Hardware, as defined in the context of parachutes, is “all
metal parts associated with parachutes, their systems, and
their suspended loads.” Most riggers identify hardware as
the snaps, adapters, rings, links, and releases commonly
used on harnesses. In addition to these components, other
hardware includes items such as lightweight links and
snaps, ripcords and handles, stiffeners, grommets,
springs, and snap fasteners. [Figures 3-44 through 3-78]
Most load bearing hardware consists of drop forged alloy
steel, sheet alloy steel, or forged aluminum alloy.
Lightweight hardware may be stamped from the sheet
alloy steel, or in rare instances, cast. The majority of the
load bearing hardware is forged carbon steel with either
cadmium or zinc plating.
In recent years, there has been a movement to produce
newer design hardware of stainless steel. This removes
the problem of plating and the environmental problems
associated with it. However, stainless is harder on the
forging dies and the finishing processes take longer.
Consequently, stainless hardware is generally more
expensive than carbon steel.
All specification hardware has the appropriate number
stamped or marked on it. The MS prefix is on those with
the MIL-SPEC certification. All with the newer PIA certification
have the mark with the PS (Parachute Standards)
prefix. [Figure 3-43] Most of the current hardware has the
mark with the MS prefix. As current stocks deplete, the
mark on new production is with the PS prefix.