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Phantom Parachute Deployment Test Results and Video

Florida Drone Supply

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On Monday, February 4th, we planned an intentional deployment of a Phantom parachute system. The purpose of the deployment was to test the product’s effectiveness and the ease of being able to re-pack the parachute and continue flying if necessary.

While we were familiar with the manufacturer (we also sell and have tested the parachutes for the Matrice line) we had not yet tested the Phantom parachute. Knowing that there are probably more Phantoms out flying than any other DJI aircraft, we wanted to give everyone the comfort that they required to know this is a worthwhile accessory for their aircraft.

The test was done in a wide open area - void of people, traffic, etc. We were approximately 2 miles from a small, un-towered airport and were monitoring the airport frequency for traffic.

The test began at 300 feet - but it took some altitude to get the DJI Phantom 4 Advanced to full power off while in flight. Our exact deployment height is unknown.

We filmed the deployment with drones and ground based cameras as well as a couple of action cameras we attached to the Phantom (which added weight to the aircraft - specifically the landing gear).

Our first test was a complete success - no damage to the aircraft or property and no person was injured.

We then re-packed the parachute onsite and sent it up to deploy again

Our second test was nearly a complete success as well; the only difference being some very minor damage to one side of the landing gear at the point it meets the aircraft frame.

All in all, having powered off a Phantom twice at approximately 300 feet and walking away with extremely minor damage on one side of the landing gear - we are satisfied that the parachute works as advertised and is a good value at $299.

While Parazero (manufacturer) was involved with the FAA as the parachute standards were written, this parachute alone will not get you a “flight over people” waiver. In addition to all of your other safety mitigation factors, you would need to get the ASTM standard kit - which is currently only offered through Parazero. We have been told the kit contain all of the written documentation the FAA needs, the audible buzzer that is required (this is standard on an M200 parachute) as well as a way to manually deploy the parachute by the pilot.

At Florida Drone Supply we like to test and review all of the products we sell - and while testing parachutes means risking aircraft we think it is worth it. We hope you find it useful and consider making your parachute and any other drone or accessory purchase from us.

The video below is a documentation of our initial testing, re-packing the parachute and the second test.

Thanks - enjoy (and share)!

 

R.Perry

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Interesting video, it seems that deployment only happens when all motors fail, or shut down. What if only one motor fails or a prop breaks. It seems you would first need to shut the motors down twice before the parachute would deploy, if you are at 300 feet you may make it, but at a 100 feet I doubt it. I think it needs a manual deployment by the pilot, one that would also stop the motors, that would mean a DJI software upgrade.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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Interesting video, it seems that deployment only happens when all motors fail, or shut down. What if only one motor fails or a prop breaks. It seems you would first need to shut the motors down twice before the parachute would deploy, if you are at 300 feet you may make it, but at a 100 feet I doubt it. I think it needs a manual deployment by the pilot, one that would also stop the motors, that would mean a DJI software upgrade.
Thanks R.Perry. The design of this parachute is to be automatic in its deployment. Our test (attempting a mid air shut down with no damage to the aircraft) was a bit more difficult than a real emergency. In a real emergency the parachute would deploy much quicker because you would have a measurable change in aircraft orientation, un commanded descent, etc. Those are the cases where the parachute is designed to deploy immediately and without the user trying to press deployment buttons or get into the DJI menus, etc. Because we were doing an airborne power off to simulate a power failure, the aircraft wanted to attempt to save itself first. If it were a real problem, the aircraft would have known that and quickly responded.

However, to meet the parachute requirement for flights over people, the manufacturer sells an option to add a few bells and whistles to the system - one of which is a manual deployment.

When they tested with the FAA they had to simulate a single motor failure and a dual motor failure. Both resulted in immediate and fully automated deployments of the parachute.

Great questions - let us know if you can think of any more!
 
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R.Perry

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Thanks for your response, reality is I think the parachute is a great idea and tremendous safety tool, and hopefully big brother will start getting realistic with part 39.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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Thanks for your response, reality is I think the parachute is a great idea and tremendous safety tool, and hopefully big brother will start getting realistic with part 39.
Agreed. And at the current price of $299, we think it makes sense for anyone flying a Phantom for any type of commercial work to have one. We are exploring any available insurance discounts it may provide with the handful of insurance companies we refer our clients to...who know, it just might pay for itself!

Link to Purchase: Parachutes
 
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BigAl07

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So it's the Unusual Attitude that triggers it "automatically"?

Do you know what the MANUAL trigger setup will consist of? Is it aircraft specific or general?
 

Florida Drone Supply

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So it's the Unusual Attitude that triggers it "automatically"?

Do you know what the MANUAL trigger setup will consist of? Is it aircraft specific or general?
It can be an unusual attitude (tipping over) or if it begins falling (for example loss of power). It has its own power and sensors so it is not reliant upon the aircraft its installed on for determining an emergency.

The manual trigger on the Phantom version is something that comes directly from Parazero. They do not provide them to us to test or demo - but I think I am going to ask them for one so I can pass along better info to the people considering applying for waiver for flights over people.
 
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BigAl07

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It can be an unusual attitude (tipping over) or if it begins falling (for example loss of power). It has its own power and sensors so it is not reliant upon the aircraft its installed on for determining an emergency.

The manual trigger on the Phantom version is something that comes directly from Parazero. They do not provide them to us to test or demo - but I think I am going to ask them for one so I can pass along better info to the people considering applying for waiver for flights over people.

thank you and I enjoyed the video.

So this system would work just fine on a H520?

Is FDS going to be able to carry/sell the ASTM package too?
 
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LUIS MARTINEZ

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Has anyone managed to repack this thing and have the lid stay on? I had a cover come off accidentally, not in flight. It will not stay on after repacking. Feels like the rim is stretched and will only secure three out of the four locking points.
 

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