Skydiving (w/ Parachutes)/Parachutes Project

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Question
Hello Mr. Poynter.

I am a middle schooler from New Jersey and I am doing a project on dropping parachutes with different amounts of washers attached to it. I have a few questions about parachutes and aerodynamics itself. I am very grateful for you taking your time out to answer my questions. I apologize if it is very lengthy.

First, how does a parachute actually work?

Does the size of a parachute have to be proportional to the load of the parachute? By this I mean does the diameter have to be in proportion with the load; is there a formula?

Do weight and mass affect gravity effects? By this I mean does the weight or mass of something affect its airtime?

Next, Does the weight and mass of something affect its lateral movement?

Thank you so much in advance for answering my questions. I really hope that you can answer my question.

Answer
First, how does a parachute actually work?
Drag. And, if you increase the size – drag – the rate of descent will decrease.


Does the size of a parachute have to be proportional to the load of the parachute? By this I mean does the diameter have to be in proportion with the load; is there a formula?

It depends on the rate of descent you wish to achieve. Generally, the larger the canopy, the slower the descent.

On the other hand, you should consider weight and volume of the packed parachute.

Do weight and mass affect gravity effects? By this I mean does the weight or mass of something affect its airtime?
Weight, yes.


Next, Does the weight and mass of something affect its lateral movement?
No. The wind and canopy design do.

See
http://parapub.com/sites/parachute/resources/leaps.cfm

Skydiving (w/ Parachutes)

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Dan Poynter

Expertise

Parachute equipment; design and function.

Experience

Dan Poynter is a pilot (Single-Engine Land & Gliders), a skydiver with more than 1,200 jumps, a master parachute rigger, past president of the FAI’s International Hang Gliding Commission, past president of the Parachute Industry Association and past chairman-of-the-board of the U.S. Parachute Association. Dan is the author of more than 120 books; many on aviation topics. He speaks to aviation and other audiences worldwide.

Organizations
United States Parachute Association: Life Member. Past Chairman of the Board Parachute Industry Association: Member. Past President. Past Chairman of the FAA-SAE-USPA Parachute Technical Standard Order Committee. American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics: Senior Member. Served the maximum three terms on the Aerodynamic Decelerator (parachutes) & Balloon Technology Technical Committee. Society of Automotive Engineers: Past Chairman of the Parachute Technical Standards Committee, 1973-1979. National Aeronautic Association: Member (40 years). Past USPA Delegate to Annual Meeting. Aviation/Space Writers Association: Member. Society of Aerospace Communicators, Inc.: Member. Calistoga Skydivers: Past Secretary. Northern California Parachute Council: Past delegate and Secretary. Northeast Sport Parachute Council: Past delegate, Secretary and President. Past editor of the Spotter Newsmagazine. Experimental Aircraft Association: Member. Survival And Flight Equipment Association (SAFE): Member. British Association of Parascending Clubs: Member #002 United States Hang Gliding Association: Life Member. Past Director. Commission Internationale de Vol Libre (Hang Gliding) of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Paris: U.S. Delegate, two term past President. Lifetime President d'Honneur.

Publications
Santa Barbara News-Press, November 19, 2000, Writer’s Digest, November 2000, House of Business Magazine, October 2000, Washington Post, November 14, 1999. The Washington Post August 8, 1999. Montecito Journal, October 31, 1998, Entrepreneur magazine, March 1997, Investors Business Daily, April 30, 1997, St. Petersburg Times-Action, September 16, 1997, The New York Times, June 1997, The Mining Journal, October 19, 1997, Investor’s Business Daily, March 21, 1996; The Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 1996, SBA News-Press, September 22, 1996, Investor’s Business Daily, January 31, 1995; Joyce Lain Kennedy Syndicated newspaper column, February 7, 1995; Santa Clara Metro June 9, 1994, Traverse City Record-Eagle, November 21, 1993; Daily Journal of Commerce, October 8, 1993; Scottsdale Progress Tribune, November 2, 1993, CNN, May 10, 1992; Small Publishers Exchange, INC magazine, July 1993, July-August 1993; Careers column, Joyce Lain Kennedy, Sun Features Syndicate, June 22, 1992; Enterprise column, Wall Street Journal, July 30, 1992; Atlanta Constitution, August 3, 1992; Santa Barbara News-Press, July 28, 1989; U.S. News & World Report, (publishing) June 8, 1992; U.S. News & World Report, (expert witness) July 20, 1992; Orange County Register, August 9, 1992; The Independent, December 13, 1990; A Lexis search will turn up more than 160 articles. Plus thousands of print and broadcast reviews for his books.

Education/Credentials
BA

Awards and Honors
Lifetime Achievement Award, Parachute Industry Association, 2005. Stefan Banic Gold Medal for contributions to the parachute industry. 2001 Gold Parachutists Wings from the United States Parachute Association for 1,000 freefall sport parachute jumps, 1972. Meritorious Achievement Award from the Central Atlantic Sport Parachute Asso¬¬cia¬tion for equipment advances. Diplome d'Honneur from the Federation Aeronautique Interna¬tionale for contributions to the sport of hang gliding, 1979. Achievement Award by the United States Parachute Association for contributions to the association and the sport of parachuting, 1981. Paul Tissandier Diploma by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale; nominated by the United States Parachute Association for years of continued service to parachuting, 1984. Award of Excellence by the Aviation/Space Writer’s Association for Parachuting; The Skydiver’s Handbook. Irwin Award for the best electronic book-promotion campaign. Book Publicists of Southern California. 1995 And numerous certificates of appreciation for service in various events and programs such as the one from Lake Placid, New York, Chamber of Commerce for directing their parachuting competition for seven years. Mr. Poynter has also received several awards in the field of publishing.

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