Aviation is in my blood.
I can remember being in the back seat of a glider when I was 7 years old. I was too light for the front seat. A few pounds and a few years later I soloed at 17.
In between those years I discovered the world of skydiving. This was back when the good guys jumped Para Commanders. Since I was too young to jump and I liked making stuff, I started making parachutes.
At high school I was given a project to design something useful and real. It therefore made sense that I should design a parachute. This later became the basis for numerous models in a wide range of sizes. Some of these were launched out the side of a Cessna or Super Cub at my fatherís gliding club. One full size version became a person carrying parasail. We also flew smaller 40 square feet versions like kites to ski across muddy ovals.
I also used one of the kiting versions as a release platform to drop other designs so as to observe and study opening sequences. This is when I learnt that if your rigger says that round parachutes open from the bottom up, you should find yourself a new, more knowledgeable rigger. Round parachutes open from the top down!
This was also about the time I started a relationship with Parachutes Australia where I was signed off to pack reserve parachutes for glider pilots. After finishing high school, Parachutes Australia was my first job out of school where I trained to be a rigger under Dave Smith who is the current APF President and who, at the time, was the first Director of Riggers for Australia. They were interesting and evolutionary times.
After leaving PA I became the club rigger at Meredith Parachute Club in Victoria and spent a lot of time patching round canopies that found fences and trees. I also developed various ideas to help sport jumpers, made systems and packed a lot of reserves.
Many years later, after getting my GA and Ultralight licences and building a plane I wanted to get back into jumping and later rigging, so I revalidated with Koppel Solomon of Mee Loft in Brisbane. A great lad and very thorough. On the other hand I also taught him a little about round canopies.
So, now I find myself, still paranoid about safety, the owner of a few sewing machines and wanting to make a difference in our sport. Repacks, canopy repairs, or a few spares in case you drop a handle or something wears out - give me a call. I can help you out.