Parachutes? This is how they work


I learnt how Parachutes work and now you will too

Parachute Backpack

Author: Shrey

Publish Date: Fri May 26 2023


What really is a parachute? I am sure you know what they are for, but how they work is a different story. Let me explain.


Nylon Fabric

Parachutes are usually made from Nylon, Polyester, Kevlar, Dacron or Spectra. All of these materials are lightweight, durable, with low air permeability and have high tensile strength. The type and use case defines what material would be used for the parachute. These can also be used in combination with each other, it all depends on the use case.


Packing a Parachute

Parachutes are folded in a certain way and only a FFA-certified parachute rigger can do that since parachutes play such a life-saving function and there is no margin for errors. Once folded, they are then put into a special bag (commonly known as a parachute deployment bag or D-bag) in a specific way to make sure it is deployed properly when needed.


Parachute Bag

The parachute bag is used to safeguard the parachute and eventually, deployment. It is usually made out of Nylon or Polyester for the same reasons as the parachute. The bag is designed to hold the chute in place and prevent it from accidental deployment. The bag is typically connected to the parachute harness or container system. When the parachute deployment sequence is initiated, the bag opens to allow the chute to deploy.

The Physics

Parachute in action

As the bag opens, the packed chute rapidly expands, filling with air and creating drag. This sudden inflation slows down the descent of the person or object attached to the chute, providing a controlled and safe descent. The chute has compartments which are open from the front to trap air in them. This gives the chute a wing shape that helps in a smooth glide down.

Pulling the strings of the chute will change the shape and the direction of the chute. It can also speed up and slow down the descent.

The aftermath

After safely landing on the ground. One would celebrate the fact that their parachute indeed did open, and then fold it back into their bag and then repeat.



“The more you try to speed things up, the faster you fall”