180-Day Repack Answers

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The new FAA rule implementing 180-day main and reserve repack intervals takes effect December 19, 2008. In consultation with the FAA and the Parachute Industry Association, USPA has developed answers to some obvious questions.


Q: Is there any change prior to December 19, 2008?
A: No, up until that date, the reserve and main must have been packed within the previous 120 days.

Q: What happens on December 19, 2008?
A: Beginning on that date, you can jump a rig in which the reserve and main have been packed within the previous 180 days.

Q: Even if my reserve pack job had previously expired?
A: Only to a point. Beginning December 19, count back 180 days—if the reserve was packed within those 180 days, it is legal to jump.

Q: What about my AAD?
A: Good question. FARs 105.43 and 105.45 hold the “person” (the skydiver and the tandem instructor) responsible for ensuring that an AAD, if installed, has been “maintained in accordance with manufacturer instructions.” You can only comply with that regulation if you know the maintenance schedule and service requirements of that AAD. Do you know when the battery must be replaced? Do you know when the AAD must be removed for factory service? Do you know when the service life ends? If you don’t, prudence requires you to ask your rigger or the manufacturer before you jump a rig beyond its originally intended 120 days.

Q: What if my AAD requires servicing before the end of the 180 days?
A: Our interpretation of the FARs is that when a manufacturer-recommended AAD maintenance/service interval comes due, even if before its 180 days expires, the rig should not be jumped until that maintenance/service is performed. That’s why it is imperative that future AAD service dates are recorded by the rigger, preferably on the packing data card, and known by the skydiver/rig owner.


Rig owners with specific questions about their rigs should consult with their riggers and/or the manufacturer of a specific component. Technical or rigger-related questions posed here will be forwarded to PIA or the component manufacturer, if USPA is not able to answer with certainty. PIA has also posted answers to FAQ on their website: http://www.pia.com/piapubs/PIA-180FAQ.pdf.

9 Responses to “180-Day Repack Answers”

  1. Joe Molwery Says:

    It seems that the SIM page on the website has some formating problems, it appears that the width of the advertisement may be the cause.

  2. james brinkman Says:

    This site answered my question. I just recently got my reserve repacked prior to the 19th in the beginning of December…I then heard about the new 180 day extension on repacks after getting me repack. I was pretty excited and then someone had said that it only applied to people that got it repacked after the rule change date. My question is: Do all of the dropzones know the rules? Im going to be pissed if they say I cant jump and need a rpack after clearly reading it here that I’m good to go.

  3. Ed Scott Says:

    Hi James. USPA has disseminated the new rule and the guidance to our Group Member DZs. But be aware that if your reserve’s packing data card doesn’t state when your AAD’s next battery change or factory servicing is due, you need to know and have your rigger record it.

  4. Danny Hupert Says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, I thought that using a AAD was an option. Is it now mandatory?
    And if it is an option, why can you not jump the rig if the AAD is out of date?
    But it’s still a very good idea to have the rigger put the AAd maintenance date on your packing data card

    • Lara Kjeldsen Says:

      AADs are required for tandems, but otherwise optional for skydivers unless required by the DZ. FAR 105.43(c) requires that, if installed, an AAD must be “maintained in accordance with manufacturer instructions…” That ultimately falls on the skydiver using the rig.

  5. petra knebel Says:

    Hello,
    is the 180 days rule also for canopies manufactured by companies not existing anymore, like the Firelite reserve canopy? Thank you.

  6. Jim Crouch Says:

    The FAA rule change to 180 days for the reserve repack cycle covers any of the canopies and containers that have received a Technical Standard Order (TSO) from the FAA. This includes any manufacturers who are no longer in business, but had received a TSO for a component in the past. The 180 day cycle does not apply to any canopies made from silk or other natural fibers.

  7. Joey Johnson Says:

    I am noticing that drop zones and riggers are now charging much higher repack prices due to the lengthening of the repack cycle. To me, this is reprehensible. It is sort of like a retail store having a 25% off sale but marking up their merchandise by 27% so that the customer still pays as much or more than the regular price. I don’t see the DZ’s and riggers losing much, if any, money due to the change, so I believe it is not a practice that should be followed. The change in repack cycle was about demonstrated safety, not an excuse to rob customers.

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