Smart Snap Hook

Period of Performance: 11/14/2005 - 05/12/2006

$120K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator

Abstract

U.S. Army mass tactical airborne operations occasionally experience the accidental towing of a parachutist due to improper parachute deployment and/or entanglement with the static line. This event sometimes goes undetected for long periods of time after the affected jumper has left the aircraft. This can result in serious or fatal injury of the towed parachutist or subsequent jumpers who make contact with the towed jumper. We propose development of a Smart Snap Hook that actively monitors the load on each individual static line, providing an immediate alarm to the Jumpmaster and Safety in the event of a towed parachutist condition. Our rugged, reliable, and low cost Smart Snap Hook module will attach to existing snap hooks without compromising their current load-carrying capacity, will require no external infrastructure, and need only minimal annual maintenance. Microprocessor-based digital signal processing in the Smart Snap Hook will allow a towed jumper alarm to be provided within seconds of a jumper failing to separate from the aircraft normally, while completely avoiding false alarms. This will enable the rest of the jumpers on the stick to be halted, and towed parachutist retrieval to take place immediately, dramatically reducing the risk of serious or fatal injury.