Concept : Icarus, Maple Seed & Beetle Wing-type Parachute.

Introduction: Concept : Icarus, Maple Seed & Beetle Wing-type Parachute.

About: Tovdesign is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Belgium, founded in 2002 by Tom De Vrieze, offering design consultancy, (rapid) protoyping and VR immersion. Awarded with Belgium's leading design award…

Icarus is a conceptual approach for developing a new type of parachute.

Compact and foldable, useable as from high-level and low-level heights.

I am seeking to develop this idea into reality with a team of aerospace and avionic engineers, in compliance with all regulations of national and international aviation authorities.

Although the guided video is funny and has nothing directly to do with the project, indirectly it shows how complex current parachutes are struggling with their cords, and lifting off distance to get airborne.

Step 1: The Thinking

Viewing recently Battle Factory on Discovery Channel about how parachutes were made, I noticed, since the idea of Leonardo da Vinci, there were no, or rarely, other point of views on developing types of parachutes.

Current parachutes are evolved in optimizing and esthetics, but it still remains a complex and intensive way to manufacture them.Further more classic parachutes need a certain level or height to get dropped.


So I started thinking to develop a new kind of parachute for vertical descend.(see my first sketch)

Explanation of the first sketch :
Instead of using the whole surface (A) of semi-sphere classic parachute,the alternative is a single wing with surface (a), making x-rotations per minute (x * RPM) so the result of vertical descend ( becomes the same.

That is the basic idea.

Classic parachute has a 'linear' vertical descend, the Icarus type with x-rotations parachute has a helix vertical descend.

Step 2: Additional Info on Maple Seeds & Monocopters

We all know nature already designed this with the maple seeds ( and this has inspired a lot of inventors to make a similar design for flying.

The results you can find in monocoptor or gyropter, or even the now popular drones. (

Step 3: The Formula :

Basic simple relative formula exists of 2 equations :

a. the mechanical equilibrium during the helix descend

b. defining the descend rate of the helix descend

Step 4: The Package :

Beyond this concept I would like to integrate some additional functions (see image front view) such as :

- a foldable blade (also see sketch 1 and the image of beetle wing unfolded)

- handle bar with cardan shaft to steer with your body

- small gearbox solar powered with electrical moter to speed up the rotations while needed, to prevent collision while descending

- reserve parachute

- both reserve parachute as throttle gearbox are manually controlled at the handle bar

- harness

Step 5: The Foldable Blade

Beetle wing folded / unfolded versus Icarus folded.

Step 6: Icarus Versus Classic Parachute

This is not a monocopter of other flying object, main purpose is to descend from air, with the possibility to get additional power to steer your direction.

Current renderings are showing the descend of a high-level heigt, but low-level is also a need.

Furthermore the image of the folded frame and wing should be more compact.

To develop this idea into reality with a team of aerospace and avionic engineers, in compliance with all regulations of national and international aviation authorities.

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    6 years ago

    Interesting concept. I do have a few questions though. First, do you know how much surface area would be required on the blade to keep the wearer from falling too fast? Also, wouldn't there need to be at least a slight angle to the blade to allow it to spin efficiently? How long would it take for the blade rotation to reach optimal speeds to slow the wearers fall? Also, why not have the axis of rotation directly above the wearer? Wouldn't it throw off the users center of gravity by having it at a tangent to the wearer? And I am no professional, nor do I have any experience with parachuting or aerodynamics, but I can only imagine some sort of turbulence as the wearer fell. The less important question I have is the portability. Modern parchutes do have faults, but they can usually be compact enough to be carried on the back when not in use. I personally cannot see how the current design of this device could be very portable, nor how it could be deployed quickly, safely and efficiently. Especially not while jumping out of an aircraft at around 30,000 feet. As I said before though, it is an interesting concept and wish to see how it goes. (Sorry for how long this comment is)