is to develop differential models for these parachute systems and their functions using known design characteristics, and determine new or confirm actual parameters in the real-world deployment of these parachute systems. Our main focus is on low-altitude, low-speed parachute deployment under a range of atmospheric conditions. The objective is to confirm that parachutists involved in these parachuting events are being subjected to minimal risk while employing the current parachute systems and standard operating procedures. The rate of descent, location of landing, and the speed of reaching the ground will be studied through a differential equation model. Our results have very real implications in U.S. Air Force parachuting operations safety, standard operating procedures and financial responsibilities to include air support operations.
Talk Subject: 
Ordinary Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems
Talk Type: 
Poster Presentation
Monday, March 2, 2015 - 16:15