Learning to pack is a skill that's worth taking your time over and learning in stages, don't try and learn everything at once. It's best to learn one of the lessons in the syllabus and master that before moving on to the next lesson. History has proven that the majority of malfunctions are down to bad packing skills, poor maintenance, incorrect assembly and incompatible component parts. All of these skills will be taught during your packing course. If every skydiver takes the time to master all the skills in the approved packing course we could eradicate all of these malfunctions.
A qualified packer will have learnt how to pack a parachute; however, a good packer will have learnt how to prevent a malfunction. As well as following the packing course, one of the best ways to pack safely and prevent malfunctions is to study the confidential reports and learn about the incidents that have occurred in the past and how they could have been prevented.
It's best to learn on one set of equipment at a time and once you've qualified and had your packing certificate endorsed by the BPA, then start to add new sets of equipment to your certificate. Whenever you add new equipment to your packing certificate, it's important to learn the different skills required for that particular set of equipment. For example: you should not pack FIll canopies in the same manner a zero porosity canopy or a mixed material canopy. Also, some components may look similar on all rigs but require a different packing method for them to function as designed. A good understanding of parachute equipment will provide you with a safe foundation to support your skydiving career.
There are a lot of myths associated with packing and it's your job to fully understand what you've been taught and why. Don't accept advise from only one person, confirm what you've been taught by a second or third person who’s qualified and uses the equipment that you’re working on. After qualifying as an approved packer you may, if you choose, take part in the tandem approved packer’s course to qualify as a tandem packer. This is a requirement if you want to pack tandem rigs or attend a tandem instructor’s course.
Round parachutes have been part of sport parachuting for a long time; however, the use of round parachutes is rapidly fading. Because of this reason the training and qualifying of packing round parachutes is no longer required. Those who are already qualified may continue to pack and maintain round parachutes
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