Classic Aero-TV: Falling for Para-Phernalia’s Softie Emergency Parachutes | Aero-News Network
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Classic Aero-TV: Falling for Para-Phernalia’s Softie Emergency Parachutes

From 2023 (YouTube Version): The Best Option for Pilots’ Worst Days

Since its 1979 founding, Para-Phernalia, Inc. has designed and manufactured the Softie line of pilot emergency parachutes. The products are renowned among aerobatic, glider, and warbird pilots, formation fliers, and kit-plane builders for their high-quality, comfort, and perennial reliability.

Emergency parachutes comprise two primary components: the parachute canopy and the harness and container system. The harness attaches a parachute’s canopy to its wearer. The container system retains the packed parachute canopy. Finally, the parachute harness and container—known collectively as the harness-and-container system—are sewn together to form a single unit. It is not uncommon for a parachute’s canopy and harness-and-container system to be produced by different manufacturers.

Additional components integral to a parachute’s harness-and-container system are the pilot chute, a small auxiliary parachute used to deploy the main or reserve parachute; steering toggles, reinforced loops of line by which a parachute is steered; and the closing loop, a curved stainless-steel assembly that secures the main container of a skydiving rig, thereby precluding premature deployment of the parachute during free-fall.

Of salient importance is the stone-cold fact that parachute systems have weight, speed, and altitude limitations. Para-Phernalia produces Softie parachute systems with respective weight limitations of 180, 240, and 275-pounds.

A general rule of thumb amongst skydivers sets one-thousand-feet AGL as the absolute lowest altitude at which a parachute may be deployed and expected to open fully.

Para-Phernalia offers five models of its Softie emergency parachutes: the extremely small, lightweight and comfortable Mini Softie backpack parachute system designed for use in tightly-confined cockpit environments; the Micro Softie, a narrower and shorter iteration of the Mini Softie designed to fit persons of smaller stature; the Wedge Softie, a wedge-shaped variant of the company’s Mini and Micro Softies models designed to add lumbar and sacral support during high, positive-G maneuvers and ideal for use in aircraft with upright seating positions; the Long Softie, designed to conform to and maximize the comfort of the recumbent, contoured seating typical of contemporary high-performance gliders and aerobatic aircraft; and the Seat Softie, a seat-pack style parachute system designed for use in aircraft lacking space for back-pack style parachutes.

Softie emergency parachute models are offered with conventional or aerobatic harnesses—the latter featuring a unique crossover-style architecture that precludes the painful pressure-points occasioned by high-negative-G maneuvers.

Softie emergency parachute systems range in price from $3,135 to approximately $4,000 and, by way of fabric and trim colors, are available in black, charcoal, red, royal-blue, navy-blue, olive-drab, orange, gold, green, teal, tan, brown, silver, purple, burgundy, and assorted camouflage schemes.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

©2023 Aero-News Network, Inc., ALL Rights Reserved




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