Parks College Parachute Research Group
Outline of the presentation at the 2007 Parachute Industry Association Symposium
Parachute Research From Computer Simulation to Uses in the Field
presented by Jean Potvin and Gary Peek
1. Introducing the Truncated Cone Decelerator (TCD) parachute
2. Introducing OSCALC, a simple but effective opening shock calculation program.
3. Using the Parachute Inflation Modeling Suite (PIMS) to model the opening
shock of hard opening canopies modified with large sliders.
4. Improvements to the Parachute Inflation Modeling Suite (PIMS) to include
modeling ram-air parachutes with sliders during both the slider-up and
The presentation will include live demonstrations of both computer programs
running on a laptop computer to demonstrate:
1. How PIMS can approximate the opening shock of ram-air parachutes with
different sized sliders.
2. How OSCALC can be successfully used by non-technical people (skydivers even!)
(If time permits the audience will be invited to watch both programs produce
simulations using 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 2460 jumps and an FAA
Senior Parachute Rigger with Chest, BAck, and Seat type ratings.
Jean has been a speaker at 4 previous PIA International Parachute
Symposiums on several parachute research group topics.
Gary Peek is an active jumper with over 6800 jumps, an FAA rated Master
Parachute Rigger with Back and Chest type ratings, a Commercial Pilot
and jump pilot, and a skydiving photographer and videographer. He holds
USPA Static Line, IAD, 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 6 previous PIA International Parachute
Symposiums on a variety of topics.