While flying a paraglider or a paramotor, we usually carry a reserve parachute, for emergency situations.
While flying a paraglider or a paramotor, we usually carry a reserve parachute for
Paraglider reserve parachutes are very different from ones intended for skydiving. A paraglider one is designed to open as fast as possible to stop the pilot's fall, whereas a skydiving one is designed to open gradually to slow down the skydiver from a high-speed fall.
Its use, packing, and maintenance are different but it's your responsibility to make sure you are doing it (or are having it done by a professional) every six months.
A regular maintenance will affect the opening time and the performance of the parachute in the long run (according to manufacturers, a reserve parachute should serve its purpose for about ten years if the maintenance was done on a regular basis, i.e., at least, every six months to every year). It’s a good idea to practice a reserve extraction by hooking yourself up to a simulator before your season starts.
(You don't need to have the parachute fully extracted which would require a repack. What you can do is extract the reserve still in its bag and throw it in somebody's hands close to you while hooked to the simulator.)
The benefits of simulating an extraction are:
- Making sure you can move fluidly.
- Finding the reserve handle easily without looking.
- Confirming that the extraction requires little effort and is working properly.
- Having the opportunity to practice re-installing the reserve in the harness container.
-Closing the container pins correctly (it’s possible that when you arrive on launch, you find that one of your pins is out of its loop, so it's always good to know how to put it back properly).
- Installing the handle properly followed by a quick review of your pref-light check.
There are three main different styles at the moment
1) The round ones are more basic and simpler to use and repack. They come in "regular" or "light" versions. The lighter version is about half the size when packed (so it’s easier to put in the harness but most importantly to extract. They also weigh half as much as other ones so they’re more popular, especially with those who like to hike and fly.
2) The square ones are pretty much a recent evolution of the round ones which mean newer technology. The square shape results in a more stable reserve, faster opening, and better/slower sink rate.
3) Finally, the Rogallo style like the Beamer can be directional after opening. The main advantage is its ability to fly away from a dangerous obstacle like power lines while descending. While being directional is a great advantage, it also means there are more tasks to perform after opening it. It’s recommended to practice the reserve extraction during maneuver training over water to master its use.
Overall, you need to evaluate all aspects properly when you are ready to purchase your reserve. But it’s also imperative to understand that your reserve parachute requires a repack every six months to properly function when needed.