Parachute Short Course

Parachute Short Course


First Announcement: H.G. Heinrich Parachute Systems Short Course

June 3-8, 2018

Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center

425 Water Street

Portsmouth, Virginia 23704

Course Venue Agenda Registration Topics Speakers Contact


Registration Check-In:
Registration check-in will be held 5:00pm-7:00pm on Sunday, June 3 in the Registration Desk Area on the first floor of the hotel, across from the Holley Ballroom. Please know, that if you are unable to check-in during this time, check-in materials will be available to you the morning of Monday, June 4th.

Course: NIA is pleased to present this AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems (ADS) Technical Committee organized short course. The technical coordinator of the course is Dr. Jean Potvin of St. Louis University and the delivery is coordinated by NIA. The sponsors of the course are: the AIAA ADS technical committee and the National Institute of Aerospace.

Course Objective: The HG Heinrich Short Course presents a systems approach to the design and engineering of parachute systems. The course will focus on the needs of engineers from government and industry who monitor the development of recovery systems and of engineers who design decelerator systems and oversee their fabrication. Case studies of design of aerodynamic decelerators and related components will be presented. Hands-on exercises on parachute systems design will be assigned and discussed. These exercises will involve the use of laptop computers.

Course Materials: Each participant should have a copy of The Parachute Recovery System Design Manual by Theo Knacke. If you have a copy, bring it to the course. You can order a copy through us at the price of $50, and it will be delivered to you at the Short Course. For the latter, it is necessary to check this option on the registration form. Additional handout material will be provided during the lectures. Please bring your laptop computer if possible, as most of the lecture notes will be on a DVD.

Dress Code: Business casual for civilians, and pertinent uniform for military personnel.

Course Prerequisites: Participants should be familiar with aerospace system design and college-level aerodynamics.

Who Should Attend: Professional engineers and scientists working in all branches of the aerospace industry, the armed forces, and academia. No prior experience with parachute hardware or design is required.

Language: All presentations will be given in English.

Venue: The course will be at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. This is a hotel on the waterfront, with every room having a view of the busy harbor. A block of rooms has been reserved at the discounted conference rate $93 plus tax per night. The rooms will be held until May 11, 2018. Rooms may be reserved by calling toll-free 1-888-839-1775 and asking for the group block “NIA Parachute Short Course”, or by accessing the booking link: Room Reservation – Parachute Course

Registration: The standard course tuition for this 5 day short course will be $1700. The fee includes course registration, course material, morning and afternoon refreshments. Registration may be done either online with credit card payment or by mail with check payment.
The deadline for registration is May 1, 2018. In addition, if you have registered and you need to cancel your registration before, you will get a full refund with the exception of a $100 administrative fee. After May 1, 2018, the refund would be less depending upon costs imposed by the hotel. Full-time undergraduate or graduate college students will receive a 50% tuition discount and current members of the AIAA ADS TC will receive a 20% tuition discount. In addition, if an organization, company, government lab or university sends more than 3 employees, there will be a tuition discount. The discount will be 10% for 3 or 4 employees of the same organization and it will be 20% for 5 or more employees from the same organization. To take advantage of the multiple employee discounts, only the mail-in payment may be used.  In addition, any international participants should use the mail-in registration. All others may register using either on-line registration or mail-in registration.Click here to register for the course online

Click here to request a mail-in registration form

Topics: The topics covered in the course will include

  • Canopy Design
  • Case Studies
  • Computer Simulation
  • Construction Methods
  • Definitions and Nomenclature
  • Deployment Processes
  • Design Project
  • Drag Area Control
  • Flight Mechanics
  • Gliding Parachutes
  • Parachute Materials
  • Parachute Types and Applications
  • Steady and Unsteady Aerodynamics
  • Supersonic Parachutes
  • Testing: Data Analysis and Instrumentation
  • Dr. Juan Cruz: Engineer, Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch, , NASA-Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
  • Mr. John Underwood: Principal Engineer, Vorticity Ltd., Chalgrove Oxfordshire, UK.
  • Dr. Jean Potvin: Professor, Physics Department, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Mr. John Watkins: Principal Engineer, Pioneer Aerospace Corp., South Windsor, CT
  • Dr. Dean Wolf: Consultant in Parachute Systems and Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff of Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico (also recipient of the AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Award)

Contact: If you have any questions about the short course, please contact Mary Catherine Bunde at (757) 325-6731.



100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666