The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires there to be a 2nd parachute in all skydiving equipment that has been certified and packed by a licensed FAA Parachute Rigger. Whether you are making your first tandem skydive or going on your 1000th skydive you are required to have two parachutes.
A skydiving container consists of two parachutes:
On your first skydive your instructor will deploy the main parachute at 5,000 ft. If there is a parachute malfunction with the main parachute a 'main cutaway handle' will be pulled followed by a 'reserve deployment handle'. Pulling a reserve handle initiates the deployment of the 2nd parachute; the reserve parachute.
Each tandem operating system has their own malfunction procedure. If you jump with us at Skydive Danielson (conveniently located close to Boston, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island), you will end up skydiving with either a Strong or a UPT parachute system.
Every 180 days all reserve parachutes needs to get inspected and repacked by a licensed FAA Parachute Rigger. If the reserve does not pass inspection it will be 'grounded' and no longer allowed to be used in skydiving equipment.
Fun Fact: Main parachutes take roughly 10-20 minutes to repack after being jumped. Reserve parachutes take 1-2 hours to be inspected and repacked!
Want to see an Inspection Manual for a reserve parachute?