Question for the Chute Riggers...

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Riggerrob

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Sep 9, 2014
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Dear Traskel,
He might be able to re-use the original communist-era parachute canopies, but the harness is probably long overdue for replacement.

This reminds me of a conversation with a pilot who had just paid C$300,000 for a T-28 Trojan. When I told him that the parachutes were severely faded across the shoulders - and suggested new parachutes - he replied "I just blew the bank on the purchase!"
Hah!
Hah!
I ended up sewing for several hours (at $75 per hour) to repair the worst sunlight damage. Fortunately the harness was not faded and it had been stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
 

Aesquire

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Jul 28, 2014
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Rochester, NY, USA
There's a difference between skydiving and emergency exits. Besides intent. I went up in that Twin Islander with the purpose of taking 1/2 an airplane ride and making my own way back to the tiny orange dot on the ground. Our OP just wants to be safe if his careful preflight and maintenance don't prevent involuntary end to controlled flight.

Also, my training and gear date from a time before tandem jumps ( tourists! ) and "square" parachutes achieved the reputation for reliability high enough to strap to first time solo jumpers. I was lucky to be there when the technology took a quantum leap. I remember the excitement when the New "Booth rig" system arrived at the school and the owner had a whole new and simpler procedure to practice. So I started with WW2 surplus, and ended flying parafoil chutes off ski slopes. Long before Paragliders were developed.

I freely admit that skydivers have a rough sense of humor. So do EMTs.

But the giggling about malfunctions? That's part of the learning process. The skydiving and hang gliding organization magazines both published accident reports. So you can learn from other's mistakes. I learned not to show that part to parents. :) Saved my life, though.

Don't worry, I'm not insulted. There's a hierarchy of "you guys are crazy" in aviation. Civilians often think flying a plane you built in your garage isane. Cub pilots think sailplane.... All the way to base jumpers... Squirrel suits... Jet gloves... And the increasingly popular human cuisinart manned multi-prop "drones".
 
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Traskel

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Oct 3, 2020
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Aesquire - Thank you. Our experiences are more similar than you might think and I didn't mean to be harsh. I may have misunderstood your post with what seemed a casual response to malfunctions. I didn't start skydiving until the mid-eighties, probably 10 years into reliable squares, and did AFF initial instruction.

The gear was remarkably reliable by then and required one to pack their malfunctions, not that I didn't come close a couple of times. I heard the stories of the WW2 gear and did think you guys were nuts.. I got certified as a static line jumpmaster so I could afford to continue jumping thru college and had a lot of fun. After reading a tiny article on the European skydivers who hooked their squares into their climbing harnesses so they could fly rather than climb down, (Para-Pente'?), we agreed it would be fun, removed our sliders, laid out on a beautiful ridge over a beach in central California, flipped a coin to see who would go first and ran like hell for our first front launches laughing like kids.

I too built my first pseudo-paraglider (1988 I think) from a practice harness and a 9 cell reserve in our gear loft, ($60.. :)). I hiked and flew off dozens of ridges including the cornice at Mammoth and finally bought real paragliding gear a couple of years later. I was able to fly at a number of gorgeous sites in Europe and several times in Hawaii and chased hawks across California beaches - I believe the most personal experience of flight possible.

So I feel very blessed to have been able to play in those environments - figuring out RW or swooping down to run across the top of your friend's canopy, down planes with a slow rotation or dashing out of a Beech E-17 at night and twisting to glance it slowly flying away against the stars Or flying off a ridge that quite possibly no one else ever has.. Magical fun..
 

Traskel

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Oct 3, 2020
Messages
41
Dear Traskel,
He might be able to re-use the original communist-era parachute canopies, but the harness is probably long overdue for replacement.

This reminds me of a conversation with a pilot who had just paid C$300,000 for a T-28 Trojan. When I told him that the parachutes were severely faded across the shoulders - and suggested new parachutes - he replied "I just blew the bank on the purchase!"
Hah!
Hah!
I ended up sewing for several hours (at $75 per hour) to repair the worst sunlight damage. Fortunately the harness was not faded and it had been stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
Glad he had you. I Jumped a bit and cannot imagine leaving a plane and wondering if my gear would work.
Perhaps I'm just a wimp but that seems nuts to me. Not a place to save money..
 

Toobuilder

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Wow.. Am I understanding correctly that you can afford to fly an L-39 and you are "wondering if you should chance using it's original parachutes?.."
No, you are most certainly NOT understanding correctly. Please re read my original post - slowly. Try again, and I'll let you know if you got it right or not.

And don't invent quotes that don't exist
 

Traskel

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Oct 3, 2020
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No, you are most certainly NOT understanding correctly. Please re read my original post - slowly. Try again, and I'll let you know if you got it right or not.

And don't invent quotes that don't exist
Toobuilder - You are correct about my misuse of quotes. I should not have snidely paraphrased your serious question, e.g. that you wanted to know about the safety of using the ancient Russian skydive gear that came with the L39 and if it could be checked or modified to work. My apologies. I need to check myself before writing when I'm astounded. Let me explain -

I have zero experience in an L39 but I have gotten to fly some aerobatics in a few fun planes, (a Pitts, a Decathlon, and a Nanchang), and, as a fairly experienced skydiver, I would hate to have to leave any of them in an emergency. However, if it happened, an L39 emergency could occur at a much higher speed which would drastically complicate any exit and perhaps drastically increase the loads that any harness and chute, (and you), would need to endure. I have some knowledge of the evolution of skydiving gear and believe that the comparative safety of modern gear to what came with your jet, even if it were magically pristine, is vast.

So, from my knowledge base having skydived from a variety of planes and study of material science for engineering I was astounded that your only question isn't "who makes the safest, modern gear upgrade for the L39 and how do I get it?"

Still, It wasn't fair of me to share my biased opinion in what could be interpreted as a mean-spirited comment and I'm sorry to have done so. My real hope is that you have years of fantastic experiences in your incredible plane and you never, ever need to use whatever gear you carry.
 

Aesquire

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Rochester, NY, USA
may have misunderstood your post with what seemed a casual response to malfunctions.
No worries. My experience is a decade earlier. I can still do the malfunction drill for 2 shot & 1&1/2 shot Capewells.
But I wonder if I'm still a Righteous Cardinal? Let me think...

There's a reason I advise getting new gear. I've used the old stuff.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the Forrest Gump ( or Bizzaro Kevin Bacon ) of fringe aviation. I have this list of contacts, letters, and meetings with the FAA , USHGA, & SSA ( soaring society America ) where sometime after, changes happened to gliders, regulations, and rules. In rare cases, changes I argued for, like the 1980s USHGA meeting where we were considering drug testing for competition. ( my argument was, steroids & other drugs troubling to Olympic games generally added muscle mass, which is not a performance upgrade in a sport where wing loading matters more than lifting weights. But I think my comment that if we didn't follow MLB in drug testing we wouldn't need to budget for it and would sidestep the scandals involved, made the difference. )

I was seldom the First to do something. I started Hang Gliding 3 years after the famous National Geographic cover story on Otto Lillienthal's Birthday Party, ( which was years after Bill Moyes & Bill Bennet started with Rogallo ski kites & thrill shows ) jumpers were already doing canopy relative work with Paracommanders, when I first saw a drop zone, and I wasn't the first in the area to bolt cart engines to hang gliders. Might have helped...

Thanks, I now get to add "used that old scary stuff" to my Hierarchy Of "they're crazy" In Aviation!
 

Toobuilder

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The thread drift does not bother me in this case (except for the speculation about my finances, etc), because I essentially got my answer on post #2
 

Bille Floyd

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Sep 26, 2019
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Or, we could stick to the original intent of the thread here and tell these other unrelated stories in the Hangar Flying section...
HA !!
I bet i got my point across , and that is, "All" that mattered to me ; even
if it did , piss you off (.)

Improper use of a reserve , is Not good for a pilots longevity ; and
yes, it did loosely follow the OP's question.

Bille
 

Jimstix

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Sep 29, 2012
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LAS CRUCES NM
Parachutes are like helicopter blades, both have usage and shelf lives. My parachute experience is relegated to ejection seat usage in rocket sled testing, and nearly all of that with the C-9 canopy and rigging. We never used an "expired" chute because none were available - all the old stuff was destroyed to prevent its use on the Holloman flight line. Even the "new" C-9 canopy and rigging failed from time to time, but mostly at >400 kts.
Buy a new, well-fitting parachute. Make sure that the canopy size is compatible with your weight and usage (glider vice jet warbird) and get it repacked per the manufacturers instructions by a qualified rigger. Remember, if you need to use your parachute, nothing else will do.
 
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