So why did PA have to do it? Something different with their gear or people that use it?
Just because one group does it, doesn't mean that everyone should have to do it.
This is the bureaucratic approach that presumes that because a few people abuse their gear or jump it heavily and wear it out in 20 years, that therefore everyone should have to replace their gear in 20 years.
But that's BS.
Lightly used gear, properly stored, is not automatically dangerous after 20 years.
The common-sense approach is to just let riggers judge each rig as they repack them, and decide on a case-by-case basis when the rigs are no longer airworthy.
I couldn't agree more. The reason I'm asking is that PA containers are common in gliders in NZ and I would think Australia. It's not fun telling the owners that there containers are grounded because it's been mandated by the manufacturer. Any recommendations for relacement containers?
The arguments for an against a 20 year life on gear have run many times for many pages on this forum. 20 year-old gear isn't dangerous per se - outdated perhaps but not dangerous. So I'm dreaming about jumping some 45yo gear soon. Guess that means certain death.
PA have 'lifed' one of their reserve canopies. The rest operate 'on condition'. It's all their containers that have a 20 year life, whether they've been used or not. They make Talons and Vodoos as well under licence. Why don't Rigging Innovations have the same issue?
it appears some people are quite concerned with this. In fact, according to a crazy customer of mine the rest of the world outside our little bubble here in the US has a 10 year life on gear .. .following is my conversation which is NOT private.
Isn't there a general 10 year rule on a rig, if it is 10 years or older it will not pass inspection or be packed by an official rigger
My reply :
no, there's absolutely no such thing, that's complete BS. see this : http://www.parachuteshop.com/used_pilot_parachutes.htm#life_limit_from_the_manufacturer_is_the_first_120_days
And another note from the same guy :
You are quoting yourself! You know the truth, because of your use of the word "U.S.". While the remaining part of the world adheres to a 10 year rule definitly on the reserve. Quoting the PIA, "many manufacturers do put service life limits on their products. Some are for the general customer like Securities 15 year life on the 350 type pilot rigs and PD's 40 pack jobs or 25 jumps before reevaluation by the factory. Manufacturers are happy to supply this number.
PIA Rigging Committee Chairman"
Also.." Another quote..." parachutes over 20-yrs. old, I do, 'fore-warn' them about the possibility of 'failure'." You know and I know as a chemist, that ALL man made materials will revert to their natural state, meaning ALL man made materials weaken over time, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The WORLD, except USA, has a 10 year rule, based on safety, NOT greed for money!
to which I reply :
John, I don't care for this debate. I present the information I know and believe in both as an individual and an FAA rated rigger. It's a fact that I and you are both listed in the US. It's also a fact that nylon is most degraded by SUNLIGHT and NOT by proper storage. Please list 5 countries in the world that MANDATE 10 year life on gear.
but that still makes the statement about the 10 year "rule" BS. I am not arguing that some manufacturers put a life limit on their products. That's their right, and we as riggers must obey. I however have not heard of any 10 year clauses by manufacturers of civilian gear, by riggers or by countries. The statement made to me was ABSOLUTE, and as such it is BULLSHIT to the best of my knowledge.
I have had conversations with a few manufacturers about this very topic. I won't get into who as they were private conversations. But the thing that popped up from them was a concern about safety from old ratty gear that wasn't maintained. I am sure there is also another point from a business perspective, but if it is maintained it can last for a long time. I have a canopy with a DOM of 1953 and I still jump it. There is nothing wrong with it.
National quit building canopies with acidic mesh about twenty years ago. National recently announced a twenty year life on most of their products. Makes perfect sense to me.
From National Parachutes manual "Until the PIA specifies or recommends otherwise, it is the opinion of current management that the maximum service life is 20 years from the date of manufacture". The intent is there but this in my mind doesn't constitute a mandate. So back to the original question. Is there any manufacturer,other than PA, currently lifing their gear?
1.9 Service Life Strong Enterprises and other members of the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) are currently discussing guidelines for a recommended service life. FAR 65.129 requires that “No certificated parachute rigger may pack a parachute that is not safe for emergency use,” so until guidelines are established, the continued airworthiness of an assembly is established by the licensed parachute rigger who inspects it as part of his repacking procedure. While proper care can no doubt extend its usefulness, an older parachute should be examined more closely for signs of deterioration. Your parachute should be treated as the sensitive piece of life saving equipment that it is, but it should not be expected to last forever, even when proper care is taken.
From the Strong website - gear is not lifed at this stage.
After 40 repacks or 25 deployments have been reached, the reserve must have its permeability tested. (In most countries, 40 repacks are usually performed over a 10 to 20 year period.) The testing is performed to insure that the fabric permeability has not reached a point where the openings and landing performance would be unacceptable. Subsequent to passing this testing, an additional label is affixed and the canopy is then returned into service. The label will contain additional boxes, the specific number being chosen according to the results of the test.
Just wanted to bring this up to the attention of people who care.
Take a look at the new Softie (ParaPhernalia) Manual, revised 08/09. Specifically look at page 10, section 1.4
1.4 SERVICE LIFE Independent testing of aged nylon materials has proven that its strength degrades over time, therefore, Para-Phernalia, Inc. and Free Flight Enterprises have established a 20-year service life from the date of component manufacture for the Softie Pilot Emergency System and the Preserve line of emergency parachutes.
Now starts the debate on whether this is retroactive. I'm sure Dan will say yes. But what will each FAA inspector say? Time for a new thread.
that is a very good question. Unlike in a will, the manual does not explicitly state that it supersedes all previous versions. Perhaps we should ask FAA for interpretation. I am seeing the floodgates, and they are half open :) .I do know that until I am told otherwise by PPI/FAA/FFE I am not touching any of their stuff past 20 year mark. Anybody want to mini softies that are too old ? :)