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Visit with Allen Silver

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Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2006
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Yesterday we spent at least an hour at Allen Silver's shop getting quite an education. This is the second time we have met Allen and as his reputation precedes him, he was very knowledgeable and friendly and also full of stories.
We ended up changing our minds about our means of attachment for some of the harness points. I had been thinking of using criss-crossed wires under the turtledeck for the pilot's shoulder harness as seen in a pretty good article in the Sport Aviation archives. He pointed out that the wires will chafe on each other and steered us toward a Y-type harness which is 1A on his order form-


We need to work out an attachment for a single cable under the turtledeck to attach to his Y-type harness. The most likely mount point would be a cross tube that is only 5/8" X .035 at the back of the luggage area. We are not comfortable with attaching to the middle of that tube without some reinforcement. We have something in mind and will post pics after it is built. For the lap belts, we will be building something attached to the lower longerons for the pilot seat and the floor structure for the passenger's seat. We also have something in mind for the passenger's shoulder harness. For the crotch straps, we will wait to see if the attachment on some Pitts aircraft will work out. I know Beej, post pics.

We actually need to build most of these attachments to get decent measurements before placing our order.

A bit more information that came from our meeting-
1) Secondary lapbelts are mandatory for IAC competition. We didn't realize this.
2) He made a pretty good case why he will not build a double wide lapbelt the way Hooker does. Since we weren't interested in Hooker, it went out of my head instantly.
3) He demoed his SMAK pack which includes a great little webbing cutter, a signal mirror, fire starter and a whistle. We had a brief demonstration of the cutter and the fire starter. After describing how hard it can be to unhook your harness in a hurry when hanging from it upside down and describing how difficult it may be to get out of your chute harness when being dragged across the ground in high winds, we quickly decided the cutter alone made the pack well worth the investment.
4) You need something other than a hard surface behind your chute or abrasion will ruin the outside of the pack. There is typically a wire under a flap of fabric in the middle of the back. This spot will wear through quickly.
5) Temperfoam uncovered will disintegrate quickly.
6) Never let anything abrade the webbing in your harness. A small nick will ruin the strength of the webbing.
7) Never wash Nomex with any kind of fabric softener.

There was more info but this is what came to mind just now.

Incidentally, if you buy a chute from Allen he will typically lend you the different models to try in your plane. He is a Softie dealer. Of course this only works if you can fly into Hayward, CA.
I believe Allen is planning on being at Oshkosh. You would probably find him around the Para-phernalia booth. If you get a chance to meet him and pick his brain, you will be better for it. In an ideal world you would go to his place in Hayward where he will likely have more time to talk without crowds.



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