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Main container closing loop length and when is it time for a new one?
Surely, as experienced jumpers we should know the length of our main closing loops? Of course we do… Really?!!
In reality many of us rely on our packers to take care of it and maintain our rigs for us. You are the one who jumps with your baby; you should know what your harness manufacture recommends for the main closing loop length and when it is time for a new one. You don’t want to push the barrier and get one more jump out of that closing loop. Otherwise you will be responsible for any consequences, which may cause injury to you and others.
You are the one who jumps with your baby, you should know what your harness manufacture recommends for the main closing loop length
As a packer and rigger, I will urge all you wonderful skydivers to take a close look at your main closing loop each time you check your pin before jumping, even when you are running between the jumps while team training. Your reliable packer might be tired or too busy to change the closing loop/correct the length of it or might not have any new ones to replace it, they may be pushing the limit and continue to pack until it breaks.
To be honest, you never know. You cannot be sure how much the friction will effect the closing loop, where you jump, weather conditions, did you use a pack boy or a pull up and what kind… so the best thing you can do is Look, Observe and Change when necessary! Just like you would check your reserve pin and inspect the closing loop. Right? ;-)
This article shows many images of closing loops that are screaming out for retirement.
But don’t take my word for it… Have a look at what some of the top harness manufacturers say about closing loop lengths on their containers:
UPT (Vector/Micron)requires when closing their rigs that grommets are not to line up (off-set) so closing loop length should be corrected as their manual. Their standard length for the closing loop is 1 5/8 inch (4.1cm) +/- 1/8 inch (3 mm)
Also, please note that routing the bridle out from the bottom right side of the container is an alternative way of closing Vector containers:
Sun Path requires their grommets to be lined on top of each other when closing their Javelins, Javelin Odysseys, etc. On the top flap of Sun Path rigs there is a Z-box stitching for you to use as a reference when adjusting your closing loop. The closing loop should be in the middle of that square stitching.
Infinity containers require grommets for the bottom, centre and right side flaps to be stacked on top of each other, with the edge of the left side flap just meeting up the edge of the right side flap. You can check it at the following page:
Mirage would like their bottom flap grommets within ½ inch of centre then side flaps. I am unable to direct you to a page where you can read this on their manual, as it is not noted. However, I’ve got something better than that for you guys. This is what Bob Necessary from Mirage has to say regarding their main container closing loop length:
“Mirage main closing loops are 1 ½ inches long from the washer to the end of the loop when they leave here. This is the length we recommend. This length should put the main container side flap and bottom flap grommets within ½ inch of center.
“We have recognized for some time that rigs are commonly purchased one size too small in anticipation of 'downsizing' the main parachute as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this means that a longer closing loop must be used 'in the mean time' to get the canopy into the main container. We have gotten rigs in for repair with 3-inch or even 4-inch closing loops installed.
“Since the main container is not part of the TSO ‘approved assembly’, the owner is free to experiment with whatever length closing loop he/she is brave enough to try.
”Whatever length is used, we recommend that only Type IIA suspension line be used for main container closing loops, and that closing loops be changed frequently.”
Aerodyne as a manufacturer also do not have a section highlighting the closing loop length on their manuals. But please note that Icon rigs still need to be closed in accordance. You do not want a long closing loop between the third and the fourth flap, where the pin can’t be secured as it should. However, you can give a little slack on the fourth flap to offset the other flaps, just like in the Vector.
William Legard, President and CEO of Aerodyne has the following comment regarding this:
“Aerodyne is another manufacturer that does not have a section in their manual indicating the length of the main closing loop. The main container is not part of the TSO ‘approved assembly’ so the main closure loop length is not a controlled item.
”Main canopy pack volumes vary significantly based on design, fabric, canopy age and wear, humidity, altitude and line type. These variances make it challenging to specify a set main closing loop length by container size.
”With that said, it is not very difficult to adjust the closure loop to an appropriate length for your combination of Icon size and main canopy choice. In a properly set up Icon, you should typically see a partial overlap of the grommets. It is not necessary that they be fully stacked, though this may be the case if the canopy pack volume is small for the container. Likewise, in a larger canopy, you could see up to an inch of closing loop between the grommets. Your canopy should fit securely into your container and the tension on the pin by the closing loop should not be excessive.“
Wings are just like other manufacturers that don’t have any written info regarding their closing loop lengths in the rig manual. However, as other manufacturers confirmed, it is not part of the rig that requires TSO. However, that does not mean you can go ahead and use any size of closing loop. We need to close the container so that the first 3 grommets are on top of each other, and the last one can be offset slightly.
I have been talking to Tony from Wings regarding this and he also has mentioned the external factors that affect the closing loop lengths & packing:
“When talking about closing loop lengths, there are many factors to consider. I've found that the answer to queriers on loop length, and nearly every other question, is that there is no answer that works for everyone.
”Using the fact that there are so many different jumpers who pack, and so many different experience levels, techniques, canopies, line sets, canopy age, containers, climates, nearly everything suggested about any subject doesn't work for everyone. What works for one, doesn't always work for the other.
I've found that the answer to loop length, and nearly every other question, is that there is no answer that works for everyone
”Even being right- or left-handed, and the container flaps closing left or right last, that can all make a difference of how easy a rig is to close if proper technique isn't used to close it with all of those variables. If you use the pull-up cord in your right hand, it can be harder to close a container with the right flap closing last than the left flap closing last, simply because of the direction of the pull-up cord and the way the flap grommet travels 'down' the cord and over the closing loop. Even that depends on if you are doing that from the bottom on the container, or from a side. Again, this is all part of technique, and knowing the direction to 'pull the loop through the grommets' for any given flap (or as some would say, to pull the flap over the closing loop).
”If an experienced packer can pack a couple of different canopies into a container, here in Florida at sea level while it's humid, that doesn't mean that a new packer can pack it also in the desert. If we give a closing loop length, someone will write and say that it is wrong. Do we tell them they are wrong? The answer is, No we don't. Both sides are correct using their own parameters.”