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iranianjumper

reserve canopy lifespan

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See the manual for Performance Designs for their criteria and limits.  No other manufacturer in the U.S.A. that I know put opening or flight time limits.  Some manufacturers of pilot emergency rigs have suggested calendar life time limits, usually 20 years.  But few if any of these are legally enforceable limits. There is no regulatory limit applied industry wide in the U.S.A. Around the world many countries impose a calendar life limit on personel parachutes.  10,15, or 20 years.

As a practical matter a reserve is used so little the repeated packing of the reserve often results in more damage in the form of increased porosity than openings or flight time.  Flight time isn't a factor in any country or by any manufacturer that I know of.  Parachuting reserves are not like hot air balloons or paragliders.  They are flown usually somewhere less that 5 minutes when used.  That period of sun damage is insignificant.

We are now in an era where some reserve designs have not changed in many years and older reserves are starting to become a matter of rigger comfort.  We rarely can prove in the field that a reserve should  be retired but I have suggested it several times for reserves 20-25 years old.  Or older designs that I believed should be retired.

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Icarus Reserve, Parachute Systems Decelerator:  same 25 jump/40 pack recertification requirement as PD, including marking boxes on the data panel

Aerodyne Smart reserve:  porosity check after 10 jumps or 20 packs, but no boxes.

 

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27 minutes ago, mark said:

Icarus Reserve, Parachute Systems Decelerator:  same 25 jump/40 pack recertification requirement as PD, including marking boxes on the data panel

Aerodyne Smart reserve:  porosity check after 10 jumps or 20 packs, but no boxes.

 

Thanks, have never packed an Icarus Reserve and maybe one or two smart and didn't remember.

 

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9 hours ago, mark said:

Aerodyne Smart reserve:  porosity check after 10 jumps or 20 packs, but no boxes.

 

And in newer manuals, Aerodyne upped the number of packs to 40 before a porosity check, at least matching PD on that side. Just noticed that change myself.

Easy for people to forget Aerodyne requirements as they are buried in the manual.

They also have always required a porosity check if the canopy was immersed in water.

(One can of course also get into the argument whether 'the currently published manual sets the rules' or the 'manual that came with the canopy sets the rules' or one may choose from both.)

[Reference: a Smart manual from 2011 current in 2013 said 20, the manual current in Feb 2020 but from 2015 says 40.]

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1 hour ago, pchapman said:

And in newer manuals, Aerodyne upped the number of packs to 40 before a porosity check, at least matching PD on that side. Just noticed that change myself.

. . .

They also have always required a porosity check if the canopy was immersed in water.

Thanks for the correction.  Also, like Aerodyne, PD requires a permeability test after immersion.

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Dear pchapman,

Generally, the manual that was in print - when the canopy was manufactured is the best source.

If a later version of the manual sets tighter standards, then work to the tighter standards.

For example, initially GQ Security set no life limits on their reserves, but after the acid-mesh scandal (1980s) they set a a 5 year life on canopies.

Pioneer also published a similar "shorter" canopy life on their canopies suspected of having acid-mesh. Both GQ Security (USA) and Pioneer exited the North American skydiving market circa 1984.

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3 hours ago, riggerrob said:

For example, initially GQ Security set no life limits on their reserves, but after the acid-mesh scandal (1980s) they set a a 5 year life on canopies.

Hi Rob,

You might want to re-visit that statement.

The reason that the FAA issued the AD was because Security was no longer in business and they, the FAA, could not look to them for any solution to the acid mesh problem on the SAC canopies.

Jerry Baumchen

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Yes pchapman,

I meant to say that GQ Security USA later published a 15 year life on their reserve canopies. This was around the same time they exited the skydiving market.

I don't remember if GQ ever published a work-around for acid-mesh.

Eventually Manley Butler got FAA approval to test suspected canopies for acid-mesh and perform tensile tests to confirm that they retained full strength (40 pound pull on F-111). I have tested close to 1,000 round reserves in accordance with Butler's methods. But those were only a temporary solution to get pilots back in the air until they could buy newer canopies made with certified (acid-free mesh).

By 1992, Butler was refusing to repack any pilot emergency parachute more than 20 years old. After 20 years flying in the Southern California desert, all PEPs were faded, frayed and filthy.

But that was a long time ago. I no longer stock tools to test for acid-mesh. Now, if you bring me a 1980s vintage round canopy (now almost 40 years old), I will chuckle and refer you to the museum in Langley.

Hah!

Hah!

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1 hour ago, riggerrob said:

Manley Butler got FAA approval to test suspected canopies for acid-mesh and perform tensile tests to confirm that they retained full strength (40 pound pull on F-111).

Hi Rob,

Yup, Manley was the first person to get the approval; and I was the second person to get the approval.

Interesting times,

Jerry Baumchen

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