The FAA is reportedly in the final stages of extending the required parachute re-packing interval from 120 days to 180 days. EAA and the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) were part of the widespread effort led by the Parachute Industry Association and the United States Parachute Association in favor of the change.
“We’re very pleased that this change is going through,” said Lisa Popp, IAC executive director. “Obviously, the change will benefit our members whom we require to wear a parachute during any of the 45-plus aerobatic competitions we sanction annually in the United States.”
The main reasons for making the change are to increase the level of safety for pilots required to wear parachutes when flying, such as aerobatic pilots and glider pilots; and to align the United States with virtually the rest of the world on repacking requirements.
According to a news release from Silver Parachutes and Service, the rule change is now in the final stages of being turned into law and is expected to occur on or before February 20 2009. Allen Silver said this will conclude a more than three-year process, and the chief reason for the change is safety.
“Parachutes are covered with a special coating and the less you handle them, the better their lifespan and performance,” Silver said. “This will also align the U.S. with the rest of the world, as some countries have had 180-day repack periods for 10 and 15 years with no adverse results, he added.
Silver stresses that under the new regulation, existing repacks will not be automatically extended. The new 180-day repack cycle will only take effect after the next repack performed by a certificated parachute rigger.