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FAA Adds 60 Days to Parachute Repack Interval

EAA, IAC Support Change

November 20, 2008 — The FAA has extended the time period for mandatory inspection and repacking of reserve and emergency parachutes from 120 to 180 days. The final rule, which goes into effect on December 19, 2008, affects reserve parachutes worn by skydivers and smokejumpers as well as emergency parachutes worn by pilots flying aerobatic aircraft or gliders, test pilots, and others.

In agreeing to the extension, the FAA recognized new reliability data from the parachute industry and others indicating the packing interval should be increased. In its final rule, the FAA reported that numerous experts asserted that modern parachute materials last longer when the packing interval is longer than 120 days and that too-frequent packing shortens the life of the materials. Those experts found that the parachutes’ porosity was affected by handling and manipulation while being packed.

Both EAA and the International Aerobatic Club strongly supported the rulemaking change.

The final rule was printed in the Federal Register on November 19, 2008, and is available online.

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