Buying Used Parachutes

Bartman

Administrator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey, USA
#1
Hi all,

Assuming I actually complete my airplane and have it flying in a couple of more months, I was thinking a parachute might be appropriate for the first few flights while I pull and push to make sure everything is ready for a return to fun flying with passengers.

Anyone out there well versed in buying a used parachute? Was just looking at the Para-Phernalia site and new ones are in the $2700 range.

What are the pros/cons of buying new vs. buying used and paying for a repack/inspection??

Thanks!
Bart
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
#2
I paid $500 for a set of used Security chutes. They cost $100 every 90 days for repack. Then my packer moved and another repacker unpacked, and threatened to cut the risers. Not because they were bad, but because they were old.

Left a bad taste in my mouth. It will be a very long time before I buy another parachute.

The real question is what are you doing that a parachute might help you survive? The Champ is not built for extreme aero, and there are instances where chutes didn't help when in extended spins.
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
#4
I call mine a Champ. It has 180 HP and inverted fuel and oil. Flew it inverted yesterday. No chutes. They are not likely to fall apart in mid-air with low G maneuvers like slow rolls. I no longer do loops, although an Immelman is not too painful.

We have had two different fatal accidents in San Diego recently. I think both were related to wound-up spins and disorientation. Hard to use a chute when you are spinning so fast you don't know which direction you are rotating.

My recommendation - get some dual on slow and aileron rolls so you do not "pull" while inverted; limit spins to one turn or so, and forget about Lomcevaks, snap rolls, and tail slides. Parachutes are required for you and an instructor, but not if you are sole occupant. Borrow or rent for your instructional flights.
 

Bartman

Administrator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey, USA
#5
My plan is to start looking for dual with someone before mine is completed so I can be back up to speed before the first flights. Some basic acro, unusual attitudes, and spins should do it. Would also like to have a parachute on for the first flights in case something unexpected happens and the plane becomes unflyable......unlikely but who knows. If all goes well and the plane is good to go I'd like to be able to do some basic acro in it and would like to have a parachute for that even if I'm sole occupant.
 

Clifford Daly

Well-known member
#6
@Bartman i just finished going through the process. I got a softie chute and ended up buying one new. The advantage is that anything I get stays looking new for a long time. A lot of times you see them faded and worn. I keep mine in a controlled environment and only put it in the plane when I want to use it.

The common stuff is that a chute is good for 20 years. The guy out in California (I forget his name) sells them used and basically charges 100 bucks for every year it has left in it. Totaling 2000 bucks for a practically new one. Speaking to him, the idea is that mine, if kept new, will last 30 years so it’s well worth the investment. Some packers won’t repack it after 20 years no matter what, others will look at it and go based of its condition. I don’t blame them when in the end, it’s their signature.

Now for the reality of getting out of the airplane... good luck! I’ve committed that me in the backseat, I’m trapped. The front seat more likely to get out. But try it in the hangar. It’s not easy!

Also, don’t forget about the regs... if you’re solo you don’t need one. If you have a passenger, you BOTH need one. If you’re with a cfi, it’s a grey area but if it’s required for training then you technically don’t need to wear them.

I found a local skydive group that packs mine for lunch. Only issue is they disappear in the winter!
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
#7
I think only required spin training can be done without chutes, when under instruction.

My point was if you avoid the heavy aero, the flight loads on the airframe are really no more than a steep turn. My slow rolls are 1 g all the way around. I think the aileron rolls are even more gentle than that.
 

Bartman

Administrator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey, USA
#8
Bob, with the new wings I'm planning on testing them to whatever the g-load limit of the plane is. I don't want to leave it for someone else to figure out later on that they weren't up to snuff. If things go to shit then I'd like to be able to jump out! If there are other options there that I haven't identified yet, do please tell me what they are! :)
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
#9
Nope. If you are going to the limits, get a good parachute, and practice jettisoning the door and diving on to a pile of mattresses.

I am finding that a good 1 g 4-point roll takes all the skill I have.

There is a weak spot when you get violent in a Champ, at least for gas tanks welded within the last two decades, so watch for leaks.
 

aftCG

Well-known member
Location
Tacoma, WA
#10
I paid $500 for a set of used Security chutes. They cost $100 every 90 days for repack. Then my packer moved and another repacker unpacked, and threatened to cut the risers. Not because they were bad, but because they were old.

Left a bad taste in my mouth. It will be a very long time before I buy another parachute.

The real question is what are you doing that a parachute might help you survive? The Champ is not built for extreme aero, and there are instances where chutes didn't help when in extended spins.
My 7ECA came with a Little Softie which I assumed was too small for me (it's pretty compact). But I read up on it and it was rated for 240 lbs so it would work. Par-phernalia is barely a legal cross country flight from home for me so on a day I couldn't find my way to work I flew up there to see if they would repack my chute.

Nice people. The woman checked my chute and found it was made in 1996, and told me they don't touch them if they're over 20 years old regardless of condition. They did offer me $500 trade in towards a new one of any type. Offered to let me try both backpack style and seat cushion type (the seats of the "champ" are made for either choice).

I recently saw a pair of the seat cushion type on facebook (but typical of that %&#* couldn't find it an hour later). They were a good deal at $1200 since they were only a few years old.

I was tempted but still have to fund ADS-B out, and haven't engaged an aerobatic instructor.

Good call on renting chutes, and for pointing out you don't need one if solo.
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
#11
Isn't that the solution? I fly upside down only once a week, and I bet I could find ten other pilots who do the same, cutting expenses considerably if our schedules worked.

Problem is, about seven of those guys are wealthy (kid down the row has an Extra and a Citation SP). So owning and packing chutes for him is like buying a cappuccino for us.