May 25, 2001, 3:34 PM
Post #1 of 2
I have noticed that a lot of gear manufacturers have rather low weight guidelines for their chutes. Icarus is the only one that I have seen that has a higher MSW of 300-330 lbs. Does anyone know the reason? How do they determine this limit?
Maximum suspended weights are determined by a process that involves engineering, salesmanship and a bit of legal mumbo jumbo. First of all the engineering department does a bunch of test jumps/test drops to determine the maximum weight at which a canopy will survive opening shock. Secondly they send up a bunch of highly experienced test jumpers to determine what is the MSW they can survive the landings. This MSW number is usually way higher than casual weekend skydivers can handle. Then the sales department surveys the market and tries to tell the market what it wants to hear. Finally the legal department adds a fudge factor to reduce risk, knowing full well that skydivers will exceed whatever MSW they publish. In conclusion, MSW is determined by a magical, mysterious process loosely linked to reality. If you do 1,000 jumps per year you can exceed MSW on a main. If you exceed MSW on a reserve - up to a maximum of 254 pounds - the canopy will probably survive opening shock, but your ankles may not survive the landing. Exceeding MSW on reserves makes you a fashion lemming and you will eventually go the way of the lemmings.