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Traditional fast ropes used by the military and civilian first responders are limited in situations where there is significant prop downwash or high wind turbulence. Such situations create erratic movement of the rope and make it difficult for the roper to safely connect with the rope. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) developed a new fast rope that is resistant to downwash caused by larger aircraft. The rope is designed to allow a safer grip higher up on the rope, and the rope provides high accuracy when descending to targets such as small roofs and boats.
The NAWCAD solution consists of three separate braids around a weighted or unweighted core. The weighted core alone provides stability, but the braids of dissimilar materials increase stiffness and also provide substantial stability in unweighted fast ropes. The design significantly absorbs or dampens the potential oscillations of the suspended rope, resulting in a fast rope that can be used in a much wider range of situations while always delivering improved accuracy and safety. The rope was originally designed to compensate for the high rotor wash generated by the V-22 Osprey, but the rope has proven advantageous against the rotor wash of heavy helicopters and has demonstrated safety and accuracy advantages under smaller aircraft as well.
- Stable: Undulation and oscillation is greatly reduced by the stiffness of carefully selected layers of differing materials and the weight of an optional lead core
- Safe: The increased stability of the rope makes it easier for personnel to connect with the rope, and the new design enables personnel to rope-in higher up on the rope
- Accurate: The more stable rope makes it possible to fast rope onto smaller targets, including small boats
- US Patent 7,954,410 is available for license and commercialization
- Potential for collaboration with Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division research team