This article appeared in its original form on pussfoot.com, a website for extreme sports enthusiasts.
On containers using a throw-out deployment system, the elastic or nylon spandex (Spandura) bottom-of-container pilot-chute pouch—aka the BOC—is arguably one of the most important and visible components. (Not all containers use a throw-out system, but that’s a discussion for another day.) During routine gear checks, jumpers should check the elasticity of their pouches to ensure that they will hold their pilot chutes firmly yet allow them to extract easily.
To check the condition of your BOC, place your open palm on the pouch and firmly pull on the deployment handle attached to the pilot chute. The pilot chute should move freely and not get bunched or balled up in the pouch. The handle should sit snuggly at the opening of the pouch.
In the photos of the BOC that needs replacement, the main body of the BOC still shows a substantial amount of elasticity. However, there is significant wear around the top of the pouch. Because the pouch is stretched out near its mouth, the pilot chute fabric near the deployment handle can easily work its way out and catch air, causing significant risk of premature deployment. Premature deployments can be extremely hazardous to yourself and others during group jumps, and they can also be catastrophic to the aircraft when they occur during climb out.
To ensure that your pilot chute stays put until you decide to deploy it, frequently check the elasticity of the BOC pouch. If you have any concerns about its condition, consult your rigger. For additional protection against premature deployments, consult with a rigger to see if a freefly tuck tab (a tab that closes off the mouth of the BOC) is appropriate for your rig.
Shauna Finley | D-34907 and FAA Master Rigger
USPA Eastern Regional Director
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