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Safety Tip - Do you have a good reserve packer? read the tell tale signs

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Mistakes made by riggers generally fall into three categories: Failure to do a thorough inspection for serviceability, failure to do a separate inspection after maintenance or assembly and failure to do a test after a repair or modification. Riggers must pay particular attention to the type of materials used when repairing, or building component parts.

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Parachute Equipment


Home - Assembly - Safety System - Equipment - Maintenance

Main Packing - Reserve Packing - Training - Tandem



Total Malfunction

A rigger converted a leg strap throwaway to a BOC throwaway system. During the next skydive, the jumper found that he could not deploy the pilot chute and carried out his reserve drills. he landed safely under his reserve.


The rigger installed a deployment pocket that was far to tight for the size of the pilot chute and it was extremely difficult to extract the pilot chute, even on the ground. The rigger didn't test the effectiveness of the BOC pocket before he gave it back to the jumper and the jumper never did a practice pull.


If you have your equipment modified or repaired and it involves moving handles then confirm the system still works as it was designed to. Riggers must always test every modification and repair job before the customer even gets to the rig. As a skydiver it's also your responsibility to ensure that you can deploy your pilot chute. After any repair or modification work always do a test pull.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Premature Reserve Deployment

Upon deployment of the main canopy, the reserve canopy also deployed, the jumper cut away the main and landed safely on the reserve parachute.


This rig had recently had an RSL fitted, unfortunately for the jumper the length of the RSL was to short on his Racer container, so when the main risers came under tension the RSL pulled the reserve pins.


This premature reserve deployment could quite easily have been avoided if the rigger had taken more care when fitting the RSL system; this is also something that reserve packers should be looking out for.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

AAD Installation Causes Total on Reserve

Testing of some student rigs recently identified a situation where the AAD power cable had been positioned too close to the first pin to allow full pin extraction. The particular equipment involved was the FXC 12000 and the Racer SST Trainer. The situation was identified during a routine field test for AAD calibration. It emphasised the importance of testing units in a mounted configuration and the practice of regular calibration tests. Check your student rigs.

This report was written by the Australian Parachute Federation

Premature RSL Deployment

Upon deploying his main parachute, a jumper looked up to check his canopy and saw his reserve parachute deploying at the same time. The jumper cutaway and landed on his reserve. This was the first jump that he had done since he had a new RSL installed. The RSL installation was not one that was approved or recognised by the manufacturer.


The rigger who installed the RSL did a retrofit of the javelin RSL system onto a Talon container. Even though this method was not approved by the container manufacturer, it wasn't the design that caused the problem. The rigger had made the RSL too small which would have been a problem on any container including the Javelin. When the risers deployed the RSL was so short that the RSL then pulled the reserve pin which caused the problem.


Under the rules and regulations of the BPA, the rigger was qualified to install the RSL and use the method he choose .However, there is an argument to use only the manufacturers modification or upgrade instructions. The container would then have been approved by the manufacturer as well as the association. The issue here was the price difference; the Javelin RSL method was a lot cheaper to have installed than the Talon method. The real problem was that the rigger did a modification without testing his work. When upgrading or modifying any part of a parachute system it's vitally important to test the functionality of the finished product. It always comes down to the same old questions "why do you blindly trust your rigger" Do some research, find out what your rigger is qualified to do and what experience he has on the type of work that he's about to do. What is his reputation? If it's a modification then don't be afraid to ask how he tested it.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Faulty Materials

During packing a jumper noticed that his pilot chute netting was torn and took it to a rigger to have it repaired. The rigger refused to repair it because he didn't recognise the type of netting and while inspecting it noticed how easily it was to tear it.


The jumper returned the pilot chute to the rigger who recently made it for him and after telling him the problem, the rigger checked the other pilot chutes that he had made and found that the netting failed with as little as 5 lb of pull force. The source of the netting was never established.


Riggers have the same duty as a manufacturer; they must know the source of the material supplier and the specification of the material. Riggers, however, do not have the same quality control procedures in place as a manufacturer so the risk of faulty material is greater. Materials may look the same but have very different strengths. Once again, it's a question of" how good is your rigger and do you trust him/her. The majority of riggers do not have a material test facility, therefore it's common sense for a rigger to buy his materials from a company that does so they can guarantee the quality of the materials.

Manufacturers usually demand a certificate of conformity from their material suppliers and they batch test the materials they receive. If a rigger buys material from a company who hasn't done the above then it's his or her responsibility to test the material to confirm it's suitable before using it on parachute systems.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Shoddy Rigging

During a routine reserve inspection and repack a rigger found that the reserve pilot chute had previously been used as a main pilot chute for a few hundred jumps at least, and was in bad condition.


The reserve system is a skydiver's last chance and the pilot chute is the device that makes it possible. By using a reserve pilot chute with deteriorated porosity, the packer is reducing the skydiver's possibilities of surviving a malfunction.


There is no excuse for this type of situation, make sure your reserve packer is conscientious enough to do a thorough inspection.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt