Glossary of Terms

Angle of attack

The angle created by the relative wind and an airfoil's mean aerodynamic chord line.

Aspect ratio

Expressed as span (tip to tip) divided by chord (nose to tail). The Classic A/R is approx. 1.8:1.


For the purpose of this manual, attachment of the canopy to risers, threading the suspension lines/steering lines through the slider to the connector links/risers.


The point where a suspension line branches out into two load carrying lines.


The distance from the leading edge (L.E.) to the trailing edge (T.E.), drawn along the mean aerodynamic chord (M.A.C.) line.

Exit Weight

The weight of the jumper, his clothing, harness, parachutes and all equipment.

FAA Parachute Rigger

A person certificated by the FAA for packing and maintenance of reserve/emergency parachutes, generally competent to assemble the parachute and determine if the system is compatible with specific manufacturer's requirements.

Glide ratio

A function of the lift to drag ratio; the lift generated by an airfoil divided by the drag produced. Varies with the deflection of the tail of a ram air canopy.

Leading Edge (L.E.)

The forward surface of an airfoil. For a ram air canopy, this is a projection, the point where free stream air is deflected by "stagnant" ram air.

Load bearing ribs

Ribs to which suspension lines are attached, bearing the weight of the jumper.

Lower steering line(s)

The lines, which join the upper steering lines to the jumper's steering handles/toggles.

Non load bearing rib

A rib between two load bearing ribs; maintains airfoil shape.

Soft cell

A half cell, fourth inboard from the wingtip, with a port cut on the bottom skin surface. Reduces inner cell pressure, modifying flight and steering characteristics.


The distance from one wingtip to the other wingtip; the left to right dimension of an airfoil.

Suspension line

Load bearing line, which connects the canopy to the risers.

Trailing edge

The rear edge of the canopy, where top skin and bottom skin join. Upper steering lines attach here.

Wing loading

The weight supported by an airfoil, expressed as a ratio; e.g., pounds per square foot.


Frequently referred to as the "stabilizers." The wingtip is a crucial component which influences lift, drag, and control response.

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