Skycat parachute launcher for Drones

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, OPENTX

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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              • Thanks for your reply, Randy, and thank you for your excellent work. As long as the PPM o/p doesn't have the initialization problem I can use a PPM relay to trigger a chute. Is there a way of selecting the output? Also a separate trigger board could compensate for the initialization.

                I've had a look at the code and here are a couple suggestions/ requests.

                1/ I think this may be where the APM gets left behind. If the Pixhawk can sense if the primary power supply is lost it would be useful to add a check that detects this. It would be another confirmation of serious trouble. There would have to be a second battery to power the FC.

                2/ There is no check for attitude before release and allowance for trigger latency. This would be a bit more complicated because the pitch and roll rates would have to be tracked.

                I don't know how often there are catastrophic FC failures but in the event of such a failure a separate trigger board would be the final check. The board would check for loss of heartbeat and if lost and if the craft is falling would deploy. This would be a final hail-Mary so I don't think the board would have to worry about attitude. The board would pass on a trigger request from the FC. The trigger board could be powered by both primary and backup supplies using a double diode input so there is always power. I'm not sure how you'd handle a trigger board failure. The trigger could be a wired "or" with the FC but then the initialization pin high thing comes into play again.    

                • I ordered one backup guard for test. It might solve BEC failures.

                  Battery eliminator circuit backed up with battery :)

    • Hi Nilsen,

      The trigger would need to know the attitude of the craft so does not deploy the chute when it is upside down when the chute would be tangled. It would need to know the delay in the trigger mechanism so it could properly time the release on a tumbling craft.  

  • Why not just build an  airbag same result much simpler.

    • Hi Ed,

      I'm not sure why an airbag would be simpler or lighter. The point of a chute is not only to minimize damage to the craft but to protect bystanders below. A careening craft at 50+ MPH would do a lot of damage, airbag or not.

      • Fair point. I worked indirectly with Elbit skylark Uavs   that used an air cushion to minimise damage on stall recovery.

        My assumption was that a small soda type gas cartridge feeding  a ballon or airbag would arrest and control descent simlar to a chute but can be driven by a single servo to inflate. The drag would reduce both lateral and downward movement similar to a chute.

        • The same amount of material formed into a ball has significantly less drag than a parachute. Think of it as a ball being more aerodynamic.

  • hello, whats the actual all sytem weight?

    • Hello,

      4m2 - 420gr (14.82 ounces) (IFC-60-S is close with these within few grams)

      2.5m2 - 300gr (10.58 ounces)

      Indicative descent rates for some weights:

      4.0m2 (IFC-60-S is very similar)

      • 6kg - 5m/s
      • 9kg - 6.1m/s
      • 12kg - 7m/s
      • 15kg - 7.9m/s


      • 6kg - 6.2m/s
      • 9kg - 7.6m/s
      • 12kg - 8.8m/s
      • 15kg - 9.8m/s
  • Hi everyone,

    what a great thread, I'm really keen on building something like this as well.

    I was just wondering about using something Arduino based with an external barometer or accelerometer to check for a sudden and sustained drop in altitude then fire off the chute. You could make it tiny with, excuse the pun, an ATTINY85 or 45 and if you wanted you could interface with the APM or be standalone.

    I have quite some experience with the ATTiny and programming so I'd be happy to make a prototype and send your way if you would like, either way I love this thread, thanks all for the hard work.



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