Main Parachute - Packing Course

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Equipment Components

Inspection Techniques

Everyone who inspects equipment should learn a well practiced, methodical inspection technique. This should be taught to you during your packer’s course. The approved packers check list breaks the inspection down into components so you concentrate on one component at a time, and each component inspection is also broken down into a methodical method of how to do the inspection in a logical sequence. Learn a technique and stick to it. In the early days it's always worth following the approved packers check list and the individual component check list until you're confident in your inspection technique. When you’re confident and well practiced then you can use the check list after you've finished an inspection to ensure that you didn't miss anything. A video lesson is included in this manual to demonstrate my method and explain what I look for on different type of equipment and different component designs.

Inspection Check List

During the packing process it's the packer’s responsibility to look for any wear-and-tear or damage that could cause a problem for the user. The complete rig is subject to a thorough inspection during its reserve inspection and repacks, with one exception; the main parachute is not part of this inspection and often gets neglected. Because of this and because some components wear a lot quicker than others it's recommended that the owner/approved packer does a regular inspection to ensure that the main is always in good condition and serviceable. Some manufactures recommend a 30 day inspection, especially if the equipment is in daily use.

This is a typical check list for a 30 day inspection that an approved packer is qualified to carry out. Follow the list to make sure nothing gets missed. When checking each category; refer to the component sections for a detailed list of what to inspect.

Serviceable Yes or No
Work Required
Approved By
Reserve Ripcord and Housing      
Cutaway Cable and Housing      
Closure Loops      
Pilot Chute      
Bridle Line      
Deployment Bag      
Main Parachute      
Main Risers      
Control Toggles      
Parachute Container      

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When you’ve studied the information in the component information sheets and practiced a methodical inspection system, then the above list should be all you need for future inspections to ensure nothing gets missed.

Be critical during your inspection process, don't get complacent and accept things as being ok for another jump or two, this is the cause of many malfunctions that could have been prevented. Do not hesitate to consult your rigger if you have any doubts about any component during your inspection. Prevention is, without doubt, the best way to prevent injury or worse.

Material Contamination

There are many things that can affect the serviceability of parachute equipment. If you spot any type of contamination; consult a rigger as soon as possible.

Some known contaminates are as follows:

• Ultraviolet light – This reduces the strength of the canopy material by massive amounts, do not leave your parachute in direct sunlight.
• Acid – This type of damage is usually picked up around vehicles and the damage is progressive so it gets worse the longer its left.
• Salt – If the canopy has been subjected to sea water the salt crystals left in the material weave will cause an abrasive effect.
• Rust – This can attack the material and weaken it over time.
• Heat – This type of damage is not easy to detect but the damage weakens the material severely.
• Oil & Grease – This may look messy but it’s not as damaging as the majority of contaminates.
• Mildew – Always dry any damp parachutes before packing