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Tandem Steering Line Safety Notice
Unitís Affected: Elite Tandem Reserves Manufactured between August 1997 and March 1998.
Action Required: Immediately inspect all reserves for proper brake eye configuration and stowage and verify the length of the lower steering line between the brake eye and steering cascades.
Problem Description: Tandem Reserve canopies manufactured between the above dates may have been manufactured with incorrect steering line assemblies. These assemblies may be manufactured with the brake eye configured with two (2) large interlocking loops or with a large loop and an interlocking small loop with the small loop on the top. Both configurations are incorrect. The correct configuration is shown below.
Additionally, The length of the portion of the line above the brake eye on reserve canopies should be no more than 157 inches to the steering cascades. This length controls the amount of deployment brake applied to the canopy during opening. Our reserve is the same canopy as our main, without a bridle attachment or flag on the slider. We have been jumping our mains with the brake setting at 164 inches and find it to be a good setting. We have also been jumping our mains without any brakes and have a number of clients who never use brakes. It appears as though we have over 3000 jumps without any brakes and no reported increase in malfunctions. Some people donít like the slow snively openings which the "no brake" configuration produces. Some people do like these openings, as a matter of fact they prefer them. We have had a report of a reserve taking a perceived 600 to 700 feet to open. This might in fact occur, depending on weight of total load with the setting at 161 inches. We do our testing for this parameter with a solo jumper to demonstrate worst case scenario and find the openings to be around 500 feet. However, we feel to be on the safe side the settings should be at 157 inches. This conservative setting will assure prompt reserve openings in the 300 to 400 foot range.
If your canopy is configured with both loops at the brake eye large enough to insert the toggle locking nose, you must make sure that the riser mounted locking loop in inserted through the top eye. Inserting it through the bottom eye is not structurally sound and will tear out. (See Sketch)