A parachute is a device used to slow the movement of a person or object as it falls or moves through the air. Used primarily for safe descent from high altitudes (e.g., a spacecraft reentering the atmosphere, a person or object dropped from an airplane), parachutes can also be used in horizontal configurations to slow objects like race cars that have finished their runs.
A dome canopy may consist of a flat circle of fabric, or it may have a conical or parabolic shape that will not lie flat when spread out. It has a vent hole at the apex to allow some air to flow through the open canopy.
A system of five parafoils has been proposed for use on Boeing 747 commercial airliners. The complex system would allow the pilot to control the deployment of each canopy. Rather than dropping the airplane straight down, the system would establish a glide path that would allow the pilot to control and land the craft. The practicality of the proposed system has not yet been proven.