Pilot chute

Pilot chute

A pilot chute is a small auxiliary parachute used to deploy the main or reserve parachute. The pilot chute is connected to the deployment bag containing the parachute by a bridle. On modern skydiving rigs three types of pilot chutes can be found:

* Spring loaded
* Pull-out
* Throw-out__NoTOC__

pring Loaded

The spring loaded pilot chute is used in conjunction with a ripcord. When the user pulls the ripcord, the container opens, allowing the pilot chute compressed inside to spring out. Spring loaded pilot chutes are mainly used to deploy reserve parachutes. They are often also used to deploy the main parachute on skydiving students' parachute equipment. The pilot parachute was invented during the second world war by Henry O'Neil for which he was never compensated as it was given to the US army . Original documents do exist but US army has refused any compensation to the family. COCKSUCKERS


The pull-out and throw-out pilot chutes are identical in construction; the difference is in their connection to the handle and the bridle, and in the way they are packed.

With the pull-out system, the pilot chute is packed inside the container. The activation handle is attached to a lanyard, which in turn is attached to the closing pin. The lanyard is also attached to the bridle. When the user pulls the handle, the closing pin is pulled, opening the container. Continuing the pull, the user pulls the pilot chute out of the container and into the airstream, at which point the pilot chute inflates and pulls the main parachute out of the container.


The throw-out pilot chute is the most popular type in use today. The pilot chute is packed in a pouch at the bottom of the container (often called BOC for short). The handle is attached to the apex of the pilot chute. When the user grabs the handle and throws the pilot chute into the airstream, the bridle extends, pulling the closing pin and opening the container, as the pilot chute continues in the airstream it extracts the deployment bag containing the main parachute from the container. The throw-out pilot chute was invented by Bill Booth.


With the advent of smaller higher performance canopies, the drag induced by trailing a pilot chute behind a canopy has become a significant concern. To reduce this drag some pilot chute designs of the Pull-out and Throw-out variety are collapsible. Once deployment of the parachute has occurred a kill line running up the center of the pilot chute bridle becomes loaded. This kill line pulls down on the apex of the pilot chute collapsing it and greatly reducing its drag on the canopy.


Drogues used on tandem-systems are basically large throw-out pilot chutes, but the bridle is anchored on the container with a release system. When the user throws the drogue, the drogue inflates and the bridle extends. The deployed drogue slows down the free-fall speed of the tandem pair. When the user wants to open the parachute, he pulls a ripcord, releasing the bridle and allowing the drogue to open the main container.

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