Psycho Pack

Q:

 

What is a “psycho pack”?

A:
Zero-porosity canopies developed in the early ’90s forever changed the performance level of the modern, ram-air parachute. But zero-porosity technology also made (and still makes) for what can be a packing nightmare, especially when the canopy is brand new and extremely slippery. Want to see a grown man cry? Watch a new jumper try to pack a new, zero-porosity 260-square-foot canopy!

Developed by Precision Aerodynamics President George Galloway in the mid 1990s, the psycho pack is a method of main-canopy packing born out of frustration with the PRO-packing procedures that had become standard for skydivers around the globe. (Galloway reported on the packing method in the December 1995 issue of Parachutist.) In those days, jumpers commonly saw Precision’s factory rep, Beezy Shaw, demonstrating the new packing method at boogies all over the U.S.

Zero-porosity canopies will let air escape from only two places: the small holes the sewing machine needles make during construction of the canopy and the leading-edge inlets, where the air entered the canopy in the first place. Galloway was frustrated with the difficulties of getting the air out of canopies and bagging them in such a way that he could get consistent openings during research and development test drops. It made sense to him to create a packing method that would push all of the air out of the nose of the canopy.

So, Galloway would flake the canopy in the usual manner but then lay it on the ground upside down (with the leading-edge air inlets facing up), making it easy to force the air out of the canopy through the nose. He would make sure the slider was in the correct position and then fold the canopy in toward the center, compressing the air out of the nose at the same time. From that point, he’d roll the canopy from the top down toward the suspension lines, creating a tight pack job that easily slipped inside the main deployment bag. He found that this was a consistent packing method that provided soft, on-heading openings without having to struggle to get the air out of the canopy and the canopy into the main bag. Once he bagged the canopy, he flipped it back over to remove the half line-twist he had created when he turned the canopy onto its back. He then completed the rest of the pack job in the usual manner.

1. Place the canopy upside down. Fold each trailing edge toward the opposite side of the canopy.
2. Fold the canopy toward the center so it is close to the width of the deployment bag. Place the bridle for the main bag toward the side.
3. Roll the canopy from the top toward the suspension lines, keeping the main bag and bridle to the side of the canopy.
4. Pull the main bag around the rolled canopy with the closing flap facing up. Once you’ve bagged the canopy, flip it over to remove the half twist in the suspension lines, and close the bag as usual.

Precision Aerodynamics still uses this packing method for all of its main canopy pack jobs, including for cross-braced and tandem canopies. It also maintains a loyal following of jumpers who choose to use it as a packing method.

In a little piece of skydiving history, Galloway relayed the following story from 1997, when former President George H.W. Bush completed an AFF skydive in Yuma, Arizona: “I was one of three master riggers on the packing team for President George Bush’s Operation Second Look, along with Cliff Schmucker and Sandy Reid. The main canopy in the presidential rig was replaced at the last minute because the original canopy ended up being an absolute slammer, as some canopies just are. In the interest of minimizing the potential for giving him a slammer opening on the replacement main, the obvious solution was to psycho pack the President, which worked out very nicely, by the way. We did not refer to the pack job as the ‘psycho pack’ during the procedure because the Secret Service guys were crawling all around the loft and very much interested in what we were doing.”

So, whether you are frustrated with packing using the usual PRO-packing method or if you’re just interested in trying something different, you might just find that the psycho pack is not so psycho after all. It might be just what the doctor ordered to make your packing life easier.

Precision Aerodynamics offers instructions on how to pack using this method at precision.aero/packing.htm and a video on how to bag a canopy at precision.aero/packing/mvc-002v.mpg.

—Jim Crouch | D-16979
USPA Director of Safety & Training

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Chaz Leeuwenburg
Thu, 06/04/2015 - 13:54

I learned this technique after becoming frustrated trying to tame my new zero-P canopy and seeing it detailed in Parachutist. I never went back to a conventional pack job!

Chaz Leeuwenburg
D-21238

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