Mar 3, 2003, 2:52 AM
Post #1 of 10
Was wondering if someone could give me an idea of the life expectancy of a container,a javelin in particular,being it was very well taken care of during its first 400 jumps...Just an estimate,how many more jumps is it capable of? Thanks J
There are plenty of 10 year old and more containers around. Containers are degraded by a number of things - UV (sunlight), dirt and grit; normal wear and tear; chemical contamination. In the UK we have a material test that loads a suspect part of the container material with 40lbs (?) stretch force along the weave for 3 seconds. But in normal use I haven't heard of a container reaching end of life in the same way a canopy does. Stitching; velcro; spandex and the associated furniture can be replaced/repaired by a rigger.
If the container looks clean, not faded and with no worn stitching then it should last for many years if you look after it. A bigger consideration if you are going to be freeflying might be is the container freefly friendly.
Rich M just described the 40 pound tensile test for F-111 canopy fabric. That tensile test is only relevant on round reserves that are suspected of having acidic mesh. Thankfully most of those reserves retired a long time ago.
Container fabric should be able to withstand a tensile test of far more than 40 pounds, but I do not know of any riggers that have the tools to do tensile tests on container fabric. Most just look at container fabric and say "that's frayed" or "that's still airworthy." Container life has little to do with calendar age. I have bunch of airworthy antique harness/containers laying around my loft. They still meet original strength requirements, but no-one wants to jump them because they have fallen out of fashion. Wear and tear is the real determinant of container life. For example, Strong Enterprises insists that all 8-year-old tandem gear return to their factory for inspection. After 8 years of hard work in the California desert, Strong tandem rigs are faded, frayed and filthy! After 8 years, it takes about US$1000 worth of repairs to get them back in the air. On the other hand, the rig that you buddy only did 400 jumps on and took good care of, probably has another 1,000 or 2,000 jumps left in it.
Just remember this: UV decays Nylon at a given rate. Everyone has seem sunburnt canopies that are a few (maybe many) years old that are brittle and give way under tension. Your canopy (if you pack in the shade) probably sees about 6 minutes of sun per jump, your container sees alot more than that. Granted, Cordura is stronger than Ripstop, but UV absorbtion is still a big deal.
Pack, stand, wait, hell if you can pull it off skydive in the shade!
vector owners stand by their rides: my ride is: 1991 vector II, faded black denim-ish stuff, utterly beat to shit, old rental rig, ugliest thing in the air everywhere i go, i will be its last owner cause nobody would want this old thing. its been thoroughly master rigger reworked to be freefly-worthy. all new velcro everywhere new boc, moved to the edge of the container fresh closing loop grommet all slightly frayed and pulled stitching restored and reinforced pin cover flap stiffener reinforced bridle cover pocket added on between the boc and the closing flaps-no exposed bridle and last but not least-elastic webbing added to inside of cover as a pin-cover flap tuck-tab retainer so even in a standfly the pin cover stays put. grand total: 110$ u.s. thanks don, 50 jumps later your work is still rock solid and was the only way my budget would support building a freefly rig. I like it and feel very secure in it...unlike the student rigs and rentals i was jumping before.