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Mini-parafoil delivers on a dime

Miniaturized guided parafoil system provides special delivery in more ways than one.

STARA Technologies

This just in: Bin Laden wants to defect, but he needs a new ID and a plane ticket. Just kidding--but should there come a day, there's a miniaturized guided parafoil system that can deliver these items, along with a can of Barbasol, right to the cave door.

This patented sensor guidance system developed by STARA Technologies of Gilbert, Ariz., can deliver almost anything from 1 to 400 pounds, according to the company. Its Web site includes a helpful list of suggested air dropable items any turncoat may need, such as money, passports, cell phone, or blood packets.

It's particularly handy because delivery is handled by tossing the payload out the plane window. The package, which is programmed with target coordinates and opening altitude, can either detach over the target or "perform a flared, soft landing maneuver."

"What makes STARA's Mosquito guided parachute so unique is not only its weight class but its mission," company president Colin McCavitt said in the press release. "It's not how much we drop; it's what we drop."

Like fake rocks, for instance. At a recent demo at the Precision Airdrop Technology Conference in Yuma, the company chucked sensors disguised as rocks out of a C-130 flying 2 miles out at 10,000 feet. The ersatz rocks landed as close as 3 meters from the target. "On the outside it's a rock, but on the inside it can be a sensor designed to listen for enemy troops or sniff chemical weapons," STARA Chief Engineer Glen Bailey said.

The next time you're on a commercial airplane at 10,000 feet he invites you to look out the window, pick any house below, and remember that STARA can put a sensor on it from where you're sitting.