(Published in the November 2007 issue of Skydiving Magazine.)
Learning how to patch torn canopies was a trial and error process for me when I first got into parachute rigging. I had to sew a so-called "basic patch" in rigging school on a damaged piece of fabric, but that in no way prepared me for working on real damaged parachutes when I bought my first sewing machine.
I would probably be embarrassed if I ever came across my first 20-30 patches. Opening a drop zone loft meant I got enough practice and work that I just eventually became proficient at patching damaged canopies. But it took me about a year, 30-plus patches, and several visits to other riggers for lessons, tips and tricks to get to that point.
This pilot chute is a well-made, yet inexpensive, replacement pilot chute for any sport skydiving rig. The Cazer Collapsible Pilot Chute is actually what comes with a new Dolphin or Infinity container.
Washing your harness/container every few years can keep your investment looking brand new. You'll be surprised how clean and bright a used container can get with a thorough washing.
Below are tips and a step-by-step "how to" guide for washing your harness/container. These tips have been taken from several manufacturers, riggers and my own experience of washing a few hundred rigs over the past 10 years.
(Published in the July 2009 issue of Blue Skies Magazine.)
Hidden behind flaps, under grommets and inside your container are tiny pieces of metal that can end your Sky God status in a hurry. In an ideal world, all the metal in skydiving is polished, shiny and smooth as silk. But manufacturing issues, abnormal wear and just plain sharp edges can lead to frayed and broken loops in your main and reserve container. The inspection is easy; a little bit of time and some basic knowledge on what to look for will go a long way in keeping your container closed when you need it to be. You can also save yourself from having to constantly replace your loops.
The PD Slink bumpers keep the tab hidden in the risers, keeps the slider at the top of the risers after deployment and focuses wear on the bumper instead of the riser.
To install PD Slinks without the bumpers so you can bring the slider down to the base of the risers you will want to tack the tab inside the riser.
I've had some riggers tell me that they don't usually replace the reserve closing loop during each inspection/repack because a new loop stretches and affects the finished look of the rig. Apparently some riggers feel it's the fault of a "stretching" new loop that the reserve pilot chute isn't completely seated or compressed like the prior pack job.
Over the past few months I've surfed across a few great rigging resource sites that I think need a little more publicity due to their value to the rigging community. Make sure you take some time to browse the following three sites.
PD Slinks come in Reserve Canopy and Main Canopy versions.
Jumpshack's Racer container elicits many comments from riggers due to how different it is from most other rigs on the market. At the very least, a Racer container takes a little more thought and preparation; and that is where a new DVD packing manual released by Jump Shack steps in to save the day.
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