Aircrew Personnel Lowering Device

Period of Performance: 04/24/2006 - 02/24/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Prototype Productions, Inc.
21641 Beaumeade Circle Suite 311
Ashburn, VA 20147
Principal Investigator


The U.S. Air Force has identified a need to improve the current Aircrew Personnel Lowering Device (PLD), which was developed during the Vietnam era. Since that time, there have been significant advances in materials that can reduce the PLD s size and weight. For Phase I, Prototype Productions, Inc. (PPI) proposes to use advanced engineering design software and a detailed engineering analysis to investigate the feasibility of developing an innovative PLD. PPI has met with U.S. Air Force life support personnel and examined the current PLD. PPI has also researched advanced materials and identified several that are appropriate for the next generation PLD. PPI has developed six preliminary design options. The requirements and performance criteria for a replacement PLD will be studied and a design-tradeoff analysis will be performed on the six preliminary design concepts. The key high risk area will be the development of an effective braking mechanism that will provide the required performance while dissipating significant amounts of heat. Upon determination of design feasibility, the successful Phase I efforts will transfer into the development and production of a Personnel Lowering Device that, at a minimum, reduces the size and weight of the present PLD by a factor of two.