Relining canopies is a major part of the rigging world these days. Canopies tend to last at least a few thousand jumps where lines tend to either become too worn or internally damaged after around 500 jumps.
Spectra 1000 or Microline suspension lines shrink due to the heat being exerted on them. Therefore an easy way to check if the line shrinkage is excessive is to measure the outside A line against the trim chart for the canopy. These are generally available from the manufacturer on the Internet. Often after 400 to 500 jumps you may find that the A5 line has shrunk, possibly as much as 100 - 125 mm, or 4” - 5”. This can have a massive impact on the canopy’s flight characteristics. After a reline often people say their old canopy flies like a new one.
Vectran lines on the other hand don’t shrink sufficiently to be noticeable. On the other hand they do experience wear that renders them substantially weaker. Therefore the feeling is to replace Vectran lines at 500 jumps, even though the canopy will still feel like it is flying well. Failure to do so may have a line snap on opening.
Due to the wear they experience it is often prudent to replace steering lines below the cascades every 250 jumps. This is because they experience a lot of operational control wear in flight as well as during the opening.
Will I, won’t I? While you are thinking about the value of whether or not you should replace steering lines, just consider the effect of a steering line breaking while you are swooping, at worst, or in deep brakes a few feet off the ground.
What next if I need a new line set
If you would like a canopy relined, please contact me. I have some line details for some canopies. We can discuss options and various sources of line sets.