Reserve Parachutes

It is always a good idea to fly with a reserve parachute.  Better to have one and never need it than need one and not have it!  

We are proud to offer the full line of APCO and SOL reserves as well as several mounting options.  Both brands have been around for many years and have many lives saved to their credit.  For the installation, you will need either a side mount reserve pocket or a lap mount reserve container.  You will also typically require a bridle and a set of mallions.  If you need any help with sizing or installtion onto the paramotor, please do not hesitate to contact us

When installing a reserve on your paramotor, there are two common locations to mount the reserve parachute, these are the side mount and lap mount.  The side mount uses a pocket installed on the side of the paramotor harness to hold the reserve.  This pocket is specifically made for this task and is not the same as the cargo pocket commonly installed on the harness from the factory.  The side mount is popular because it positions the reserve to the side of the pilot allowing for easier mobility.  The side mount is my personal preference and is a great choice for when the reserve can be permanently installed, rarely removed.


As the name suggests, the lap mount reserve is held between the swing arms over the pilots’ lap while flying.  The containers used for the lap mount often have an integrated “cockpit” where you can store instrumentation or even a candy bar for easy access in flight.  See SOL part number 4429 for a good example of a lap mount container with an integrated cockpit.  It should be noted that there is no problem mixing brands.  The APCO MayDay will work great in the SOL container.  Lap mounted reserves are much easier to remove and reinstall allowing one reserve to be easily swapped between paramotors.


Both styles of mounting will require a connection back to the paramotor harness or carabiners.  Most harnesses have a loop in the shoulder straps to secure your reserve and this is my preferred location to tie in.  If the cause of your reserve deployment was due to a failure of the paramotor, swings arms, or carabiners, this completely removes them from the equation.  A bridle is connected to the reserve and routed outside of the swing arms to the harness connection points.  Most harness manufacturers provide a way to help secure the bridle.  Mallions are the common choice to attach to the bridle to harness.  

If you plan on removing the reserve very often, the bride can be secured to the carabiners.  If you prefer to go this route it is worth considering the increased strength of stainless steel carabiners.  This is not my preferred solution, but does make sense in situations where gear is shared and reserves are often swapped out.

Reserves come in all shapes and sizes.  Keeping it simple, the three basic types would be rounds, squares, and steerables.  Round reserve parachutes are the most simple.  This translates into lower costs, and easier re-packing.  The round does have a few drawbacks though.  Compared to the other options, this is the least efficient resulting in larger sizes needed for the weight.  This directly translates into great pack volume.  The APCO MayDay series gets around this by offering light weight and super lightweight versions to help cut down the weight and volume.  


Compared to the rounds, square reserves are more efficient, requiring less area to support the load.  This means squares are generally lighter and less volume for any given load.  They also open quicker and are more stable on the descent.  These advantages don’t come for free though.  The square reserves are more complicated to make, resulting in higher costs and more complicated re-packs.


Finally the steerable reserves offer a very quick deployment time and the best decent rate of the three.   With the ability to steer, this is a great option when flying in areas where it is too risky to not have control during an emergency.  The steerable reserve does come with the disadvantage of complication.  This style is by far the most complicated to pack and often far more expensive than the simpler rounds and squares.


When selecting a reserve and container, be sure to take note of the pack volume to ensure it will fit!  


As always, we are happy to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us!


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