Airborne Systems Tour
Chapter 1 held a membership meeting on 14 June with 21 attendees. Airborne Systems North America hosted the Chapter for a tour of their two Santa Ana, CA facilities. Airborne (formerly Irvin Parachutes) is an industry leader for parachute product design and manufacturing for escape systems, space vehicle recovery, cargo aerial delivery, personnel bail-out, and aircraft braking and spin-stall control applications.
Airborne’s Technical Director Mr. Tony Taylor and Chief Engineer, Mr. Rob Sinclair presented history of the company started by legendary parachute designer and test parachutist Leslie Irvin in the 1920’s. The history showed company innovations and accomplishments from the earliest bail-out parachute design up to recent Orion manned space vehicle test configuration recovery system. A tour was given of both the personnel parachute manufacturing facility and the separate Space and Recovery Division facility.
After the tour the group met at the nearby South Coast Winery and Restaurant for a Chapter business meeting, dinner and two presentations. Special guest speaker Mr. Russell Nakaishi is an avid collector of WWII Japanese, UK, German and American pilot flight equipment. He delivered a PowerPoint presentation of photos of equipment and described the development and in-service experiences that showed the origins of the equipment that was the starting point for the life support systems that have evolved and are currently in use today. He brought a display of various head gear, oxygen masks, parachutes and survival gear from his extensive collection that dated from the early 1940’s.
Our next presenter addressed the current day status of aircrew head protection and oxygen masks to illustrate the path of continual improvement evolution of life support equipment. Mr. John Barnett, Program Manager at GENTEX Corporation, demonstrated current US DoD aircrew helmets and oxygen masks along with describing new integrated approaches to protection for chemical-biological threats to aircrew.
The Chapter presented Messrs. Taylor, Sinclair, Nakaishi and Barnett Certificates of Appreciation for making this a most interesting, informative and overall outstanding event.