Quadcopter Parachute Recovery System

by unialfred | October 23, 2012 | (12) Posted in Projects

Here i'm going to be showing you guys the making of my quad-copter parachute recovery system. I try and explain it all in the video so give that a watch.

You should be able to tailor this to suit your multirotor. The main features you really need is enough room between the props to fit a suitable sized container for the size of parachute and a flat surface in the center of your multirotor.

Equipment you will need:

1 multirotor

1 Cheap Tupperware container

1 9-gram servo

1 rubber band

1 piece of depron (large enough to cover the top of the Tupperware.)

1 parachute of suitable size. (60" is best for 450 sized quads.)

Glue (hot glue works best.)

Duct tape.

The Parachute.

For the parachute I roughly followed ExperimentalAirlines tutorial for making parachutes for cargo drops. I created a parachute with a diameter of 60". However instead of using a mesh fabric like he uses, I used 8 pieces of strong chord and glued them equally spaced around the edge. This is a simple parachute to make and yet it works reliably and effectively.


The Container

For the container I used a Chinese takeaway container. I glued this onto a flat surface on the top of my quadcopter and punched 2 holes through the container. I then threaded a bit of string through each hole, slid them through the quadcopter frame and tied them together. where the two loose ends come together inside the Tupperware container i tied them together creating a secure place to attach the parachute chords too. This will ensure that when the parachute opens it will be pulling on the whole quadcopter frame and not just the Tupperware container. On one side of the container I used Duct tape to create a hinge for the depron sheet so that it acts as a lid on the Tupperware container. This will be what holds the parachute inside the container.

Release Mechanism

The release is simply a 9 gram servo glued to the side of the Tupperware container. This glue must be strong as it will have to hold the weight of the rubber band pulling on it. The rubber band is then tied onto the opposite side of the quadcopter than the servo is attached. Once this is done you can attach the parachute to the chords in the Tupperware container, fold the parachute into thirds, Lay the parachute lines down neatly inside the container, place the parachute inside the container, Fold the lid down and then stretch the rubber band over the lid and hook it over the arm of the servo. This will hold down the lid and when released should allow the lid to be sprung open by the folded parachute and therefore ejecting the parachute and lines above the props meaning they can't get tangled in the line.

Here it is in action on my VC-450 quad frame.



1aalbes1 on October 26, 2012
thats a good idee ,

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kronosrobotics on October 24, 2012
Very Cool.
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squishy on October 24, 2012
Do you have a video of it actually working?
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unialfred on October 24, 2012
Yup, the last link on the article. Or this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D8OB-t3B_c
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ABQ Bobcat on October 24, 2012
How does this work if the copter isn't horizontal? For example, if your battery dies while in the middle of a turn and blades stop rotating, does the parachute still work well?
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unialfred on October 24, 2012
Yep, It still works fine. I even tried flipping the quad completely upside down and then releasing the chute and it still released and opened fine. The lines got caught around one of the legs and the quadcopter came down sideways but the chute still worked and no damage was caused. I'll upload another video with the quadcopter at different orientations if you like. Just got to wait for the weather to improve.
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jamiedco on October 24, 2012
i wish i had one of these the other night . it would have saved my gopro from a premature death at the hands of a brown out

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Hasersys on October 24, 2012
This is great.
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enivid on October 28, 2012
This would be a great addition to my tri! :)
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marty.McQueen@live.com on January 12, 2015
Did you ever consider using a ready made kite for this project like a 1mt and shorten the lines on one side so that it would spiral down ?
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Quadcopter Parachute Recovery System