What Do We Do

Chances are, we do it. 

What is a parachute rigger anyway?

Parachute riggers are tested and certified by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to inspect, repair and maintain parachute equipment. This equipment includes but is not restricted to skydiving equipment. This can include air crew bailout and military parachutes. These include both round and ram air (commonly referred to as square even though they are rectangular or elliptical) parachutes. 

The skydiving industry uses almost exclusively ram air parachutes, but a few round reserves are still in use. The general aviation (GA) community still use mostly round or conical type parachutes for emergency bail out use. However, an increasing number of ram air type bail out parachutes are being used in the GA world. The military, for decades, used overwhelmingly round type parachutes. Now, the militaries specialized forces including SF, EOD, UDT, SAR and others have increasingly recognized the superiority of the ram air canopy.

Emergency parachutes, referred to as reserve parachutes in the skydiving world are certificated by the FAA under TSO C23. Skydiving "main" parachutes are not certificated in any way. Parachute riggers work on both types, mains and reserves. 

Additionally, besides just working on parachutes, riggers work on all the other equipment that is involved in  a parachute jump, whether it is a recreational skydive, a military training or operational jump, or an emergency bail out from an aircraft. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • harnesses
  • containers
  • jumpsuits
  • helmets
  • altimeters
  • automatic reserve activation devices

The work we do might range from just conducting a visual inspection and packing of a parachute, to conducting major repairs including patching and relining canopies, replacing components of containers and repairing or replacing harness webbing. 

Parachute riggers are rated on two levels. Sr. Riggers are allowed to inspect, maintain and pack parachutes of their type rating (back, seat or chest) and conduct minor repairs. Master Riggers are able to conduct major repairs (those that might affect airworthiness) and are authorized to make modifications and alterations to existing designs as long as done in accordance with manufacturers specifications.

© John H. Lyman LLC