Faculty Advisor

Olinger, David J


Currently, when deploying guided parachutes, an educated forecast for wind velocity is input into the guidance software before it is deployed. Since wind velocity is variable during descent, real-time wind velocity data would improve the parachute's accuracy. The team designed a mechanical arm to extend a sensor package into the free stream to measure the wind velocity in real time and transmit the data to the guidance unit. A finite element analysis study was conducted to determine the flow field around a parachute system in order to establish the required length of the arm. The sensor package was comprised of five Kiel probes -- a shrouded variation of pitot probes -- arranged orthogonally to determine wind velocity components. The mechanical arm was actuated by hydraulic pressure.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2010


Aerospace Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering