With over 30 years of non-stop experience in canopy design and testing at Performance Designs, you can imagine that there have been some interesting and unexpected surprises along the way. This talk from John LeBlanc from Performance Designs is all about those sometimes crazy things we’ve learned– about parachutes and ourselves—when we design and develop new prototypes and then finally share the final product with the community.
Some of the lessons have not only played a big part in how in our parachutes have evolved over the last three decades, but has also shaped our sport and our community as well.
John’s comments on canopy aerodynamics from the designer’s point of view will often surprise those who have only learned while jumping commercially available canopies. Avoiding an overly technical treatise, the intention is to provide an entertaining peek behind the curtains at Performance Designs’ R&D department—to see what really goes on. You will see video examples of the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly things that are often an exciting part of canopy development.
Join PD Vice President and Lead Canopy Designer John LeBlanc as he shares stories and offers insights on what we’ve learned – and where it might be going next.
About the Speaker
John LeBlanc is the Vice President of Performance Designs, Inc., and also the Lead Canopy Designer. John started skydiving 42 years ago, as a 16 year old high school student, meeting company founder Bill Coe at a Skydiving club meeting at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU.)
John joined PD in 1983 as the first employee. They decided right at the beginning to engage in continuous canopy research and development, to push way beyond the boundaries of what was then possible in canopy flight. This approach has served the company and community well, and led to PD innovations such as zero-p material, low drag suspension lines, new airfoil and planform technology, and crossbraced canopies. Due to this focus, PD now have 300 employees to meet the demand.
John designed and tested several very well-known canopies. Some of these include the Spectre, Sabre2, Stiletto, Storm Velocity, Optimum reserve, Peregrine, and Valkyrie. He is an accomplished pilot and has more than 6000 jumps.