First good job on finding this error and raising awareness.
As far as the 20 year life cycle I have seen many chutes that are completely airworthy after that time and I would not hesitate to pack them. Nylon does not degrade just sitting in a parachute; however, sun damage can be brutal or there can be other factors that might affect the servicability of a parachute or a H/C which is why we inspect. Of course if we find damage wheather the chute is 2 years old or 20 years old it shouldn't be packed until we fix the problem.
For a little bit of history I used to work for Strong Enterprises and we tested all chutes coming into the shop for servicability. The age of the chute had absolutely nothing to do with functionality assuming it was made out of nylon vs silk.
I blame part of this problem on old tools and old packing methods that pre-date Cypres.
Fore xample, I struggled for a decade to pack Racers using steel T-bodkins. When Cypres was introduced (circa 1991), I tried packing a couple of Cypres-equipped Racers using steel T-bodkins and the soft bodkins - in accordance with the old manual - and got overwhelmed by the high tool count. IOW I cannot count that high and I kept losing track of where all those tools were in the pack job. ARGHHHHHHH!
I was never quick or graceful until I started using ghost loops (temporary closing loops). Then five years later (circa 2005), Jump Shack started giving away ghost loops for free!
Just a hint: ghost loops for single-pin Pop-Tops (Reflex or Teardrop) require a lump of scrap iron (i.e. a metal ring) at the bottom.
While the mistake of the loop not going through the cutter is a bad one, it is not life threatning. The reserve would still function when deployed manualy. Thousands and thousands of jumps are made every year with no AAD's.
Your attitude stinks. Have you never made a mistake? Not likely.
I hope this rigger learns from their mistake. And I hope they don't have to deal with an ego like yours.
And there is nothing wrong with a 20 year old reserve, provided it is in fair shape. Hell I just watched a canopy older than that be BASE jumped.
Nice catch. I'm not serprised it was missed at sereral drop zones during the gear check. We've been pushing to make sure that a rigger does the gear check when people arrive to fill out the waver. Even then there are some that are a lot more maticulas then others. In the past I've seen it handaled by the little girles at the counter who were not even sky divers. It's an issue. It tends to get passed over in a very casual way. Often the people have ten other things to do and rarely do they seem to reallize the importants of it. It opens up all kinds of liability for the drop zone and the pilot.
On the other issues of age and a lack of history. I was talking to another rigger in the area recently about this. He has in fact adopted a twenty year rule. It's a choice he has made that he will not service gear older then that. He was citeing research that suggested a drop off in strength around that time independent of UV, temp, or other factores. If any one has a copy I'd like to see the data on this.
Now the FAA hasn't taken any stand on this. I know of a few manufactorers that have volentaroly placed a twenty year life span on there own products. Most noteably Buttler and National. Strong has rules on recertifacation on it's tandom gear. We're starting to come up on the 40/25 rule on PD reserves. It's been a while but the last time I talked to some one from there I was told that they were fairly happy with the condition of the canopies comeing into the shop and were able to return the majority of them to service. It' been a couple of years does any one know how those statistics are adding up?
To the best of my knowlage GPI and FCI have never seen fit to put a life span or pack/ride tracking requirments on there equipment like PD has done. I don't think there is any leagle reason to ground the rig on that bases. The fact that there is no history or old cards is a little annoying but it doesn't nesasaraly make the rig unairworthy. If he just put it togather he may not have gotten the old cards along with the canopy. Or some one may have been pencil whipping the thing for so long that they were embarosed to hand the card to a rigger. Or it may have just been lost. When you sign it off you are your self certifing it to be airworthy. Nothing in the past matters. The only cards you actually have to keep with the rig are those that show complience with SB and AD. Other wise you are responcable for seeing to it that the rig is in compliance with them your self and signing them off again your self. I'm not saying it's good practice, in fact it pisses me off, but in theory as there is no tracking requirment on this canopy you can just chunk the old cards.
It's a little bit dangerous to start talking about mandatory service lifes of TSO'ed gear. I don't really like the presedent. My airplane was built in 69. Should I just throw it away as well. Aluminiom has as much of an issue with metal fateague as nilon has with age. We've opporated for many a long year on the idea of condition being the bases of airworthiness. At least that's how I was raised. Maybe I'm paranoid but I tend to feel that part of the push towards this is a wish by the manufactores to limit liability.
This is a subject that irritates me greatly. Just because a “few” people in the Parachute Industry Association would like to put arbitrary life limits on parachute components, it does not make it a rule or law. These few people have been trying to institute arbitrary life limits on equipment for one simple reason - so they can sell more gear. It is not a safety issue. This is why for the last 20 plus years, every time it has been addressed at the PIA, it has been voted down. Having the PIA put life limits on equipment would be like having the insurance industry telling you how much insurance you are required to buy. It will be a SAD DAY if the “few” within the PIA succeed in this life limit issue. So far, in the USA the FAA is still the only entity that can issue an AD to “ground” a parachute. People in our sport are dieing because of misuse of new equipment and overloading reserve canopies, not because of use of older equipment. If you don’t believe that, check the fatality reports for the past 20 years. Why doesn’t the PIA address that issue? For example, how many rigs are available that will hold a 100 sq. ft. main canopy and a 218 sq. ft. reserve? Not many. The 20 year service life on canopies is a rumor / myth. The basic design of round canopies has not changed in some 50 years. A 26' Lopo is still based on the 26' Navy conical canopy. And a 7-cell, F-111 ram-air reserve canopy are still 7-cell, F-111 canopy. Unfortunately, some equipment mfgs are having some success at convincing people that arbitrary life limits are a good thing. IMHO, a rigger that will not pack a rig over 20 years old should give up their rigger’s certificate. It is the rigger’s responsibility to recertify a parachute at each inspection and repack cycle. Imagine if Cessna, Beechcraft and DeHavilland decided to limit the service life of their airplanes. Virtually every jump plane in the world would be immediately grounded. Imagine also if aircraft mechanics refused to work on jump planes older than 20 years. The newest Twin Otter in the world is 30 years old. The average age of the jump plane fleet is closer to 40 years old. AOPA is a member association and exist largely to keep pilots informed and protect their ability to keep flying by helping to keep both Government and Mfg’s in check. . The PIA is an industry association. USPA is a member association. You really need to think about the difference.
There is NO PIA RECOMMENDATION on service life. It has been discussed at many meetings but NO official action has been taken. Many riggers, including some involved with PIA, have various time periods that they use themselves. There are some manufacturer's guidelines, or in some cases stronger statements, on service life. More are likely to be added by some manufacturers, and a PIA postition, especially on orphan gear, MAY be a topic of discussion tomorrow at the Rigging and Technical committee meetings.
Thanks Ray and Terry, Care a h/c and reserve gets is a lot more important factor than age, would you agree? a 2 year old container and reserve that has been in salt water a few time is, and kept in a trunk more problematic than a 20 yo h/c reserve that has been lightly used and stored in a house with ac and in the dark
On the topic of old equipment an older fellow brough his old gear by the DZ and did a refresher course/student jump. He had over 1000 jumps back in the 1960's and had a really nice paracommander style round. One of the guys at the DZ wants to jump it.
So the rigger is going to hook the canopy up to a 3 ring release and put it in a rig for him. They all looked over this 40 year-old parachute carefully and it appears to be fully functional and in good shape. That's 2x the proposed age limit. Everything looked like it was in really good shape to my amateur eyes. I think it will be jumped next week so we'll all see how it goes!
The only thing that "Stinks" & shows "Ego" is the way you react to that post, you did not understand the point of that post. Sorry for you pal. I hope it was a second of "Brain Lock" & not more then that.
Please do not use that forum to go low on a personal base.
This post was opened to make the skydivers & riggers aware to issues that might effect the safety of the jump.
It was not opened to put a stain on a rigger or on a specific system.
If a skydiver choose not jumping an ADD this is his own choose & he is aware of that.
When a skydiver choose to have an AAD he trust the rigger for giving him the rig with all parts set to work as planed. If it is an AAD means: Batteries, mfg. service at the time, loop into the cutter & more.
Riggers must be aware for looking Twice at the loop going into the hole at all rigs - packing pop top rigs with pin in back & cutters on the pack tray, using bodkins & soft bodkins need a triple attention to eliminate warps or missing the hole.
The p/c will come out when the ripcord will be pulled by the user BUT if the user which asked for an AAD might need it from any reason the system will not work !!!
I'm for education all time the persons likes to learn, we the riggers study all time, the whole rigging life.
Too many rigging errors are around most low level rigging performance or training:
Line out of the links, steering lines out of slider grommets, steering lines not attached to the toggles & slide out on deployment, packed with 3 years Cypres batt., packed with non-valid AAD (no mfg.service) & loops warp around cutters & more, the list is long.
20 years old reserves which might have 60 I&R based on 120 days cycle should be out of service, a reserve with no history kept in service is wrong, going up in a swoop compt. with a wet reserve & got killed on that reserve for a deployment issue is wrong.
Skydiving is NOT a wild area it is an aviation sport.
PD, Aerodyne & PDF put a limit of repacks & deployments for a reason based on long time study R&D & these guide lines are nice to follow.
The military have also a life limit for parachutes why you think we should carry on with no time limit ?
The fact you saw the base jumper jumped that older canopy does not mean it is smart or you have a data to be based on.
I like to read, hear & learn from others, please think before you replay.
JP keep it PRO & do not go LOW !!!
Safe Jumps !!!
(This post was edited by RIGGER on Sep 15, 2007, 8:33 AM)
Care a h/c and reserve gets is a lot more important factor than age, would you agree? a 2 year old container and reserve that has been in salt water a few time is, and kept in a trunk more problematic than a 20 yo h/c reserve that has been lightly used and stored in a house with ac and in the dark.
In reply to:
Absolutely dead nuts on!
And in fact as I recall, someone at the PIA discussion brought up the point that the flippy floppy aerobatic pilots are the REAL concern.
These guys have often never SEEN their canopy color, much less understand how and why it should be taken care of.
I've seen these bail out rigs resting in a cockpit, sitting in the sun for 8-10 at a time, almost DAILY!
If they are taken out of the aircraft, they're stored safely in the hot car truck or sometimes tossed haphazardly in an out of the way place in the hangar...I saw one once not long ago sitting on TOP of a pile of cleaning rags and shop towels.
Now compare that to the 22 year old G-3 in one of my demo rigs... It never been deployed, gets packed about twice a year, (only used on specific types of NIGHT demos) never been wet, H-C is rarely EVER exposed to the sun, always kept cool, clean and dry.
I have NO qualms about strapping that big boy on with an exit weight of 270 lbs.
But yes, there are riggers out there that unthinkingly buy into the party line about this non-existent 20 year 'rule' without even LOOKING at the canopy!
~Hell, at age 18 I did my FJC on a rig 10 years OLDER than me!
In manufacturing parlance it's called 'planned obsolescence'
You think Detroit couldn't make a car that won't rust out. and have the bumpers stay on 10 years? Sure they could, but if a car LASTED 40 years they would be out of business.
Parachutes HAVE to be manufactured to certain high quality standards and specifications, unfortunately for the manufacturer...if ya take good care of said parachute, it lasts a really long time.
Hard to sell someone a new one if they already HAVE a good one.
Harder to sell someone on a budget a new one if they can get a used one that does the SAMETHING for 1/3 the price.
I'm sorry but I'm not convinced...couple months ago I dug out my 23 year old Para-Foil for an little accuracy meet.
Bought with 500 jumps on it, I added another 6 or 700.
It opened great & flew fine, but I'm supposed to believe a canopy made to MORE exacting standards and of similar age, that may have been jumped 1/2 dozen times and repacked maybe 50-60 times ....is JUNK?!
Yeah, and I got a line on a great deal regarding this bridge for sale in Arizona...
(This post was edited by airtwardo on Sep 15, 2007, 12:41 PM)
Shlomo, you need to make sure to say, "In your opinion." In my opinion, a competent rigger should be able to inspect a canopy and determine if it is airworthy, with or without a packing record. Just like an aircraft mechanic does when he completes an annual inspection on an airplane.
"20 years old reserves which might have 60 I&R based on 120 days cycle should be out of service, a reserve with no history kept in service is wrong, going up in a swoop compt. with a wet reserve & got killed on that reserve for a deployment issue is wrong."
Now, you are talking completely uninformed. This person died under an almost new reserve. These are the facts. Jumper wt: ~120 lbs, weight belt: 25 lbs, rig weight: ~20 lbs. Total weight: ~165 lbs. Field elevation: ~6,000'. Temp: Hot. Density altitude: over 9,000'. Canopy size: 110 sq ft. (Max recommended wt: 143 Lbs @ sea level) This jumper had a 1.5 wing loading at a density altitude pushing 10,000' on an F-111, 7-cell reserve! A properly loaded 7-cell canopy with a line twist is no big deal, you just kick out of it. A highly overloaded 7-cell reserve with line twist is deadly.
You ought to know what you are talking about, before to talk.
I don't think any one here will contest that that was a pretty good booboo you cought. I don't think any one here will deny that continuing education and awareness are important issues. You don't want to say it, fine, I will. A pop top with a cypres is a cluster fuck. Packing it is more complex. No way around it. You can screw it up. This is some thing people should pay more attention to.
You have also taken some other stances here. Let me make this clear, I'm not on your side of the argument right now but I am lissening. This is a tecnical groop. All you have to do is convence us. I and others would like to hear the data you are baseing this on.
PD and Aerodynes stance are well known. I do not recall and could not find on their web site in the manuals a lifetime on FFE canopies. Have all of you checked out there new high speed deployment system? I haven't seen any of them around here yet. I'm haveing trouble with the PDF link. That is again some thing I don't deal with on a regular bases. Maybe you could repost some of that here. It would seem that PIA has in fact not taken a stand on this. I would like to hear any tecnical arguments from PIA that you might be refering to. If there is evedence for a time deteareation of nilon I and others would like to hear more about it.
As to PD, I'm trying to remember when they really started to build sport reserves? I'm wondering about the timeing and the climant at the time? In the mid to late eighties there was a lot of talk about perosity becouse people were putting old worn out Ravens that had been jumped as mains in reserves. There were some low cutaways that ended in fatalities. I'm wondering if that was the time frame when they wrote that requirement into their rules. Now I think it's a fine idea to track these things and an exalent oppertunity to gather some data on the ageing of canopies under normal wear over time. They should be acumulateing some date now. Do you know what percentage they are returning to service? Have they been doing any retesting of reserves that were below there min? Has it shown a higher failure rate? Or have they failed to continue to meat the spec's of the TSO? Inquireing minds want to know. Have you seen there numbers on this or better yet could they publish them?
As GPI/FCI has not seen fit to put a life span on there reserve I do not see where the lack of a history on the canopy is in any way relavent. I can see no reason to ground it on any reason other then condition. If you want to make that statement then justafy it. How does the loss of a card make the rig illeagal to ever pack again? If it's a question of age then make an argument for extending the decisions of one manufactorer to a compleatly unrelated product. We're lissening but you'll have to make more then just some broad statement. The people on this board are just a little too sophisticated for that. You'll have to explaine.