Two paraglider pilots have sent their reserves to the DHV for examination. While being re-packed it was noted, that the outside of the inner-container was covered with a thin layer of a sticky substance. In one case, the reserve was stuck so tightly, that a deployment was only possible after physically peeling the outer-container from the inner-container. It is most probable, that an emergency deployment in flight would not have been possible.
Both reserves had not been re-packed at the scheduled intervals recommended by the manufacturer (one 10 months, the other 26 months).
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The manufacturer of the material used for the inner-container explained the chemical process believed to be responsible for this behaviour: should the outer-container be made from a fabrik with a polyester coating, a migration of the softening components may occur, resulting in a partial dissolution and more or less sticky substance.
The two cases investigated involved reserves from Finsterwalder/Charly. Due to the large variety of reserves and harnesses, and the resulting combinations of inner- and outer-containers, it is probable that reserves from other manufacturers will also be affected.
Due to this, the DHV issued the following airworthiness directive:
At every scheduled re-pack of a hang- or paraglider reserve canopy, the inner- and outer-containers are to be checked for the presence of a sticky substance. Should such a substance be determined, even in small amounts, then the manufacturer(s) of the inner- and outer-containers must be contacted and a replacement containers are to be used.
Reserve canopies suffering from sticky-degredation of their inner- and outer-containers do not meet airworthiness requirements, and are not to be used for flights more than 50 meters above ground level.
DHV Saftey Manager