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Parachute Rigger Handbook
August 2015
Change 1 (December 2015)
U.S. Department of Transportation
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Flight Standards Service
ii
Preface
The Parachute Rigger Handbook introduces the basic skills necessary for acquiring a Parachute Rigger Certificate. It is
developed by the Flight Standards Service, Airman Testing Standards Branch, in cooperation with various aviation educators
and industry.
This handbook is primarily intended to assist individuals who are preparing for the parachute rigger airman knowledge
test and the oral and practical test. The material presented in this handbook is appropriate for senior and master parachute
riggers. The handbook contains information on regulations and human factors, design and construction, materials, operations,
inspection and packing, hand tools, sewing machines, the parachute loft, repairs, alterations, and manufacture.
This handbook conforms to training and certification concepts established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
There are different ways of teaching, as well as performing specific rigging procedures, and many variations in the
explanations of repairs, alterations, and manufacture of parachutes. The discussion and explanations reflect commonly
used practices and principles. This handbook provides a basic knowledge that can serve as a foundation on which to build
further knowledge. Occasionally the word “must” or similar language is used where the desired action is deemed critical.
The use of such language is not intended to add to, interpret, or relieve a duty imposed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR).
It is essential for persons using this handbook to also become familiar with and apply the pertinent parts of 14 CFR and
appropriate technical standards. Performance standards for demonstrating competence required for parachute riggers are
prescribed in the appropriate practical test standard.
This handbook is available for download, in PDF format, from www.faa.gov. The current Flight Standards Service airman
training and testing material and learning statements for all airman certificates and ratings can be obtained from www.faa.gov.
The FAA greatly acknowledges the valuable assistance provided by many individuals and organizations throughout the
aviation community whose expertise contributed to the preparation of this handbook. This handbook contains material and
pictures of various products often used by industry. It is presented here as a means of communicating information to be
used for training purposes only. The FAA neither endorses nor recommends any specific trademark item in this handbook.
This handbook is published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Airman Testing
Standards Branch, AFS-630, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125.
Comments regarding this publication should be sent, in email form, to the following address: [email protected]
/s/ John Barbagallo, for
John S. Duncan
Director, Flight Standards Service
iii
iv
Acknowledgments
The Parachute Rigger Handbook was produced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with the assistance of Safety
Research Corporation of America (SRCA). The FAA wishes to acknowledge the following contributors:
Parachute Labs, Inc., for images used in Chapters 1, 2, and 4
Ilse Ungeheuer, for images used in Chapters 3 and 5
Tim Taykalo, for images used in in Chapter 6
Tom Dolphin, for images and content used in Chapter 7 and the Appendix
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vi
Record of Changes
Change 1 (December 2015)
This is an updated version of FAA-H-8083-17A, Parachute Rigger Handbook, dated August 2015. This version contains
error corrections, revised graphics, and updated performance standards. All pages containing changes are marked with the
change number and change date in the page footer. The original pagination has been maintained so that the revised pages
may be replaced in lieu of repurchasing or reprinting the entire handbook. The changes made in this version are as follows:
• Updated Table of Contents page numbers (page ix).
• Replaced Figure 2-12 (page 2-8) with version from previous version of the handbook (FAA-H-8083-17, Figure 2-10).
• Revised the third sentence in the second paragraph in the left column of page 2-14: changed “3⁄8"” to “1⁄2".”
• Revised the caption for Figure 3-17 (page 3-7): changed “Tape” to “Webbing.”
• Revised the caption for Figure 3-18 (page 3-7): changed “Tape” to “Webbing.”
• Revised the last sentence in the first paragraph in the right column of page 7-2: changed “FAA-licensed” to “FAAcertificated.”
• Revised the third bullet under Square Canopy – Rib Repair in the right column of page 7-25: added “—mains and
reserves; FAA Senior Parachute Rigger—mains.”
• Revised Figure G at the bottom of page 7-82: removed “+2"” after “X = Required length.”
• Revised Appendix A Table of Contents (page A-1): revised titles of new documents and updated page numbers.
• Revised Appendix A: replaced PIA TS-100—Standardized Nomenclature for Ram-Air Parachutes with latest version
(pages A-3 – A-10).
• Revised Appendix A: replaced SAE AS 8015B—Minimum Performance Standards for Parachute Assemblies and
Components with Personnel PIA TS 135—Performance Standards for Personnel Parachute Assemblies and Components
(pages A-26 – A-43)
• Revised Appendix A: updated page numbering for all documents (pages A3 – A-65).
Change 1 (December 2015)
vii
viii
Table of Contents
Preface....................................................................iii
Acknowledgments...................................................v
Record of Changes................................................vii
Table of Contents...................................................ix
Chapter 1
Introduction to Parachute Rigging.....................1-1
Regulations and Human Factors.....................................1-1
Parachute Rigger Certificates..........................................1-2
Eligibility and Requirements . ....................................1-2
Earning a Parachute Rigger Certificate.......................1-2
Testing.....................................................................1-3
Alternate Means of Qualifying for a Parachute
Rigger Certificate . ..................................................1-3
Retesting..................................................................1-3
Responsibilities of a Certificated Parachute Rigger ......1-5
Facilities and Tools.....................................................1-5
Performance Standards . .............................................1-5
Currency Requirements . ............................................1-6
Record Keeping . ........................................................1-7
Sealing the Parachute..................................................1-8
Regulatory Compliance..................................................1-8
14 CFR part 1—Definitions........................................1-8
14 CFR part 21, subpart O—Technical Standard
Orders (TSO)...............................................................1-8
14 CFR part 39—Airworthiness Directives (ADs).....1-8
14 CFR part 91—General Operating and Flight