BPS conducted over 300 test drops during the H-X SeriesTM test program, 23 of which were structural comparison tests on canopies other than the H-X SeriesTM, including those of our competitors (National, ParaPhernalia and Strong) and several military canopies. At least one round parachute canopy from every manufacturer suffered a structural failure during our comparison testing, including several non-H-X canopies from BPS (but not the XTC-500). The main point of the tests was to dramatically illustrate the immense benefits of the BAT Sombrero Slider and to demonstrate the maddening randomness of parachute testing. Further details on these failures can be seen in our H-X Program Review video. Click here to request a video ($15 ppd. credited to 1st order)
Please note that BPS made every attempt to ensure that these tests were conducted in an impartial and fair manner. All parachutes were packed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and were deployed in exactly the same manner with the same test vehicles as the H-X SeriesTM. Most of the canopies failed at weights and speeds beyond their normally rated structural limits but one did fail at its rated limit.
The current maximum demonstrated airspeed limits for the H-X SeriesTM are not a limitation of the design or of the technology. The current canopy rating reflects the operating limits of the drop test aircraft that is currently available to us (a CASA 212-200 with Vne = 205 KEAS). Test speeds will be increased as other aircraft arrangements are made.
You may have read the "ambiguous language" from some of our competitors regarding the structural integrity of their canopies at higher weights and airspeeds. Words such as "we cannot predict the results", etc. hardly engender confidence in their product. The performance standard itself (NAS 804) for TSO C23b allowed quite a bit of manipulation of test conditions (i.e. generating a 5,000-lb. shock load with a very heavy weight (600#) at a very slow airspeed (90 KIAS) for example). Consequently, there are some canopies on the market that meet the letter of law under TSO C23b but may not be adequate for use as an emergency parachute canopy. The shortcomings in the performance standard itself were largely rectified with TSO C23c and C23d. Canopies authorized under C23c and C23d are generally far superior to those authorized under C23b. Some companies provide recommended operating limitations for their canopies but these limits are so low that they may not be adequate for emergency use. Harness and container certifications under all C23 versions are, for the most part, structurally adequate.
The chart below illustrates the relationship between rate of descent and weight for each size of HX-Series Parachute:
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