Technology: Parachuting without tears

时间:2019-02-28 04:02:16166网络整理admin

That most terrifying of sports, parachuting, can now be practised with both feet firmly on the ground from start to finish. Systems Technology of Hawthorne, California, has developed a computer simulator to train parachutists to steer. The system was originally developed for the US Forest Service, which uses it to help train ‘smoke jumpers’ who parachute into remote areas to fight forest fires. Two of the systems, which cost about $25 000 each, were delivered last month to the Norwegian air force. One has also been sent to Mongolia to train firefighters there. The trainee sits in front of a colour computer screen which displays a simulation of the scene a parachutist would see. It shows the jumper’s feet, and below that trees, water and other obstacles on the ground. The landing target is marked with a cross and a simulated smoke flare shows the wind direction. To steer, the trainee pulls on toggles, just like those which open and close vents on a real parachute to make it turn. The image on the screen revolves slowly as the toggles are pulled. The instructor can change the obstacles and the wind’s force and direction, and can also stop the descent to offer a few helpful tips. Afterwards,