U.S. Army Wants ‘Black Box’ to Prevent Parachute Accidents

A U.S. Army paratrooper leaps from the ramp of a C-130 aircraft during an airborne operation on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo: U.S. Army.A U.S. Army paratrooper leaps from the ramp of a C-130 aircraft during an airborne operation on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo: U.S. Army.

Army researchers are working on what could become a black box for paratroopers designed to prevent future jump accidents.

“The Suite of Senors, as it’s nicknamed now, is a concept leaders in the airborne community hope to develop into a device to place on a paratrooper during a jump to gather a range of data, such as body position and altitude during an aircraft exit,” according to a story on Fayobserver.com.

“The data could help investigators precisely piece together fatal airborne mishaps, review procedures to mitigate future deaths and determine which paratroopers need extra training.”

Currently, investigators rely on eyewitness accounts or evidence, such as torn parachute canopies, to piece together what they believe occurred.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Farnsworth, director of Army Safety and commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, set the concept in motion several months ago. He said findings from fatal airborne operations would be more accurate – and used to mitigate deaths – if investigators could review solid data to reconstruct the mishap, according to the Fayobserver.com.

The concept for the suite of sensors will continue to be refined as the manufacturers work it toward a demonstration phase, which could determine how the technology will be created and put into the testing phase, the Fayobserver.com reports. It will be tested through the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center laboratory in Massachusetts.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.