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For sale Softie mini parachute with acro harness

pigpenracing

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Very nice solid blue 1991 Softie mini parachute with aerobatic harness. I have 2 but sale is pending on one of them.
$750 No these DO NOT have a 20 year life limit
[email protected]
 

rmarshall234

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[QUOTE these DO NOT have a 20 year life limit]



The manufacturer will say otherwise.
 

pigpenracing

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lanceav8r

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The life limit is similar to TBO. Purely advisory. As long as it passes it is good till the next inspection interval. I have the fabric tensile tested if it is over 20 years old or if there is ever any question about too much UV.
 

rmarshall234

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And here is the section from the current packing manual that addresses service life. I stand by my statement.


1.4 SERVICE LIFE
Independent testing of aged nylon materials has proven that its strength degrades over time,​
therefore, Para-Phernalia, Inc. and Free Flight Enterprises have established a 20-year service life
from the date of component manufacture for the Softie Pilot Emergency System and the Preserve​
line of emergency parachutes.
 

pigpenracing

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Well I also have a red 2002 Softie mini with a acro harness. It is $1300 though. Some feel better with newer chutes and some feel better with older cheap ones that don't kill their wallet. All preference I guess. Just like some like new expensive cars and some drive old beaters they don't have to take a loan out on to buy. Most people will have to take out a loan to buy two new chutes....
 

lanceav8r

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The manufacturer's statement is written to shed themselves of liability from products over 20 years old. Again it is similar to TBO. There is no objective data to back up the service life limit. Ask anyone to produce it, they wont.

The FAA and also the Parachute Industry Association doesn't believe in such a life limit either. If it passes the Rigger's inspection along with a tensile test http://www.pia.com/piapubs/TSDocuments/TS-108.1.pdf you can be assured that it is safe on the day it was inspected, tested and repacked. On that note a parachute that is younger than 20 years could be negatively affected by UV exposure. Inspected it, test it if needed and move on.

Ted Strong and Bill Booth (United Parachute Technologies) are the two most experienced parachute designers and innovators. Neither put a life limit on their equipment.

Strong's position
What is the life of my parachute system? [−]
FAA FAR 65.129b requires that “No certificated parachute rigger may pack a parachute that is not safe for emergency use”.

The continued airworthiness of an assembly is at the discretion of the FAA licensed parachute rigger’s inspection during re-pack. While proper care can no doubt extend its usefulness, an older parachute should be examined more closely for signs of deterioration.

Strong Enterprises recommends returning the system to us every 5 to 8 years for complete inspection and any updates that may be required.

Your parachute is a sensitive piece of life saving equipment and should be treated as such. However, it should not be expected to last forever, even with proper care.
I have around 3500 jumps. With sport parachutes the nylon is NOT the first thing to wear other than abrasions. burns or punctures all of which can be safely and legally patched. It is the lines that wear out from repeated openings. We often jump a parachute for 500+ jumps, reline it and jump for another 500+ jumps, repeat. That is a lot of wear and UV exposure and the parachute is just fine. Opening shock stretches the lines so the parachute gets out of trim. The lines themselves are not really an issue other than trim. I feel perfectly safe jumping a rig that is 20+ Years old as long as it is inspected by a trusty Master Rigger. Especially a parachute that has never seen sunlight ever in it's life.

If the container's color isn't faded then that is a really good sign it was kept from sunlight. If it doesn't smell then it likely was stored OK and I would proceed to inspection. Check the hardware and look for corrosion. Hardware is replaceable but look for the rust to rub off onto the nylon webbing. On some rigs the entire harness is replaceable for a fee far lower than the cost of complete replacement.

My hangar partner replaces his rig every couple years. It is kind of silly to me but it makes him feel safer. As far as I am concerned his money would be better spent on a few actual jumps instead of relying on equipment replacement to make him safer. I understand that most Pilot's are afraid of leaving the airplane however. Too bad he uses a different rig than I need.

But don't listen to me. I have cotton wings on my Pitts. Maybe I should go buy a new parachute.
 
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Lotahp1

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Just found this on the national parachute site:


The formal determination of “Time / Life” or service life of a non-military personnel parachute is still open ended and non specific. Someone must take the initiative and make a judgment
call to ground it. By comparison: “Personnel (military) parachutes have a determined service life (a maximum shelf life) without use of 16.5 years, and every personnel parachute is stamped with a manufacturing date that starts its life-cycle clock. A personnel parachute is also stamped with the date that it is first placed in service (PIS). From that point on, a parachute’s service life cannot exceed 12 years. The longer the unit sits on the shelf the less service life it has once placed in service.”
The Parachute Industry Association (PIA) has visited this issue without conclusion to date. Until the PIA specifies or recommends otherwise, it is the opinion of the current management at National Parachute that the maximum service life is 20 years from date of manufacture.

Hmmmm. It's there "opinion". That doesn't mean it's the law. Maybe theres rigger on here that could verify what the real deal is
 

Larry Lyons

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This argument all for naught if the IAC says nothing over 20 years old in a sanctioned contest. NHRA in higher/faster classes call for no safety harness over 5 years old, I believe.

L

PS: Although my first parachute wasn't cotton it was a candy striped 30 year old chute then, worked, I am still here, 1,000 jumps and 40 years later.
 
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Larry Lyons

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Maybe I am wrong about the IAC 20 year thing, if so I apologize as that is the impression I was under. I have no issues with an older chute if it checks out OK. I own 2 squares now, both with reserves, both over 35 years old plus the chute I have for Miss Smith is 17 years old! Wouldn't hesitate to jump any of them. However one thing different on a voluntary jump; I will have a current reserve even if I plan to open a reserve as my main.

L
 

Larry Lyons

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Here is an article Alan Silver has on his web site. Good info and maybe where I came up with the 20 years as too old to use in a contest.

L

BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR PARACHUTE
Published In: SOARING and SPORT AEROBATICS MAGAZINES
(August 1991)
Updated: Feb 2010
By: Allen Silver
Often when looking for parachute equipment for your aircraft you find what appears to
be exactly what you are looking for, but you must act quickly or it may be gone. Unfortunately
the seller lives across the country and told you he has several other interested people. If you
really want the parachute you need to send a cashier’ check or money order immediately. This is
where a few horror stories begin. Stop, do not buy anything until it's been inspected, by an FAA
certified parachute rigger. If the seller has to have the money right away before allowing you to
check out the equipment you should skip the “good deal” and look elsewhere.
After working with parachute equipment full time for over 40 years, I’m confident I can
help you find what you need. What no one needs is someone else's white elephant. Sometimes
the seller is just as naive about the “brand new, never been used, like new or slightly used” piece
of equipment as you are. He thinks it's new because it has never been used and looks good.
For the past 25+ years I've received on the average one of these "good deals" annually
that I've had to condemn out as not airworthy. Many other deals worked out in the long run, but
some stressful times and hard feelings prevailed. Wondering if your money will ever see your
wallet again will give you a few restless nights. This is especially true if you have no one to turn
to.
Here are four recent examples that have come through my shop. The first parachute
hadn't been packed in several years. The proud new owner brought it to me and when it was
opened all the rubber bands had melted onto the lines and parachute material. Then the entire
mess was stuck to the inside of the container rendering it useless in an emergency, to the horror
of the new owner. Not having this parachute routinely serviced and incorrectly storing it in a
humid climate ruined it. Leaving your parachute in the trunk of a hot car over time can achieve
the same results.
The next two parachutes also came to me as "good deals". They both had newly
constructed harness/containers. When I opened them, the new owners were shocked to discover
very old canopies inside. One was so old it survived most of WWII. The other was over 25 years
old. Both were sold as being just a few years old. In one case, the previous owner thought the
date the harness/container was manufactured was the same as the date the canopy was
manufactured. The packing data card that should be with every parachute must include the serial
numbers and dates of manufacture of both the canopy and the harness/container. If it's not there
be suspicious. With a little prompting on my part the customer received his money back. Sadly,
the other person was unable to recover his losses.
Yet another unfortunate incident involved the purchase of a canopy that was not
airworthy and a harness/container that was not certified (TSO'd). It was manufactured illegally
without FAA approval. You the buyer must beware. A general rule of thumb is if it seems too
good of a deal to be true, it probably is.
There is no hard and fast FAA rule as to the service life, in years, for your parachute.
The FAA rules basically say that every 180 days your parachute is no longer airworthy and must
be recertified. As an FAA certified master rigger and past chairman of the Parachute Industries
Rigging Committee I feel you should not have your chute packed after 20 years of age. As a
member of the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) I've heard talk among many riggers and all
the manufacturers of pilot emergency parachutes and they agree that your parachute should not
exceed 20 years service life, regardless of the condition or appearance of your parachute.
Throughout the industry, particularly because of the threat of lawsuits, everyone has the
tendency to lean towards the conservative side. Now all manufacturers of pilot emergency in the
United States do not want their products in service after 20 years.
However, twenty years was not just pulled out of a hat by the manufacturers to sell you
more parachutes (the military uses only 10 years for their service life) and many foreign
countries use only 15 years. When more accurate fabric pull test equipment became available
and better means of doing excelerated testing of nylon for UV exposure it was quite evident that
parachutes in excess of 20 years of age more frequently failed the non-destructive 40lb. tensile
tests (see PIA, TS-108 for updated pull test requirements) and UV testing This doesn't mean a
10 year old or a newer parachute is always ok. A lot of factors enter into the picture, such as,
where it was stored and its service history. The established guidelines have been implemented to
protect you. This 20 year service life is based on ideal conditions. The rigger has no idea where
your "good deal" has been. Has it had a tough life?
Has it been left out in the sun (UV damage) or exposed to extreme heat and humidity?
Who knows and who can help you? A qualified rigger can inspect your parachute and the cost is
usually free. I do not charge people for this service, because after inspecting their chutes quite
often they will become a customer. The entire inspection takes only a few minutes and, in my
opinion, should be done as a public service.
The final purchase of any parachute, other than brand new, should be contingent upon an
FAA certified rigger giving it his or her blessing. Included in their inspection findings should be
whether the parachute is airworthy. If it is, how many years service life can be expected out of
it, assuming you take proper care of it. Sometimes a parachute with only 5 years service life is a
good buy - if it's airworthy and the price is right (cheap). Let's say for example the parachute
cost you $250.00. Divide 5 years into $250.00 and that breaks down to $50.00 a year. But, if
the same chute was $750.00 or $150.00 a year that money ($750.00) would be better spent
towards the purchase of a new piece of equipment that costs now days between $1800.00 and
$2000.00 A used chute in very good condition should run you about $50.00- $70.00 a year for
its remaining lifespan, based on 20 years service life and the condition of the parachute.
Obviously the worse shape the chute is in (wear and tear) the lower the multiplication factor.
This formula can be applied to any parachute to get a rough idea of its value. I feel these are
realistic numbers to use and generally take into consideration normal wear and tear. Many
parachutes have had factory Service Bulletins or FAA AD's on them that may or may not have
been taken care of. Most pilots would not know about these necessary upgrades and they could
be costly, if not factored into the purchase price. That's why I'm here.
A new parachute over the long haul is better for many reasons. It has all the latest safety
features on it. You know where it has been and, most importantly, it is cost effective. If you
divide $1800.00 (or what you paid for you new parachute) by 20 (this number represents 20
years service life) the cost to you in this example is $90.00 a year. An added bonus should you
decide to sell your parachute is the higher resale value on the brand name parachutes, on the
market today.
My first obligation to you is to make your parachute equipment as safe and reliable as I
can. I won't put anything back into service that I wouldn't put on my own back or my sons, who
also fly’s. I speak from experience having made over 3200+ jumps spanning over 48 years. I’m
one of approximately 40 DPRE’s (Designated Parachute Rigger Examiners) for the FAA. I’m
past chairman of the Rigging Committee for PIA (Parachute Industry Association). This is the
world wide organization that represents the parachute industry. I’m the largest dealer of the
Softie line of pilot emergency parachute systems, manufactured by Para-Phernalia Inc.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me. All it takes is
a phone call (510) 785-7070 Mon.–Thurs. (8:30am – 5pm pst) or you can write to: Silver
Parachute Sales & Service, P. O. Box 6092, Hayward, CA 94540-6092. You can also reach me
through my website:​
www.SilverParachutes.com or by email: [email protected] .
Thank you and Blue Skies,

Allen Silver
 

Beej

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Now everyone has been fully informed on this subject, let's not forget this thread is a classified ad. Any potential buyer has enough (good) info here, to make their own decision. Let him sell his stuff.
 

pigpenracing

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now everyone has been fully informed on this subject, let's not forget this thread is a classified ad. Any potential buyer has enough (good) info here, to make their own decision. Let him sell his stuff.
amen brotha!
 

lanceav8r

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The article from Alan Silver is a good article. Just remember that he is Softie's largest dealer. He can't take a contrary position to his bread and butter manufacturer.

Just have your old or new rig thoroughly inspected and feel ok about it if your Master Rigger gives it the ok.
 

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