Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Single-use paper parachute

One way trip ... down.
  [vote for,

Conventional parachutes are heavy and bulky partly because they are designed for multiple re-uses.

BorgCo are developing a single use disposable paper parachute. The enclosure is a cardboard box. The Drogue and main chutes are made of specially treated paper. The shroud lines are thin cord which will stretch slightly on use (thus precluding re-use) but will be strong enough to support the wearer.

Intended for emergencies only. Purchaser must have proof that they have undergone conventional parachute training.

Still in development - testers required. Training given, no previous experience necessary.

8th of 7, May 08 2010

Oh the humanity! http://image.minyan...e/ParachuteBurn.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2010]

Bullet proof paper http://4entrepreneur.net/?p=1166
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 08 2010]


       why would a purchaser require training but not a tester? [8th] up to his usual tricks.
po, May 08 2010

       Conventional parachutes are actually quite light and compact - the chute itself will pack into something the size of typical handbag (though this is not often done for logistical reasons). If you can develop a paper which is stronger and also more rip-proof than the ripstop nylon which is used for chutes, yet is significantly thinner or lighter, I would be really rather surprised.   

       Could I suggest that you have never, in fact, used a parachute?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2010

       He has certainly never, in fact, used one of his parachutes.
baconbrain, May 08 2010

       // but not a tester? //   

       Put it down to "high staff turnover" ...   

       // you have never, in fact, used a parachute? //   

       This is true. While we are thoroughly familar with the "pilot parachute" (which resembles a thin rucksack), we have never had occasion to deploy it, or any other chute for that matter.   

       We consider leaving a perfectly serviceable aircraft at any point other than when it is on the ground and stopped to be foolish in the extreme.   

       We have observed parachute- related foolishn ess in others, recklessly flinging themselves from aircraft, and have subsequently conversed with the survivors. Apparently they do it for "the thrill".   

       The product is intended for sale via vending machines in airport departure lounges.   

       [baconbrain], you are correct. On the plus side, we can reveal that during the testing phase, the prototypes have performed perfectly consistently. When we see them start to perform inconsitantly with previous trials, then we might me more inclined to try one.   

       But not yet.
8th of 7, May 08 2010

       // the chute itself will pack into something the size of typical handbag //
..but this is not done for reasons of slow deployment, when it gets lost under the packs of tissues, mints, lipsticks, old airline tickets...
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 08 2010

       I like the idea of someone dropping from the sky effortlessly in a mess of tattered old newspapers. A 5 dollar parachute could make a new form of travel as bomber planes carpet cities dropping souls off to hell. This idea isn't exactly that, but I think this idea is basically a cheap parachute so, +.
daseva, May 08 2010

       If I find myself hurtling gracefully toward the ground at indisputably terminal velocity, I personally would be comforted to know that there is more than 5 dollars' worth of thing between me and a very abrupt deceleration.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2010

       Purchase price refundable if not completely satisfied.*   

       (*Void where prohibited. Claims must be made in person. BorgCo's liability is limited to the purchase price of the item. No consequential loss, damage, or injury claims will be entertained. Purchaser must return item and original packaging for inspection).
8th of 7, May 08 2010

       I think I see a way to reassemble the pieces of this idea into something that makes sense. What's wanted is a parachute that's much cheaper than the ordinary one, with the savings realized partly through the use of cheaper materials, resulting in decreased reliability and/or effectiveness.   

       These would stand in the same relation to ordinary parachutes as do the oxygen masks that drop from the ceiling in commercial airliners to the "real" ones used by pilots (or even hospitals).   

       As in that case the low-cost / low-quality would be justified by the combination of two factors
1) they'd be very rarely used, and 2) even very low (say, 20%) effectiveness would be great, 'cause the alternative is 100% mortality or serious injury.

       ... Although I think [po]'s right & this is just a scheme to get people to jump out of airplanes with bits of string & newspaper tied to their backs.
mouseposture, May 08 2010

       Do you really thing that we are so mean-spirited, exploitative and malevolent ?   

       Don't answer that ...   

       But you're right. Since the use of this device is "non-elective" there is actually an acceptable failure rate, unlike normal parachutes which are expected to have five-nines reliability.   

       Be assured that our researchers and our few remaining testers are working quite hard to bring the prototype units up to the 20% level you have suggested.
8th of 7, May 08 2010

       I just thought of another line for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail:   

       <French accent>
I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I piss on your parachute and throw you from the parapet! You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
Ling, May 09 2010

       //no previous experience necessary//
...and no future experience guaranteed.
phundug, May 10 2010

       I like the idea of a McGyvered parachute made from a worn-out pair of nylons and the sunday paper.
bungston, May 10 2010

       //We consider leaving a perfectly serviceable aircraft at any point other than when it is on the ground and stopped to be foolish in the extreme.//   

       Would you consider BASE jumping from an airplane safely parked in a location suitable for that sport?
goldbb, May 10 2010

       Clearly he has never encountered an in-flight snake infestation.
swimswim, May 10 2010

       /worn-out pair of nylons/   

       Even better - a perfectly good pair from the actress our hero is rescuing, and a complicated instruction manual instead of the newspaper.
bungston, May 10 2010

       Just have to hope the instruction manual isn't on CDROM ...
8th of 7, May 10 2010

       //The product is intended for sale via vending machines in airport departure lounges. //   

       There's your bun - right there.
wagster, May 10 2010

       [8th] the hero prints the manual out using his laptop and portable printer, obviously.
pocmloc, May 10 2010

       It occurred to me that a heroine could use her own hosiery (as she just came from a fancy party) and that such a chute would have a better chance of saving 1 than 2.
bungston, May 10 2010

       This idea is now partially Baked at 1/4 scale, using a Tyvek canopy and polypropylene shroud lines in a waxed Kraft paper backpack; the harness is made from polypropylene webbing.   

       The cost of a full scale version would be less than USD $100.   

       A scale of 1/4 was selected as an immature human of 640mm stature is relatively easy to physically overpower and attach to the unit, and easier to persuade that this is a Fun Game.
8th of 7, Feb 18 2015

       Tyvek is made from High density polyethylene fibers. It seems to me that you could get more strength per pound (and volume) using plain HDPE like the stuff used for grocery bags. Tyvek is of course stronger than your typical grocery bag, but it is also nearly 10 times thicker. (0.15mm vs. 0.017mm). Tyvek is not stretchy. HDPE bags can stretch significantly before breaking. The manufacturing process would need to make the parachutes from continuous material or figure out a more effective bonding method since the plastic bags do seem to have a disturbing tendency to break at the seams. It seems like it might work to make the shroud lines and canopy from a continuous sheet of HDPE for a reliable connection.   

       I don't know what is required for the canopy to inflate reliably, but based on my ability to open new bags at the grocery store, that would definitely need to be addressed.   

       When stretched in one direction HDPE seems to get narrower in the other direction. Maybe this principle could be used to make a cheap one-size fits all harness. The user could put on what seems like a loose fitting coveralls (with VERY low crotch and closed foot holes). When the canopy inflates, the suit stretches lengthwise and shrinks in diameter, uniformly distributing the force comfortably distributing the force over gripping the user over their entire body. Be sure to remove all sharp object like belt buckles before use.
scad mientist, Feb 18 2015

       Producing continuous HDPE sheets in parachute like dimensions would be relatively simple. Doing it with molded in lines for extra strength (which could also be melted through and provide anchor points for the harness lines) would be relatively simple as well, as long as those lines are in one axis.
MechE, Feb 18 2015

       I would probably buy several of these, on the theory that each deployment might slow me somewhat before failing. Plus I would have something to do; screaming might get tiresome after the first few thousand feet.
bungston, Feb 18 2015

       I have jumped out of planes about 500 times, invariably wearing a parachute. You really, really really want a material that has the right porosity, the right strength and above all rip-stop properties. HDPE (or any continuous film of material) is fantastically ill-suited to making a parachute.   

       //Tyvek is made from High density polyethylene fibers. It seems to me that you could get more strength per pound (and volume) using plain HDPE// You see, that's just wrong. The strength of Tyvek comes from the fact that it's a woven material, which means that rips can't easily propagate. At the tip of a rip, fibres can shift and shrug so as to dissipate the stress concentration over a large area. Continuous HDPE, on the other hand, has no such option and the stress concentration propagates easily. If you want proof, go and throw a half-brick at a sheet of fibreglass and then at a sheet of solid glass (or, for that matter, solid fibreglass resin).   

       You can buy ripstop nylon (for general use; but in reality good enough to make a chute from) for about $1-2 per square metre. You can make a landable chute with about 40 square metres of fabric. You could probably make a survivable chute with 20 square metres of fabric (people have actually landed chutes with a wing area of 3.5 square metres, involving about 12 square metres of fabric altogether, but there's a knack to it).   

       So, $40 buys you enough proper material to land under.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2015


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