If, for whatever reason, your main canopy suffers a catastrophic malfunction, an irrecoverable collapse or a severe entanglement, an emergency reserve system is not a second chance to descend safely from height, it's pretty much your last chance to descend safely from height!
Most reserves are solid cloth (dome) parachutes, the suspension lines attach to the paraglider harness via an inverted “V” bridle connection secured behind the pilots shoulders. Variations include pulled apex reserves and steerable reserves. In general, treat and maintain your reserve parachute as you would your paragliding canopy.
Controlled via steering toggles similar to paraglider controls, a steerable canopy is usually a high performance round parachute with numerous cut outs and slots giving improved forward speed and stability. There are other steerable canopy types available, including delta shaped canopies reminiscent of Rogallo’s Parawing design and ram-air reserve parachutes (the later requires a cutaway of the main canopy however).
The reserve parachute and lines pack into a deployment bag in such a way as to promote a rapid and clean inflation when deployed. The deployment bag fits into the harness’s reserve pouch and is attached to the operating handle. The operating handle and deployment bag are physically detached from the harness and are discarded during the operation of the emergency reserve system. The reserve parachute connection should be adjusted so as to promote inflation under the main canopy (less risk of entanglement).
In Australia, the HGFA recommends that all paraglider pilots carry an emergency parachute, of a type specifically designed for paragliders, on any flight exceeding 300 ft agl. A reserve must also be carried onboard whilst participating in all HGFA recognised paraglider competitions.
Check the integrity of the reserve parachute, bridle connection, reserve deployment pins and operating handle during all pre flight inspections. In addition to your usual checks, the HGFA requires that your reserve system be regularly checked by a qualified authority, and that the reserve parachute be regularly repacked, the period in between repacking not exceeding six months.
Familiarise yourself with the workings of your emergency rescue system. Get familiar with the whereabouts of the operating handle and rehearse the sequence of deployment regularly.
Our team can help source the rescue system that's most suited for your needs whilst airborne at flyingfysh.com!