DND News

DND tests modernized parachute at Cold Lake facility

The Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) this week tested a modernized parachute that could be used in the CT-114 Tutor. The CT-114 Tutor is a safe and effective aircraft, and its use could potentially be extended thanks to this new parachute. The parachute could be a rapid and relatively inexpensive way to increase the level of safety of the pilots.
AETE, which is located at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, is a vital facility that allows the Department of National Defence (DND) to rigorously test equipment and aircraft.  Whether it’s testing new aerospace equipment or seeking ways to optimize existing equipment, testing at AETE ensures the ever-increasing safety of Canada’s men and women in uniform. On average, AETE manages about 30 projects of various complexities.
 “AETE continuously works towards finding innovative ways to carry out its mission more efficiently, meeting the unit’s flight test mission, with fewer resources," said Colonel M.R. Barker, AETE’s commander. "The CT-114 Tutor parachute trial is the perfect proof of that. To install an all-new ejection system is complicated and expensive. Today, we were assessing if using a new parachute could bring an increased level of safety for a relatively low cost.”
The Government of Canada remains committed to investing in research and development, and is constantly seeking ways to become more innovative. A unit like AETE, which helps gather information and knowledge so that DND can make informed decisions, is crucial to moving towards a leaner, more efficient, and more effective military.
AETE has been conducting tests on the CT-114 Escape System to determine what changes could be made to improve the Escape System’s performance. There is the potential that a modified, new parachute could be a rapid and relatively inexpensive upgrade that could increase the level of safety of the pilots.
Phase 1 of the testing took place earlier this month. It included test drops from the CH-146 to measure parachute deployment characteristics and assess the performance of a modernized emergency escape parachute.
Phase 2 took place on 27 and 28 April. It included firing ejection seats and mannequins from a Ground Test Vehicle. This vehicle, known as “Black Thunder,” is essentially a powerful pick-up truck with a modified bed that can fire an ejection seat. The test team observed the ejection path of the mannequin, how high the mannequin went, at what height the parachute canopy is stable, and the mannequin’s descent rate.