Reserve parachute care & repacking
Guidelines on reserve parachute care and repacking.
Reserve parachute care
- Apart from regular repacking and inspections, pay special attention to the following:
- Do not leave the reserve out in the sun (UV radiation) unnecessarily.
- A wet or damp reserve should be completely unpacked and allowed to dry inside at room temperature, or outside in the shade.
- Do not expose a packed reserve to large temperature changes, and do make sure it gets enough air circulation in cars and building so that condensation does not form.
- Deal with the reserve carefully on the ground after an opening, or during SIV training.
- After contact with seawater the reserve must be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water.
- Only clean the reserve with fresh water, and a little neutral soap if required. Never use solvents. Chemicals, cleaning agents, insects, stains etc. can affect the strength of the parts as much as physical abuse.
Reserve parachute repacking
Make sure yours is freshly packed, at least once a year. Grit collects in the reserve parachute (causing damage through abrasion). Damp from ballast and wet grass can seep into the reserve (causing mildew and hampering opening time). The fabric gets compressed which delays opening. Packing elastics can perish, badly packed reserves can slide out of nappies, loops can tangle, and pins can get damaged. All materials degrade with age, even when not used.
Although you can repack one yourself following the manufacturer's instructions, we recommend using a professional service to ensure it's done right and that the canopy gets a thorough inspection on a light table (at least every 2 years). Steerable reserves are more complicated to pack. We don't offer a reserve repacking service but BHPA licensed reserve system packers like The Loft and Aerofix do.
Also look out for 'Big Fat Repack' reserve clinics, run by BHPA clubs, which offer a unique opportunity to slide down a zip wire (or swing on a rope) and have a realistic deployment before packing (under guidance).
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