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crapflinger2000

Back/Chest/Lap/Seat - Why?

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I am years out of the rigging game but always wondered why I was able to pack a bailout back rig but could not pack a seat rig. Of course I understand the administrative "why?" [Cuz you are not seat rated, dufus].

But practically speaking I perceived that there is no special secret "seat" (or "chest") sauce conferred upon someone when they get that rating. If you can get a manual for the container, pack to those instructions, everything would work just fine regardless of what type of container you did your 20 repacks on. That is, unless when you get your seat rating they induct you into the secret society of seat rig packers where they tell you "Now you can be told that when packing a Seat rig you must induce a 1/2 twist in the lines each time you make a stow, while reciting the mantra "ubba dubba dee", for otherwise the rig shall surely malfunction. It has been an unspoken rule that this crucial detail shall be withheld from all manuals since the dawn of time, so help me god".

All kidding aside, for those with multiple ratings, ARE there actual unwritten "things" you need to know to pack some other container than "back"?

Old loft had an old chest container. Pulled it out, found some instructions, packed it, seemed straightfwd. Unpacked it for just in case reasons and tossed it back in the closet.

__________________________________________________
What would Vic Mackey do?

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As someone who had chest and back ratings, there was a lot more difference among back rigs than from chest to back.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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>All kidding aside, for those with multiple ratings, ARE there actual unwritten "things" you need to know to pack >some other container than "back"?

I pack quite a bit of both back and seat types and I would say the answer to this question is "no". Aside from the length and the routing of the risers, and the bulk distribution, they are essentially the same.

It is probably this way "because it's always been that way" and because the FAA is just really slow in getting around to making changes. And, I suspect things that are parachute and skydiving related are pretty low on their priority list.

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There are some differences in orientation and lay out that might confuse some one the first time but they are trivial in comparison between the differences between sport and round pilot rigs. A lot of sky diving riggers are completely unfamiliar with them. Dave DeWolf no longer teaches them in his rigging class unless you stay for some extra training. So in his class you can be trained as a rigger and be tested with out ever packing or being tested on a round. It's the sort of thing that can get people killed.

Back in the day, I think it was para flight, that had a special "Square Certification". They at least reconsidered how radically different the technology was at the time. I wouldn't mind seeing the old system scrapped and rather go to Round, Square ratings. I think they do some thing like that in Canada?

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

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I think they do some thing like that in Canada?



There is a separate rating for PEPs as well as a rating for 2-pin reserves in Canada. Technically you could pack a round into a sport rig without these ratings as there is no "round" rating. But there aren't many sport rigs with those anymore.

I only got my rating 6 years ago. I started jumping in 1992 and have never owned or packed a round canopy of any description in my life. I've only seen demonstrations. At 60 years old, it's unlikely I will ever decide to learn now. There is a local guy at another DZ I send pilot rigs to.

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Funny, I think my supervised pack jobs were about a 75%/25% mix of sport rigs and bailouts. So while never tested on rounds I did know how to pack them.

Like all new riggers I was nervous until I felt things I had packed had been tested "in anger". So there came a time where I packed a round into a racer, neither category of which my pack jobs had ever been used before. The very next day after packing it, it got deployed, and I had a triumphant "two birds with one stone" feeling. A bit more confidence that I knew wtf I was doing ensued.

__________________________________________________
What would Vic Mackey do?

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RiggerLee

There are some differences in orientation and lay out that might confuse some one the first time but they are trivial in comparison between the differences between sport and round pilot rigs. A lot of sky diving riggers are completely unfamiliar with them. Dave DeWolf no longer teaches them in his rigging class unless you stay for some extra training. So in his class you can be trained as a rigger and be tested with out ever packing or being tested on a round. It's the sort of thing that can get people killed.

Back in the day, I think it was para flight, that had a special "Square Certification". They at least reconsidered how radically different the technology was at the time. I wouldn't mind seeing the old system scrapped and rather go to Round, Square ratings. I think they do some thing like that in Canada?

Lee


I would agree. The difference between a sport rig with a square in it and a PEP with a round in it is considerable. Much more so, than a PEP that is either a back or a seat type. (I don't know of any PEP Seat Types that have a square in it).? So, if the FAA does someday get around to making a change, it should be as RiggerLee suggests.

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I agree, in part. Except I would suggest no ratings at all.

Right now we do not distinguish between rounds and squares when issuing ratings, and we're not killing people. DPREs that choose not to train or test on rounds do not get to issue ratings restricted to squares only. Riggers that graduate from such courses are authorized to pack rounds and yet they don't, at least until they choose to get training they are not legally required to have. Why create restrictions where there were none before?

-Mark

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But there is a restriction: A rigger with a back rating can't pack the same round parachute into a seat pack even though the consensus (so far) seems to be there is no appreciable difference.

I would also agree that we aren't killing people (they do a pretty good job of that themselves) and it is because Certificate holders - be it a Rigger, Pilot, A&P, etc.- when they are outside their level of expertise do a pretty good job of saying "no, I'm not comfortable doing that". Not always, but mostly.

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We are not killing people but you will see scary things from time to time. I've seen choker diapers closed from the bottom and half stows closed with all the lines. I haven't seen the same equivalent errors in squares. I'm pretty sure all examples are attributable to lack of training, inability to read or more probable not having the instructions. Not making excuses for errors but you do see this. Even if you have the instructions some times they are vague. Pack in a standard long fold... etc. If you'd never seen a round before it would be confusing. Their is a not unreasonable assumption of preexisting knowledge. Talk to the guy from Butler. They see a lot of things coming back into their shop.

But people are not dieing. PEP just don't get used that much. Their just are not that many saves so these errors slip by with out some one dieing. That doesn't make it ok. That doesn't mean that their isn't a problem. I see it as a decline in training. I think it's a product of the commercialization of rigging courses in which they try to train people in a couple of weeks what they would have once learned over a six month apprenticeship. It hasn't all been bad. It's opened it up to people who would never have been able to presue it before. It has allowed the growth of our sport but new graduates do not have the depth and breadth of knowledge that they once had. The technology is diverging and if you aren't going to have the training to cope with it then you should just divide the two before you really do kill some one.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

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Riggers that graduate from such courses are authorized to pack rounds and yet they don't, at least until they choose to get training they are not legally required to have.



I'm skeptical. I do not believe that the vast majority of riggers go and seek additional training in things they believe they are capable of. Yes, a good rigger would realize their limitations and take it upon themselves to further their education. But in reality guys are out there taking money for whatever comes in the door because they are permitted to do the work.

Edit to add: I agree with Lee, to some extent. I would like to see skydive back mounted reserves and PEPs separated. Both of them being considered "Back" is just silly.

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*** ........

Back in the day, I think it was para flight, that had a special "Square Certification". They at least reconsidered how radically different the technology was at the time. I wouldn't mind seeing the old system scrapped and rather go to Round, Square ratings. I think they do some thing like that in Canada?
—————————————————————————
Yes,
When Para-Flite introduced the first square reserve, it was radically new technology requiring radically new packing techniques. Since Para-Flite did not want military-surplus Riggers fumbling with their reserves, Para-Flite introduced a “square reserve training program for Riggers. USPA took over that program for a few years, eventually dropped it when square reserves became the norm.

When I rigged for Butler, I packed a few Para-Flite reserves into seat-packs. Since the customers were “corn fed Texans” they needed military-pattern square reserves certified for more than (the usual) 254 pounds.
I even sewed a few freebags for Butler-made PEPs. When he introduced rounds with sliders, Butler dropped the niche market for squares in PEPs.
A couple of years later, I helped Rigging Innovations drop-test the Aviator (back) PEP that is only certified for square reserves.

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>Not making excuses for errors but you do see this.

Understood. Have you seen serious mistakes like this lately though? It would seem to me that anymore, most riggers don't have access to a 40' packing table which becomes not just a regulatory impediment, but also a practical one. I think the days of the old time rigger packing a round in his hallway are pretty much over. And, those guys would find it ridiculously uncomfortable to be down on the ground like that and just not worth the effort.:S That coupled with the fact that today's generation of parachute riggers have never jumped a round and in many cases don't have the training - just like you said. The bigger and more practical concern for me is guys that pencil pack. Maybe for the above stated reasons. I get stuff in pretty often that is really bricked and in need of repairs.

I agree that the technology has diverged so much it's time to split the two ratings and move forward.

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I'm skeptical. I do not believe that the vast majority of riggers go and seek additional training in things they believe they are capable of. Yes, a good rigger would realize their limitations and take it upon themselves to further their education. But in reality guys are out there taking money for whatever comes in the door because they are permitted to do the work.



I largely agree with this, and I think it's more true the less contact the riggers have with others.

I'm beyond grateful that my early rigging years were spent in a busy loft with a couple very patient, experienced Master Riggers wandering around to answer my questions.

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Can we agree that Americans have not been updated to accomodate 1980s-vintage skydiving gear?
Every decade or so, the Canadian Sport Parachute Association updates our rigger training and rating program.
CSPA issues separate ratings for round or square canopies.
CSPA certifies Riggers to pack 5 classes of containers: 1-pin sport (Vector and Javelin), 2-pin sport (Wonderhog), Pop-Top (Racer and Teardrop), chest and pilot emergency parachutes. Canada has no lap rating because the Royal Canadian Air Force never issued lap parachutes.

Many these different type ratings are included purely for historical reasons. For example, since chest-mounted reserves disappeared from Canadian DZs by 1990, no young Riggers want to waste time learning how to pack them.
Similarly, after round reserves disapearred circa 2000, no young Riggers want to bother learning how to pack canopies they have seen in the air. Round canopies are now limited to PEPs.
The PEP type rating includes seat and chest .... a bit broad for my taste, but when you consider that 80 percent of PEPs are backs or long backs ..... Modern seat type PEPs are easy to pack if you have already packed a bunch of rounds into 2-pin sport containers (Wonderhog).

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Good point wmw999,
Canopy flaking varies big time between military-surplus and civilian seat packs. MILSPEC containers usually say the only long fold the canopy until it is the same width as the container. Fortunately young Riggers need not bother learning military packing techniques because the US military and (Canadian) Crown Assets Disposal quit selling intact surplus parachutes back around 1980.
I rarely repack any parachute more than 25 years old. The last time an aerobatic pilot asked me to repack his back PEPs, I replied that I no longer had access to a long table. Nor do I have bromocreasol green or clamps for tensile-testing. The whole truth is that I wanted nothing to do with his Natonal Phantom reserve seen during the acid mesh era.

OTOH Civilian PEPs require a wide variety of flaking and bulk distribution techniques.
Most civvy seat packs need canopies long folded in fifths so the canopy goes into the container on its edge .... like a Wonderhog.
Back PEPs require a much greater variety of packing techniques. Instructions usually start with long-folding the canopy to half the width of the container. Then bulk distribution changes depending upon whether it is a simple back container, long back or wedge.
A few wedge, back PEPs start similar to seatpacks with the diaper laid cross-wise in the thick end and folds leaning more and more as you approach the thin edge.

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About 2001 an FAA official in Washington submitted a work proposal for rewriting the rigging ratings to round and square. It to this day hasn't been funded. When I was PIA rigging committee chair I was working on a generic rigger certification program to ready for the FAA rewrite, as an example other than FAR's to countries looking to implement regulation, and in case the Reagan era proposal to eliminate federal regulation of parachute riggers (among other things) came back. When I was no longer chair that work was not continued.

I do not believe that new riggers would seek out the training needed for round canopies and seat, chest, and lap containers if not required to. Also, my supervising FAA inspector requires me as a DPRE to test senior rigger candidates on both round and square canopies. New riggers are used to using youtube and other internet resources to learn things. I think if training in rounds was not required by seat, chest and lap ratings or in cases like my FAA inspector young rigger would go to the internet, probably before the manual, to try to learn how to pack something they hadn't seen. I've seen enough errors to believe that riggers with little understanding of rounds and even spring loaded PC deployed rigs are winging it. I've also has senior rigger candidate who had little or no interest in ever packing a square. They were supporting pilots in flying museum or other situations and adding parachute rigger to their A&P. The ONLY reason that ram air packing for the test didn't become an issue was they happened to be a former skydiver. Their current need and situation had nothing to do with skydiving equipment or square parachutes.

So I do support going to round and square ratings. There is enough variation in round parachutes that I believe specific training is appropriate. No diapers, Strong half the lines diapers, free bags with lazy leg sacrificial bridles, break ties both 80 lb and 4 lb, rounds with sliders, free sleeves, apex lines to break skirt ties, modern one pin seats and chests, vintage chest desired for nostalgia jumps with conventional equipment, air force style four line releases on seat containers, etc. Even after having started with round canopies, having packed hundreds of round skydiving and pilot emergency canopies it a couple of hands on training sessions with folks from FFE to feel comfortable packing a Preserve V.

Having seat, chest and lap which are primarily and in some cases exclusively rounds forces riggers who want to be Master riggers and others who want to do a lot of PEP's to get specific training on rounds. That's not a bad idea. I think that requirement should be retained with round and square type ratings if ever rewritten. BTW to Rob's 80% backs, I do almost exclusively pilot rigs lately and they are about 80% seats. Most of my customers are warbird pilots.

A little history. I have the CAA regulations on riggers and jumpers from the 40's. There were 3 levels, rigger, senior rigger, and master rigger. And while it only doesn't explicitly state there are 4 type ratings they require packing of multiple types AND MANUFACTURERS to different extents for experience requirement for different levels. The same book, which included written test questions, described layout and packing for back, seat, chest and lap as the variations in types. If we were still packing WWII and earlier Switliks we'd be learning how to wrap a cable around container base.;)
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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Chest is easy, you can pack that shit in 15 minutes. A regular back type pilot bailout rig, like 20 minutes. Seat on the other hand, at least the one they gave me, is a pain in the ass, you gotta use two bodkins and shit, distribute the bulk evenly, the line stows are tricky as hell to get started, you gotta flip it over while holding the pilot chute spring down, everything about it makes me wanna slap the shit out of whoever designed it. And that's after they already had me packing back type rounds, I wonder what percentage of people with a back rating even packed a round. But that can be done in like 20 minutes, the seat one is a nightmare. And yes, it merits its own rating. Chest, who gives a fuck, you can pack all 20 in a day or two and be done with it. If all you had to do in order to pack a parachute is read the manual, you shouldn't need a rating, anyone could do it.

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Justincblount

Chest is easy, you can pack that shit in 15 minutes. A regular back type pilot bailout rig, like 20 minutes. Seat on the other hand, at least the one they gave me, is a pain in the ass, you gotta use two bodkins and shit, distribute the bulk evenly, the line stows are tricky as hell to get started, you gotta flip it over while holding the pilot chute spring down, everything about it makes me wanna slap the shit out of whoever designed it. And that's after they already had me packing back type rounds, I wonder what percentage of people with a back rating even packed a round. But that can be done in like 20 minutes, the seat one is a nightmare. And yes, it merits its own rating. Chest, who gives a fuck, you can pack all 20 in a day or two and be done with it. If all you had to do in order to pack a parachute is read the manual, you shouldn't need a rating, anyone could do it.



It's posts like this that make me rethink my position.

Strong 26' Type-2 diaper in a Super-Pro is not as easy as a T-10R. 24' flat in a Strong Pop-Top chest is not easy either. Too old school for you? Try a BaserX chest.

As for seats, not all seats are the Strongs you describe. Some are Butlers (which pack like other Butler rigs), some are Nationals (which pack like other Nationals), some are Softies (which pack like other Softies), some are military surplus Navy seats with C-9s that pack like T10Rs.

The trick for all is to do it with finesse, which is different than using brute force and swearing.

-Mark

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Whenever I get the urge to swear, I stare at the pretty pictures in the manual.

Councilman is correct in stating that 80 percent of warbirds use seat packs.
A few civilian KITPLANES accommodate seat packs, but 80 or 90 percent of aerobatic civilian airplanes use back PEPs. Modern gliders have such cramped cockpits that they can barely squeeze in long backs. Low-volume modern canopies have encouraged many glider pilots to buy reverse wedge back PEPs (3” thick across shoulders but tapering to zero at the bottom).

Seat packs were originally developed for open cockpit biplanes with deep fuselages, but small cockpit coamings/openings. Biplanes are especially tight between the seatback and instrument panel. When air forces transitioned to enclosed cockpits (fighters and trainers) they continued the tradition of issuing pilots with seat packs. Seat packs remained in service until ejection seats became standard. Early ejection seats required pilots to wear separate back PEPs, but modern ejection seats store parachute canopies in headrest boxes.

Military-surplus containers really should be a separate certification category for civilian Riggers. Military-surplus PEPs have faded from Canada since the last intact military-surplus PEP was sold circa 1980.

To clarify my earlier statement: CSPA certifies Riggers to pack 1-pin sport back reserves or 2-pin sport back reserves, etc. “Sport” differentiates modern skydiving piggyback containers from antique, military-surplus PEPs.
CSPA only retains the “chest” rating for historical reasons.

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Justincblount

Seat on the other hand, at least the one they gave me, is a pain in the ass, you gotta use two bodkins and shit, distribute the bulk evenly, the line stows are tricky as hell to get started, you gotta flip it over while holding the pilot chute spring down, everything about it makes me wanna slap the shit out of whoever designed it.



Only the Strong seat uses a diaper stowed with half the lines and the line stows in the container. All Strong emergency parachutes with rounds are like this, dating back to the PopTop chest reserve. Happen to be assembling a PopTop soon. Bodkins, distribute the bulk, compress the PC is all common to a Racer with a round. Distribute the bulk is a skill needed for every PEP AND skydiving rig.

BUT, if you were holding the pilot chute compressed while turning it over YOU DIDN'T READ THE FUCKIN' MANUAL! And whoever trained you was fooling with you and making you do it like the old days (80's) or hadn't read a manual in a long time either. There is a tool and a method for compressing the pilot chute before you put it on the outside of the rig. Specified and shown in the manual for many years. Pull it up at http://www.strongparachutes.com/docs/?et=Emergency and read page 22 of the 304 manual.

Time to go do 9 more seats.:P
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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The Strong manual shows the old military pilot-chute compression tool.
I just wrap my molar strap around the Pop-Top, route pull-up cords through bodkins, etc.
I also make my own adjustable bodkins out of Cypres cord ...... but those are more relevant when packing Cypres into Racers

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