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Braking parachute

Old 17th Mar 2010, 22:57
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Braking parachute

A good many years ago I attended the Biggin Hill Air Fair and there was a Caravelle visiting. I think it was Alitalia or an associated airline?

Anyway, as it landed it deployed a parachute from the tail to assist with braking. I am wondering, were these parachutes standard, or just fitted due to short runway as at Biggin? And do any aircraft still have these parachutes for emergency braking? I suspect reverse thrust does away with the need for them generally. Thanx.
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 23:45
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I remember the Tu-104 with same. They were standard but only used on short or wet runways. I believe they were standard on the early Caravelle III.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 02:45
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As far as I can recall the early Caravelle powered by RR Avons had no thrust reversers and carried the braking chute in the tailcone as standard. I recall seeing them used occasionally at Hong Kong Kai Tak on wet and windy days before the runway was lenghthened. The Super Caravelle powered by PW JT8's had thrust reversers and presumably no chute. I am not aware of any other western airliner that used braking chutes.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 07:55
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TU-104s used to deploy them at Heathrow occasionally. R/T went something like:

"Aeroflot 241, do NOT release your parachute until you are off the runway".
"Ooops.... Bealine 123, go-around, I say again go-around......"
Old 18th Mar 2010, 08:06
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Early versions of the Tu-134 also had them as the engines lacked thrust reverse. I am sure I've seen a pic somewhere, but can't seem to find it now.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 08:08
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The Lear 25 has a brake chute. the Concorde had them fitted for testing and the Tu144 used them routinely

They were fitted to some early bigger jets - most military. The B47 (which also deployed the extracter drogue airborne for speed control), the B52, the Victor and Vulcan to name a few. They were fitted because the brake and reverser technology of the day was not very advanced.

But they are not very practical for everyday use in commercial operations. They are heavy, prone to occaisional failure and need recovering if dropped on the runway. Also they are complex and expensive to re-pack.

I Used to fly the Victor which used them on about 95% of all landings. The Vulcan hardly used them as it landed slower and could use aerodynamic braking. The SOP was to drop the chute on the runway. At our home base, a landrover with a specially adapted trailer followed us on the landing roll to collect it. Obviously, it had to be collected before the runway could be used and it could delay operations despite the chute recovery crews being pretty slick.

If we had to tow it off at an airfield with no chute recovery, we would keep the inboard engines at 75% which would 'fly'the chute. But if the crosswind was above 25 knots, this was usually impossible and we would have to drop it. I did this at Rome Ciampino once and ATC send a young girl out in her Fiat Panda to collect it. She found that the 48' diameter 165 lb chute was more than she could cope with and the runway was closed for about ten minutes!

''Flying'' the chute.

And packing it was a real headache. It was very heavy and usually just slightly too big to go in the hopper.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 08:43
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On the Smaller jets the Learjet 35 and the Falcon 20 had chutes.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 09:46
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I can remember reading an article about 10 years ago which was about SAS operations in the northern regions of Scandinavia. Because of the problems with braking on snowy or icy runway SAS had some of their DC-9s fitted with braking-chutes for use on these routes ... I would expect that they would fitted as-and-when the conditions required, and removed during the summer periods.

Are their any current 'airliner' types which are currently/regularly fitted with 'chutes?
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 14:21
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As I recall Alitalia Caravelles used to cause the same R/T as reported by Heathrow Director, but it is longer ago than I like to admit!
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 18:23
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On the Smaller jets the Learjet 35 and the Falcon 20 had chutes.
As did the 1211 Jet Commander and some IAI 1123 Commodore Jet. The Commodore Jet was the first version of the 1124 Westwind series.

To use the drag chute most effectively you had to brief it's use before landing. We tried to have the drag chute deploy as soon as possible at touch down. With enough experience we could deploy the drag chute just before we touched down where it would fully inflate just as we touched down.

One problem with new co-pilots was that they expected to feel the drag of the chute the second they pulled the handle. So when the order was given to deploy the chute, they would pull the handle out, then when they didn't feel any instant deceleration they would shove the handle back in and pull it out again.

Only one problem with this, pushing the handle back in was how the chute was jettisoned. So if people were watching, they would see the chute stream out from the tail and then just detach from the aircraft and fall on the runway. Sometimes the ATC tower controllers were not amused when this occurred.

This could be embarrassing, to say the least.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 21:27
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Air Frog Caravelles also used brake 'chutes at Manch....but "usually" cleared the R/W before releasing
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 11:36
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Back in '72 at Glasgow, I remember a couple of Caravelles arriving (Air Inter?) and dragging their brake chutes all the way to the apron. Then there was the Tu124 which touched down well over halfway down the runway with its wheels locked (tyres smoking) AND deployed its brake chute; he also dragged it to the apron.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 12:42
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As chevvron will fondly recall, our Institute of Aviation Medicine Hunter T8 pilot used to manouever the aircraft tail-on to the retrieve vehicle, which was off runway, and give the throttle a blast as he released the 'chute to blow it clear. Clever stuff, but I never actually saw the Land Rover completely engulfed in silk, but always entertaining! During deployment we had to Tx "Streamed and developed" / "Streamed and candled" / "No stream" as appropriate etc

Edit: (Mods, why does 'Land Rover' publish as 'Trabant'......? )
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 14:52
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Best one I saw was someone trying to load a Vulcan chute into the back of a van; all that slippery silk it as he pushed it in one place it would slip out in another place. (NB This was on the runway too; on this Vulcan, the last B1 on its final flight, the chute was jettisoned as the asi passed 60kts)
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 23:12
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You should have seen me and my mate loading the Victor's shoot at Brunty last open day
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 10:58
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SE-210 Caravelle drag chutes

Since the question was originally for the SE-210 . I shall answer for that type aircraft.
The Caravelle I, I-A, III, and VI-N (all powered by RR Avon RA-29) had drag chutes.
The Caravelle VI-R (still with RR Avon) had reversers, no drag chute.
Later Caravelle types, 10R and 12 etc. had P&W JT8D engines with reversers, no drag chutes.
Operations notes -
Drag chutes were required for short or wet/slippery runways - often as per operations policy.
If I recall correctly, the crosswind limit (policy again) was reduced by half.
Recalling also a policy to wait for nose wheel touchdown before deployment in crosswind.
Caravelles often carried a spare drag chute canister ready to be installed after the use of the installed unit, if considered MEL item.
To keep the drag chute "UP" (preventing it to fall in dirt), keep some power on engines, until reaching point of chute release.
Operating on a wet runway with drag chute use is not fun. Worst case scenario was (at times) requiring the F/E - there were F/E in SE-210 - to get the wet/dirty drag chute, in their shiny-clean uniform. In the Lear, pick-up is always the responsibility of co-pilots (now we know why these guys need a type rating and ATPL).
Therefore use of drag chute was often "avoided" - with resulting incidents and accidents.
If drag chute use required, it should be used "AT ONCE, ASAP after touchdown" since effectiveness is by the square of airspeed.
But pilots avoid using drag chute as requited (clean uniform disasters) so the drag chute is kept un-deployed as long as possible, until our superior P-I-C realizes it is necessary to use it... well, then is TOO LATE. At reduced speed, the drag chute is as effective as a piece of wet Kleenex tissue.
There was such incident of a Sobelair SE-210 at Innsbruck. Ended 200m beyond end as drag chute deployed too late = Captain said "I wanted to avoid to have to pick the chute" - Valid excuse and superior airmanship...
In a Lear (24-25) the drag chute weighs some 25 lbs, the Dee Howard reversers weigh 350 lbs...
If used properly, drag chute is reported to be much more effective than reversers.
In the Lear, use of reversers in conjunction with drag chute use is prohibited...
Happy contrails -
Enjoying my retirement (what is an aeroplane...?) - Did I spell that word right...?
Getting back to my rocking chair... Cheers -


Last edited by BelArgUSA; 20th Mar 2010 at 11:13. Reason: proper vocabulary correction
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 11:17
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BelArg - September 2009.
I recently retired from contributing to Pprune, as one of my posts was removed without notification ....
Welcome back! Always worth a read.
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 19:02
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Indeed the early jets like the Caravelle and the Tupolevs used braking parachutes. Repacking was generally the responsibility of the base engineer, as there would not normally be enough time to repack before departure; spare packed chutes would be kept in the stores at each station on the network.

Speaking as one who has packed many a parachute designed to handle just me, and found it took for ever, I wonder just how much effort was needed to handle one of these whoppers.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 00:39
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"I wonder just how much effort was needed to handle one of these whoppers.''

Lots. The Victor chute at 48' diameter was the largest parachute being used anywhere in the world on a regular basis. It weighed 165lbs and you had to squeeze it into a hopper 15' off the ground. it went in in a 'W' shape and was always slightly too big for the space required. Once in, one of the spring loaded doors had to be closed and a string which held the extractor drougue down had to be carefully pulled. Then the other door closed and a pin to keep both closed insterted and connected. When it was windy/raining/cold/hot or icy (which it always nearly was) it was a hell of a job. On crew turnarounds, three of the crew would do the brake chute while one of the pilots would do the refuel. The competition to be the refueller was fierce.

Someone on the tail loading the chute. As you can see, there's not much space to work and it wasn't very safe. People used to fall off occasionally.

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Old 21st Mar 2010, 02:50
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The B47 (which also deployed the extracter drogue airborne for speed control)....
Mainly to keep the engines spooled up to a reasonable thrust...so I have been told by folks that flew them.
Engines...similar to the straight pipes used on early 707's....push the throttles way up, then go out to lunch waiting for the expected thrust.
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