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Strong Tandem Letter

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Strong sent this letter out after some bad information was put out at PIA:


Strong Tandem Equipment Users

We've just come from the 2015 PIA Symposium!

We learned many things, which we will share with you at a later date.
First things first.

Our newest Tandem competitor is telling their potential customers that "any reserve that fits into their container is approved". It is imperative that we share with you the following information:

Just because it fits doesn't mean it will work, even your laundry will fit into a reserve container. In reality there is more to it than just the reserve canopy fitting in our Tandem systems. Strong Enterprises has always developed, researched and tested our deployment systems for both the Dual Hawk Tandem and the TNT to function as a unit. The Container, Free Bag and Pilot Chute are intricate parts of that deployment system and are crucial to a successful reserve deployment.

Strong Enterprises are pioneers in Tandem. We have over 30 years of experience in Tandem. Experience that has taught us it is prudent to properly and thoroughly test everything before putting any person at risk. This competitor did not test our reserve in their container. We have not tested our reserve in their container. They are imparting bad information about compatibility.

Until this incompatibility issue is addressed do not put Strong Enterprises components in any other container not tested and approved.

Thank you

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You stuck to "just the facts" so I'll be the overly sarcastic one.

(Even though there really can be compatibility issues that aren't always obvious, and experience does count for something in developing tandem gear...)

In a similar vein to Stong's letter, don't forget this one:

Quote


From: Performance Desighns
Date: April 1, 2015

Please ensure that all Performance Desighns reserve canopies are only packed in Performance Desighns containers.

We are shocked to hear that some people are using containers with the same reserve pilot chute whether the reserve is a 99 or 370. Every part of the reserve system is intricate integral to the whole.

We take this action because our reserves are so finicky we just don't know what might happen if you used them with other containers.

And because of money. And lawsuits, oh god the lawsuits.

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Doesn't AC105 detail this.

"Assembly of Major Components.
The assembly or mating of approved parachute components from different manufacturers may be made by a certificated, appropriately rated parachute rigger in accordance with the parachute manufacturer’s instructions and without further authorization by the manufacturer or the FAA. Specifically, when various parachute components are interchanged, the parachute rigger should follow the canopy manufacturer’s instructions as well as the parachute container manufacturer’s instructions. However, the container manufacturer’s instructions take precedence when there is a conflict between the two.

(1) Assembled parachute components must be compatible. Each component of the resulting assembly must function properly and may not interfere with the operation of the other components"

That being said, the strong 425 reserve is perhaps the crappiest tandem reserve out there. Its and old design. specifically not be pro-packed.

I've seen the proved wrong argument that tandems are certified as a system. Each component has a TSO. The strong reserve has a TSO and if compatibility is deemed to be acceptable by the other manufacturer (Wings) between the components and both are TSO'd.

A rigger is legally able to pack them.

Perhaps the problem is that the other container manufacturer would probably want a pro-pack to distribute the bulk BUT Strong definitely do not want you pro-packing there reserve (They specifically state NOT to pro-pack it). As the rules state - conflict between the two , Container manufacturer wins....

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Perhaps the problem is that the other container manufacturer would probably want a pro-pack to distribute the bulk BUT Strong definitely do not want you pro-packing there reserve (They specifically state NOT to pro-pack it). As the rules state - conflict between the two , Container manufacturer wins....



Per the newest TNT packing manual they flat out instruct you to Propack the new reserve.

http://www.strongparachutes.com/library/Documentation/Tandem/TNT%20Manual.pdf
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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From the Dual Hawk Manual for the Master Reserve Canopy

"This procedure utilizes a combination of flopping and stacking the canopy and is the only approved method of packing the Master Reserve canopy.

! WARNING !
PRO packing of the Master Reserve canopy IS NOT APPROVED."

When our DZ riggers inquired about this and whether this could be changed and pro-packing permitted they got the definitive NO, PRO packing of the Master Reserve canopy IS NOT APPROVED and unlikely ever will be."

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Per the newest TNT packing manual they flat out instruct you to Propack the new reserve.

http://www.strongparachutes.com/...dem/TNT%20Manual.pdf



I'm not sure many people would be buying a wings tandem and tying to put a Strong Patronus reserve in them.

A more likely scenario would be DZ changing out old dual hawk containers and trying to minimize the costs by utilizing existing components - main/reserve/AAD in new container. I was discussing this exact scenario with the DZ rigger as we have Dual Hawks.

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There is more than one reserve that could be involved in this discussion. I learned from Stong's web site that there is:

a) the traditional Master Reserve (425ft sq) for the Dual Hawk Tandem. That tandem's manual strongly emphasizes no pro-packing.

b) the new Patronus reserve "modeled after the SET-366 main and designed as a semi-elliptical reserve for the Strong Tandem System. Approved for use in both the TNT and the DHT Tandem Systems".

Strong's letter might have had more weight if a more specific concern had been voiced. Perhaps they are indeed concerned about pro-packing a reserve they have otherwise always packed another way.

For typical sport reserves there was little concern about transitioning from flat packs to propacks. For tandems, the treatment of the nose of the canopy has been more important -- one doesn't just open up wide the center cell nose as on a typical sport reserve. So that aspect of a tandem reserve pack could have a significant effect on opening shock, structural integrity, and inflation time. I'll grant that Strong could have a concern about that.

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There is more than one reserve that could be involved in this discussion. I learned from Stong's web site that there is:

a) the traditional Master Reserve (425ft sq) for the Dual Hawk Tandem. That tandem's manual strongly emphasizes no pro-packing.

b) the new Patronus reserve "modeled after the SET-366 main and designed as a semi-elliptical reserve for the Strong Tandem System. Approved for use in both the TNT and the DHT Tandem Systems".

Strong's letter might have had more weight if a more specific concern had been voiced. Perhaps they are indeed concerned about pro-packing a reserve they have otherwise always packed another way.

For typical sport reserves there was little concern about transitioning from flat packs to propacks. For tandems, the treatment of the nose of the canopy has been more important -- one doesn't just open up wide the center cell nose as on a typical sport reserve. So that aspect of a tandem reserve pack could have a significant effect on opening shock, structural integrity, and inflation time. I'll grant that Strong could have a concern about that.



Granted, Strong haven't specifically detailed which they are talking about.

The TNT/Patronus hasn't been out for that long and I doubt there are many (in relative terms) of them out there in the field.

The 425 has been out decades and there are many old dual hawks that can be obtained cheaply and with containers that may be reaching end of life limits or operators wanting to move to less maintenance intensive equipment.

After speaking with a lot of long time, highly experienced other master riggers, gear manufacturers about the 425 reserve. I would say pro-packing it, and how the nose is set would probably raise some concerns about both structural integrity and inflation times. So I think there may be a genuine concern.

But based upon strong's letter and lack of detail, if they haven't tested the combinations then it is not approved. That's an interesting viewpoint as it would appear to be in contradiction to the FAA AC105 which allows riggers to determine compatibility between components. Think how this would apply to all combinations of containers and sizes for sport rigs.

Now if it were me, the 425 pro-packing issue would probably make me question compatibility of components. The statement by the canopy manufacturer just adds weight to the argument if something were to happen. So I probably wouldn't want to open myself up to that liability.

The patronus I'd probably be more inclined to pack it as its packing instructions are fairly standard.

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Strong has two goals with this letter.
Their first goal is legal. They want to minimize their legal liability if anyone packs a Strong 425 reserve into a Wings tandem container.

Strong's second goal is to discourage PRO-packing their 425 reserves. I had a thousand jumps on Strong's 425 and 520 mains before ZP fabric became fashionable. I have tried all the different packing methods and ... are .... torn more Strong tandem mains than I care to remember.

Bottom line: PRO-packing Strong 425 reserves is guaranteed to produce hard openings, injure jumpers and might tear canopies.

IOW: PRO-packing Strong 425 reserves is STUPID!

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This information is critical for end users of the equipment, so I am making it sticky. Please everyone that may encounter this scenario, take Rob Warner's statements seriously. I agree with him 1000%. And like Rob, I have first hand experience in this area.
Namaste,
Tom Noonan

www.everest-skydive.com

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Yes.
Even when you repeated fold the front of the canopy and completely hide the nose inlets (like the manual), Strong 425 reserves still open hard at tandem terminal. I have suffered two TT reserve openings. The second time, it took ten days and a massive massage therapist to straighten out my neck.

In comparison, I cheerfully PRO-pack tandem reserves made by: Jump Shack, Next, Performance Designs, Pioneer and Precision, but will never PRO-pack a Strong 425 reserve. Mind you, I still roll the bejesus out of the nose to close off the intakes.

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In response to the "Strong Tandem Letter," I'd like to clarify a few things.

No "bad information" was put out by us at PIA. Everything I said both at PIA and to individuals who have contacted me is true and correct.

Wings Tandem neither mandates nor forbids any particular canopy in our tandem rigs. With Wings Tandem, there are no "approved" canopies. As stated in the FARs, the assembling rigger decides if a canopy is appropriate for a particular harness container. As a factory, we share our experience with riggers to help them make an informed decision. We have extensively tested our rig with Precision main and reserve canopies. We have test packed and jumped other tandem main and reserves, and can tell you what fits in which container, how they perform, and any tips or tricks that made it easier to install and use.

As to the Strong 425 reserve, I called Strong as soon as I heard of their concerns. They were worried about people using the Master 425 if it was pro-packed, rather than flat packed as the factory directs. I immediately removed mention of Strong as makers of a canopy that would work in our tandem rig from our web and Facebook page.

We know of a single rig owner who has that canopy in his older Plexus (the predecessor to Wings Tandem.) We advised that owner to ground his rig until he packs it in the manner Strong describes.

We at Wings Tandem have the utmost respect and admiration for Strong and all of their pioneering accomplishments. Personally, I jump the Strong Dual Hawk (when I'm not jumping my Wings, of course.)

Safety is our primary concern. When a parachute manufacturer tells us they have a concern, we listen.

If any of you have questions about the Wings Tandem and what canopies work in it, feel free to contact me, either here on Dropzone.com, or at my work email of DavidStrobel@WingsTandem.com.

David Strobel
Wings Tandem
Project Manager

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