Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
Become certified to pack tandem chutes



Oct 17, 2012, 9:09 PM
Post #1 of 6 (5703 views)
Become certified to pack tandem chutes Can't Post

I read somewhere on here where somebody suggested becoming certified to pack parachutes for DZs that run frequent tandem jumps, getting paid a small amount per pack job and using the money to pay for more jumps. I live not far from a good DZ, and will likely be moving closer to many more, and am interested in what I need to do in order to get paid to do something like that. I am just beginning my jumping career, so I have ZERO current jump experience. Guide me in the right direction on how to make some cash packing chutes to offset the cost of jumping.

FWIW, I am OCD to the max about things like this and don't know how to do something half-assed or settle for imperfection.

mjosparky  (D 5476)

Oct 18, 2012, 1:23 AM
Post #2 of 6 (5619 views)
Re: [TDFbound] Become certified to pack tandem chutes [In reply to] Can't Post

105.45 Use of tandem parachute systems.

(a) No person may conduct a parachute operation using a tandem parachute system, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow any person to conduct a parachute operation from that aircraft using a tandem parachute system, unless

(b) No person may make a parachute jump with a tandem parachute system unless

(1) The main parachute has been packed by a certificated parachute rigger, the parachutist in command making the next jump with that parachute, or a person under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger.

(2) The reserve parachute has been packed by a certificated parachute rigger in accordance with 105.43(b) of this part.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Oct 18, 2012, 5:02 AM
Post #3 of 6 (5542 views)
Re: [TDFbound] Become certified to pack tandem chutes [In reply to] Can't Post

Walk into the DZ you want to work at and ask them. Every one is different, but start off by offering to work for free while you learn how to pack. Even if you don't know the whole routine, you can 'assist' the packers by untangling canopies, setting brakes, changing rubber bands, etc. At the same time, you can practice packing one step at a time, or when they have an hour where they can live without a rig. Sometimes coming in on a Monday after a busy Sunday is a chance to pack without the pressure of the plane running non-stop outside. Sooner or later, you'll be confident in your work, and someone on staff will 'check you out', probably by watching you pack a rig start to finish, and make sure you're doing it right.

Keep in mind that once you have some packing experience, you can take that to any DZ and be put to work almost right away (if they need help). You might need some 'transition' training if they use another brand of tandem rig than you're used to (there are really only two, so once you know both, you're in good shape).

The technical letter of the law on packing is that you need to be either the next person to jump the rig, a certified rigger, or under the supervision of a certified rigger. Most DZs use that last one to justify letting non-riggers pack mains, and they define being 'under the supervision of a rigger' the same as there being a rigger somewhere on the DZ while you're actually packing. Some even extend that to having a rigger 'on call', who you can literally call if there's a question. They're both a little bit of bullshit, but that's the way that it's done at the majority of DZs in the US.

A small handful require you to be a rigger to pack anything, and some have a rigger in the packing room at all times. Not most, but some.

Mr_Polite  (D 420)

Oct 18, 2012, 5:03 AM
Post #4 of 6 (5541 views)
Re: [mjosparky] Become certified to pack tandem chutes [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes that is technically the rule but we all know how it really happens. Typically you will learn to pack for experienced jumpers, student gear and then move onto tandems. I have seen places that let people just start right away on student gear.

You're supposed to be packing under the direct supervision of a rigger but a lot of times that just means a rigger is somewhere at the dz. Not necessarly actually watching you.

Hopefully they will teach you how to pack well and do it properly.

jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Oct 18, 2012, 8:30 PM
Post #5 of 6 (5401 views)
Re: [TDFbound] Become certified to pack tandem chutes [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't hear anyone mention beer, yet, so I'll say it.

Walk on to the DZ with a case of beer and share it. Say that you have $40 for someone to teach you how to pack. The professional packers will be too tired to bother. The riggers will be too busy with reserves that need to get repacked. There might be a coach or part-timer or a couple fun jumpers who will help you out.

Pretty soon you will have someone teaching you. It may take you 4 - 10 packjobs to get the hang of it. Then maybe you can pack some sport rigs for the experienced jumpers, then move on to student gear and then maybe tandems.

I worked at one DZ that said they wanted 50 packjobs before you could touch student gear and 200 before you learned tandems.

Another option might be to go take a course and get your rigger's certificate. You'll still have to learn to pack first, but by the time you come back, you'll be certified to pack almost anything you'll see at the dropzone. The courses are a little pricey, about $1500 to $3000 and take 2 to 3 weeks, but you could earn it back almost as quickly at a big DZ.

Good luck and be ready to work hard. You can get there.

Stocker  (A 66563)

Nov 12, 2012, 8:57 PM
Post #6 of 6 (5154 views)
Re: [jonathan.newman] Become certified to pack tandem chutes [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned to pack this past spring, moved to tandems relatively quickly, and used the money that I made from packing to pay for my tandem/AFF progression and the rest of my jumps for my A-license. Skydiving is expensive, and I never would have been able to afford to pay for it all without doing it that way. I'd recommend learing and going from there. You have to know how to pack a chute for your A card anyway.

(This post was edited by Stocker on Nov 12, 2012, 8:59 PM)

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