Parks College Parachute Research Group
Outline of the presentation at the 2005 Parachute Industry Association Symposium
Development of a New Parachute Inflation Modeling Computer Program
presented by Jean Potvin and Gary Peek
Since 2001, the US Army Natick Solider Center and the US Army Yuma Proving
Ground have been funding the Parks College Parachute Reseach Group for the
development of a new software platform aimed at providing a user-friendly
computer program for the the simulation of parachute inflation. Known as
PIMS, or Parachute Inflation Modeling Suite, this Windows-based platform
uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to facilitate data entry and graphing.
The ultimate goal is to use almost all inflation models that have been
published in aeronautical literature to simulate a wide variety of parachute
systems, from round-types to ram-air wing types, with or without line or
This presentation will include a live demonstration of the program running
on a laptop computer, as a means of demonstrating many of the features of
PIMS, as well as comparisons with actual test drop data. The audience will
also be invited to watch PIMS produce simulations of parachute systems with
parameters specifed by the audience.
About the PCPRG
Started in 1995, the Parks College Parachute Research Group (or PRG) is a university-based
Research and Development organization dedicated to the scientific study of the parachute. Located
St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, the PRG is a small group of faculty members, their students and a
professional consultant working towards a better experimental and theoretical understanding of
parachute inflation and flight. Current scientific investigations include a study of ram-air cell
pressurization occurring during inflation, and a long term study of riser loading on a large
number of sport ram-air canopies. Some of this work has been done with the support of industrial
partners such as Irvin Aerospace, Performance Designs and Paranetics Technology.
As a professor at St. Louis University, he has been involved in parachute
reserch since 1994. His main interest is the study of the aero-physics of
the inflation process. He has also been involved in wind tunnel studies
and flight tests of sub-scalle and full-scale parachutes. Co-founder of the
Parks College Parachute Research Group with Gary Peek he acts as its science
and data analysis coordinator. He has a PhD. in Physics from the University
of Colorado. He is a USPA rated Instructor with over 2300 jumps and an FAA
Senior Parachute Rigger.
Jean has been a speaker at 3 previous PIA International Parachute
Symposiums on several parachute research group topics.
Gary Peek is an active jumper with over 6100 jumps, an FAA rated Master
Parachute Rigger, a Commercial Pilot and jump pilot, and a skydiving
photographer and videographer. He holds USPA Static Line, AFF, and Tandem
Instructor/Examiner ratings and actively teaches student skydivers
in all of these training methods.
He has worked in the electronics field in the St. Louis area for many
years and has combined his knowledge of electronics with parachutes
and skydiving for a number of those years. He co-founded Industrologic,
Inc., an industrial electronics company that now manufactures equipment
related to parachute drop testing.
In addition to writing computer programs and providing clip art related
to skydiving, he also is an author of many articles that have appeared in
aviation and skydiving publications. He is the author of the Equipment
Color Programs published by Para Publishing and has been doing research
on skydiving fall rate using electronic devices since 1990.
Gary has been a speaker at 5 previous PIA International Parachute
Symposiums on a variety of topics.