Chapter 5


The correct packing is the most important aspect of repacking a parachute, but the cosmetic appearance of the container is important as well. This is true both for a pilot emergency and a sport piggyback system. Pilots want their parachute as snug and as flat as possible to keep the parachute comfortable when in use. Skydivers want theirs as snug and streamlined as possible so it stays closed during free fall. The key to these requirements is to make sure the pilot chute is held down securely. To do that, the closing loop needs to be as short as the rigger can make it and still meet the requirements for the maximum pull force. Under the TSO system, the maximum allowable pull force for the ripcord is 22 pounds. Most riggers develop a feel for the closing of the container and what the resultant force will be. However, new riggers need to check their packing technique to measure the pull force, which is done without a seal or thread.

Start by having someone put on the parachute to replicate the real shape and conformity of the parachute system. To pull the ripcord while the parachute is lying on the table is not realistic. The rigger then takes the ripcord handle from the pocket and attaches a calibrated scale to it. [Figure 5-64] Ideally, a recording scale should be used to register the maximum force during the pull. Next, the rigger needs to pull the ripcord in a smooth, quick motion, duplicating the motion of the user and the test requirements of the TSO. Take note of the force required to pull the ripcord pin(s) clear of the locking loop(s) and activate the system. If the force is less than 22 pounds, the rigger can then re-close the container and seal the ripcord. If the force is over 22 pounds, the rigger must make whatever adjustments are needed, such as lengthening the locking loop or re-stowing the canopy, to achieve a pull force below 22 pounds.

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