Dear reader,

We are now live at The development project continues, and updates are added to this blog in random intervals.

We have parachutes launchers available in many weight ranges; optimal 1 - 6 kg and these could be extended with higher impact level up to 11 kg. For larger up to 23 kg multicopters we have XL - series with pilot chute principle.

For those who wants to digest all information available of products, we have left this blog as it is. This blog follows closely main steps we have gone through while developing parachute launcher. Blog might feel like Do It Yourself kind and to be honest, in the beginning it was.

After hundreds of hours thinking, designing, prototyping and testing our patent pending launcher turned to be the most reliable parachute launcher for professional use. We have searched all possible boundaries of technology and from this blog you'll find results of these successful tests but also not so successful tests.

You never know where The final limit of technology is without experiencing it. That's the reason why we have done tests for scenarios which might not be even realistic on flight.

For production versions of Skycat we could proudly to say that we have experienced zero mishaps, never failed a single eject and parachute has deployed every time. This includes rescue scenarios with every imaginable scenario copter could face in air. Check this out as one sample of our test sessions! 

Skycat parachute launcher has been tested beyond all imaginable abuses copter possibly could experience in flight. We have sink it to water, it has been heated hours to 90°C and exposed to extensive moisture, we have frosted, defrosted and frosted it again, it has been in mud and snow and still it has worked. Same overshooting tests we have done also for electronics. This is not promise you can use our products outside of submarine but we have tested it so :)

This blog will still be updated as well our Facebook pages and Twitter at

Fly safe - Let's keep our copters flying!



DJI Inspire 1 / Skycat X55-CF parachute integration by

Other documentary videos:

Skycat Twin test session

OPENTX for parachute eject and 6POS switch

DUAL spring loaded switches - single RC channel for parachute eject...

Brake enabled SimonK firmware

Ground eject demonstration in slow motion 

Water test

Aerial test No 2 for Opale Paramodels 2.5m^2 parachute 

Aerial test No 1 Opale Paramodels 1.8m^2 parachute 

A moment of deploy

Tower test 3

Tower test 2


Manufacturers contributed to this project:




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     I just tested the relay feature for the camera and it seems to work ok for me so hopefully it's a configuration issue.

     Q#1: The relay should be connected between signal and -

     Q#2: yes, no write params button.  I think that the mission planner writes the parameters as soon as you modify the contents of a field.

     I wonder if perhaps you're not checking the correct pin because if you're using an APM2 in a case the labeling is quite misleading.  It's best to count from the A0 pin up to A9.  If you count from SPI down then you might end up connecting to A10 because in fact, "SPI" should take up two rows (i.e. 6 pins in total).  ... in fact looking closely at the picture it's very likely this is the issue.  You're certainly not the first to have been led astray by the labelling!

     The relay will only switch up for a short moment, it looks like 1 second according to the screen shots.

solder a switch across the APM Reset button. The parachute deploys and triggers your switch which pulls the Reset low - The APM is effectively off now and all systems turn off.

Henri - I'm suggesting late ---

Have a smaller tube within your launch tube. This is what you will pack your parachute into. This interior tube will be what you shoot out of your launcher. The spring and launch tube should be able to be made smaller in length and diameter. The smaller tube is attached to the main launch tube and will both launch the parachute and help deploy. Since it will be ejected with force it flies away from the launch tube and the parachute is also then pulled out from this tube since it is attached to the copter. At the end the parachute will be deployed. The smaller tube will fall and dangle from its string attached to the copter and the copter floats down. The tubes could be made from lacquered toilet paper, paper towel rolls, wrapping paper rolls, etc. --- Your system does look good. Good Job!

Yes connector seems to be in A10 now. I simply counted 4 rows from left as label didn't show that SP1 needs 2 rows.

Thanks! I'll try again after work.

Hi Brian and thanks for your suggestion!

You are not too late. This journey is just in the beginning.

Latest tests I did I had something similar you suggested. I used baking paper and wrapped parachute in it. It really reduced friction and allowed packing little bit tighter.

Have you seen something similar in action?

I tried again made it work and in the other hand not.

What worked: I got 5V to A9 signal pin for 10/10 seconds as default settings are. Also 50/10 seconds after changing settings. This was without relay

What didn't work: A9 voltage dropped to 0.5V if relay was connected and relay didn't pull. Relay is tiny 5V relay FRS1H-S. Current draw was 4.3mA. I tried relay also with 5V battery and current draw was 40mA and relay worked.

So APM was unable to provide enough power for relay.

Some background about my setup: I have Jdrones 20A ESC (2Amps BEC) connected to output as usual. All other ESC power lines are disconnected now but earlier they didn't. I disconnected them today and has flown with 4 BECs connected dozens of times. BEC voltage (4.95V) didn't change at all when relay supposed to pull, so BEC power supply ability shouldn't be a problem.

I have powered input side with servo cable which has only red cable. It goes from servo output 8 to input 8. Jumper is lost and therefore I used servo cable and took a risk by bypassing a fuse... Anyway, 40mA should not brown APM but who knows if I have brown it earlier.

But in the end A9 had 5V as it should and copter flies. APM just has too low power supply ability in here.

Does someone here have an idea what might be wrong?


     I'm surprised that the APM relay couldn't provide 40mA of power.  That's pretty low and we do have enough to power LEDs which are about the same current draw.

     If you see an RSSI_PIN parameter in your full parameters list could you be sure that it's set to -1?  I'm just a little worried that the rssi (which is an input for reading the signal strength from a receiver) is interfering with the relay which is an output.  I can imagine that the ap-relay may be trying to output a voltage on an input pin and that's limiting the amount of current it can provide.

     If you don't have an rssi-pin parameter then maybe try upgrading to AC3.1 which certainly has it.  I'm really not sure if this will resolve the problem though.

     My next suggestion would be to fall back on using a darlington thing-a-ma-bob like some people use for the external leds.


Unfortunately RSSI_PIN was not source of this problem. It was -1.

I tried also update to AC3.1, changed RSSI_PIN value to A0 and then changed it back to disabled. Didn't help. This was just common practice with Windows programs to do any change to problem value and then change it back.

JD-IO board is now on the way from Thailand but delivery takes few weeks. This should have been tested earlier because now this cause long delay.

I don't know anyone in Finland who possible has JD-IO board, in fact I don't know anyone here who uses APM. I would try to borrow or buy one if someone has it. I need two of them anyway for both copters. If someone in Europe having extra IO board is reading this, I'm willing to buy one today.

Hi all, Looking over the discussion here and I wanted to make sure folks have visibility on our various UAV recovery bundles:

For multi-rotor products the CO2 Recovery Bundle systems are ideal have no problem forcefully shooting a large chute a considerable distance without any special tricks.  Our Iris chute is US made, high quality , strong, compact and light weight.  We have our systems designed into many UAV manufacturers and defense systems products.  If you have questions you can contact me through the website contact forms.


-Gene Engelgau



     Yes, I've looked over the fruitychutes.  They're a little pricey but absolutely fair enough considering the quality and also looking at all the effort that Henri is going through getting a chute to deploy reliably is not a simple task.

     This is an open source project of course and I'm happy to make the parachute release feature support multiple solutions.  Do you think there's a way that the fuitychutes release mechanism could respond to an output from the flight controller?  And what would be the most convenient way?  We could support a relay (i.e. high/low voltage), a servo output or even something more sophisticated like I2C.

Hi Gene,
Thanks for your input! Now we have got great experience in project. Perhaps you've noticed that there in the foreword is collection of manufacturer links including Fruitychutes. Not so many though but all I've heard.
May I ask, what product from your portfolio would be closest to Opale Paramodels Rescue 1,8m2 SET 1 if you look only drag of the parachute?

Hi Randy, To fire the initiator that opens the CO2 bottle in our unit (a small model rocket igniter) it just needs a DC voltage of 3.7V, 300ma.  A single cell 10C Lipo has plenty of power (more is OK!), which is not a problem on a multi-copter.  So the easiest thing is to use a servo controlled switch to turn on the voltage. Here is a device that would work well:

There are a number of similar devices.

Hope this helps!


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