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How To Choose the Best Parachute for a Drone

By | Rebecca Siggers

One of the critical issues that aviation regulators worldwide are addressing is integrating general drone operations into airspace while protecting persons and property from malfunctioning. 

Because of the potential for this business to grow, especially with flights out of the operator’s line of sight, regulations will need to be implemented to ensure that unmanned flights are conducted safely and securely.

Due to the recent changes in the law, parachutes for drones are quickly evolving from a novelty items to essential safety gear.

This article will discuss how to select the ideal parachute for your drones.

What is a Drone Parachute?

UAS pilots are choosing to add parachute systems to their drones for several reasons, including keeping their business going, protecting their reputation, and keeping their devices and data safe. The distinction between a tiny UAS startup expanding into a macro drone landscape and a disastrous, business-ending accident can occur quickly with the help of a drone parachute kit.

In any case, what exactly is a drone parachute? 

A drone parachute is a term used to describe the emergency recovery mechanism for any UAS (unmanned aerial system), such as multicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, VTOLs, and other UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). A passive or ballistic air extraction method is typically used to initiate its deployment, and a parachute is deployed during its descent to the earth.

How to Select The Ideal Drone Parachute System

There are several factors to consider while selecting the perfect parachute, such as: 

  • accessibility of the space, 
  • weight impact, 
  • and deployment technique, among other factors. 

The target descent speed significantly impacts determining the size of the parachute. We’ve discovered that most unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers utilize a drop velocity slightly slower than rockets, often around 15 feet per second (4.6 meters per second). Please take into account the following factors while choosing drone parachutes.

What is The Right Size for Drone Parachutes?

This is an essential consideration when selecting a parachute package. The size of the canopy will affect how quickly your unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fall to the ground if something goes wrong. Fortunately, the “acceptable” impact speed has already been established, either by the parachute makers or by the laws in effect in the area where you wish to fly. These fall rates are meant to reduce injuries to humans the drone might impact during a fall, but they cannot ensure that your device will be completely safe; if you have sensors that are particularly sensitive to shocks, you may wish to raise the surface.

Can The Drone Take The Extra Parachute Weight?

Installing a parachute on a drone will often add a few hundred grams to its weight, even though all parachute kits are made as lightweight as possible. Due to the lightweight of parachute kits, it is up to the individual who created the drone to determine whether or not to modify the motors, propellers, and electronic speed controller. 

This question won’t be as crucial for big drones since 200 or 300 extra grams will make little to no difference. While pre-assembled drones like the DJI Phantom are designed to fly as efficiently as possible (camera included), some excess weight won’t negatively impact the drone’s performance. There will be a little increase in engine temperature and a two- or three-minute reduction in flight time, but nothing significant.

Manual or Automatic Trigger System?

Activation can occur manually via a remote trigger or automatically via an onboard fault diagnosis. Manual activation may appear quite effective, but it relies on the pilot’s discretion and responsiveness. Therefore, it is typically ineffective in rescuing drones flying at a low altitudes.

However, automatic activation can recognize “unnatural” drone behavior by keeping track of the drone’s velocity of descent, tilt, and rotation. The parachute will deploy whenever a specified value or group of values is surpassed. This occurs quickly—typically before the drone’s operator can witness it falling or toppling—which has confused several early users who thought their functions were false alarms.

What Are The Location-specific Regulations?

In some countries, rules say that remote pilots must put parachutes on their UAVs in certain flight situations (e. g. flying across residential areas). These standards dictate numerous features of the rescue system, including the allowable impact energy, which determines the surface area of the deployed parachute. 

These rules also dictate the way the alarm goes off, such as automatically, manually, with a special transmitter, etc. Moreover, the safety system must be constantly monitored; for instance, French law mandates that an audible alarm sound whenever there is a break in transmission between the parachute’s receiver and transmitter. You can learn more about the rules that apply to drone use in your nation by visiting websites specializing in drone regulation and using the info to inform your purchase decisions. 

How Will The Parachute Removal Work?

The ability to quickly attach and detach the parachute equipment can be beneficial. Either because you only wish to utilize the parachute under certain circumstances or you might not need it. There may be occasions when you need a little extra lift capacity, or you may find yourself in a situation where a parachute isn’t required, in which case you can dismount for a short period and save a few hundred grams, allowing you to bring along a heavier camera or lens.

Most commercially available parachute kits are geared toward this end and consist of a parachute and a mounting kit. The mounting kit is permanently fastened to the drone, and the parachute gets mounted or removed from the UAV, depending on the situation and the intended use. That only addresses the parachute component; the parachute control system and the engine cut-off mechanism should also prompt close consideration. 


Parachute selection for a drone is a challenging process. If you already operate a popular UAV with specially developed systems, such as the DJI Phantom 4 or DJI Inspire 2, the most convenient option is to select one of the well-made solutions built and tested by manufacturers that understand all the limits and develop unique systems. Otherwise, be certain that you ask yourself the appropriate questions before purchasing while bearing in mind two details:

A fully independent, automated parachute kit will be more separable, secure, and reasonably easy to install and manage.

Like computer security, usability is vital; if a security system is too complex, users typically figure out how to get around it and stop using it.

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