It is important for the aspiring rigger to understand basic
design parameters and construction techniques of modern
parachute systems. The master rigger must have a thorough
understanding of these areas to perform any desired
or necessary alterations. An understanding of how the
systems or components were originally designed, and
why they were constructed as they were, is essential. Any
proposed alteration may degrade the function and/or
structural integrity of the assembly or component, thereby
causing it to fail.
The design parameters for certificated parachutes are set
forth in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents,
specifically within the Technical Standard Order
(TSO) system. Parachute certification standards fall
within the TSO C23 series. Currently, there are three TSO
documents under which parachutes are manufactured.
They are C23b, C23c, and C23d. Appendix I explains
these standards in detail. Military parachutes are manufactured
and certified under a military drawing system;
however, some manufacturers have certified them under
the TSO system as well.
Parachute assemblies and component parts are identified in
the following discussion. The appropriate nomenclature, as
well as the commonly accepted names, are defined below.
The main parachute assembly, excluding the harness, is
used in conjunction with a reserve parachute assembly as
the primary parachute assembly for a premeditated jump.
The main canopy consists of everything from the main
riser connector links to the bridle attachment point
(excluding the steering toggles). The major parts are the
suspension lines and the canopy, as shown in figure 2-1.
The reserve parachute is worn in conjunction with a
main parachute used for premeditated jumps. The reserve
parachute consists of everything from the reserve riser
connector links to the bridle attachment point (excluding
the steering toggles). The major parts are the canopy, suspension
lines, and any type of deployment device that is
sewn to the canopy or lines.
The emergency parachute, excluding the harness, is
worn for emergency, unpremeditated use only. The
canopy may be identical to the reserve parachute.