Accelerate - November 2013

Kiwi company's R&D revolutionises skydiving industry

After around 1000 hours of aerodynamic computation and about 1900 test jumps, Auckland-based parachute company NZ Aerosports has come up with new aerofoil and canopy designs that will generate radically more lift and manoeuvrability for competitive high-performance parachutists.

“Our R&D project became one of the most important programmes conducted within the skydiving industry,” says NZ Aerosports General Manager Attila Csizmadia.

Csizmadia says that, along with the new parachute design, the project enabled them to develop tools that have revolutionised the industry standard in terms of simulation and fast prototyping.

“This new process is still unmatched in the industry and has reduced the time from idea to test jump from several weeks to just a few days,” he says.

On the back of this project, NZ Aerosports’ innovative designs turned to canopy piloting and canopy relative work (manoeuvring two or more open parachutes in close proximity).

“These are the two skydiving disciplines directly related to parachute performance,” Csizmadia says. “While they are not the biggest markets, they are the showcase of the industry.”

The success of the Callaghan Innovation-funded R&D project has resulted in several new canopy piloting distance world and national records in the USA, France, Italy, Australia, Hungary and Columbia.

“Our innovative products allowed our sponsored athletes to represent our brand successfully in many national and international competitions.”

NZ Aerosports also stood out in the Canopy Relative Work competition, with the Australian team Ookoonono breaking the Australian record and reaching the world podium. These achievements gave the company a new visibility on the international scene.

With 95% of NZ Aerosport’s products being exported overseas, the company is already well-known in the USA, Australia, and some countries in Europe.

“We are trying to expand even more in those countries through our marketing, and building a wider dealer network,” Csizmadia says.

“We’re also working on expanding our market in South America, South Africa, and other European countries – the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Norway.”

The company, which is the manufacturer of the second- largest parachute brand in the skydiving industry, is now noticing an increase in sales of its high performance products, followed by those in its intermediate and beginner ranges.

Updated: 7 September 2015