By Paul Voight
I did a reserve repack for a pilot a couple days ago. The pilot had flown over 10 years without repacking. Before every repack either the customer or I pull the reserve via the handle to see how hard the Velcro has seated. I'm always curious. I always learn stuff.
In this the grommets that accommodate the little bungees that retain the curved pins on the reserve handle were a tad smaller diameter than most. Just a tad.
The little bungees had turned hard as a rock. No matter how hard I pulled the handle, the rock hard hoops in the bungees would not pass through the grommets, so the reserve was trapped, even though the curved pins had been released. I had to cheat and use my hands to pull up on the container flap hard to defeat the bungees. Maybe an adrenaline amped pilot might have affected a deployment, but I'm skeptical.
I'm adding bungee hardness awareness to my list of things to keep an eye on for my customers and there's another reason for more frequent repacks and perhaps bungee replacement every so often.