Development and testing of a paragliding device for disabled pilots

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Engineering
Department Mechanical Engineering
Author Ali, Faris
Title Development and testing of a paragliding device for disabled pilots
Date 2015
Description People with lower limb physical disabilities have been traditionally limited in their options for recreational sports and outdoor activities, including paragliding. The Phoenix paragliding system has been created to help these individuals paraglide safely. In order to address the limitations of this populace, Able Pilot, a local nonprofit organization approached the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah to build a mobility device, called Phoenix. The university accepted this partnership due to Able Pilot's established research instructional program. Able Pilot's program is designed to establish and support the development and testing of formal paragliding and their Ultralight instructional protocols and methods for pilots with various disabilities. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a proposed improvement of the existing Phoenix 1.5 paragliding system. The Phoenix 2.0 is similar to previous versions; however, changes in design have been introduced to better meet customer requirements received after test flights with the earlier versions. The new version is proposed to be constructed from lightweight materials without losing strength. The frame is made of aluminum alloy 6061-T6 tubing with an outer diameter of 1 in. and wall thickness of 0.095 in. The Phoenix 2.0 is constructed from an aluminum alloy opposed to the Phoenix 1.5' s Chromalloy steel alloy frame. This results in a lighter device. Substituting an aluminum alloy led designers to request engineering analyses, especially finite element analysis, to verify that this version's structure is strong enough to protect the pilot during various landing scenarios. In order to improve pilot safety, analysis and design changes have been made to the headrest, which also acts as roll protection during adverse landings. Final recommendations include continuing work on the headrest to increase its utility as both a handle and a safety feature, upgrading the wheels to heavy duty mountain bike wheels, and regularly inspecting and replacing these wheels. These recommendations, supported by the work presented in this thesis, will ensure that the Phoenix 2.0 will safely allow people with lower limb disabilities to fly the blue skies.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Paragliding; Wheelchair sports; Paragliders - Design and construction; Disabled pilots
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Faris Ali 2015
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 27,373 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3865
ARK ark:/87278/s6k96gv5
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-06-06
Date Modified 2018-01-03
ID 197416
Reference URL
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