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What is an FAA Rigger?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The world of civilian parachuting can be a bit mysterious. You know the usual: there are parachutes, planes, and people with the uncanny desire to toss themselves voluntarily from those aforementioned planes, to travel through the air, and, then, go back up to do it all again. Perhaps, you don’t know much more than that, but you’d certainly like to learn. If you’re thinking about making a tandem skydive or pursuing a skydiving license, you’re bound to have a few questions. We’re guessing one of the many inquiries buzzing around your brain might be related to the main parachute, the reserve parachute, and the people responsible for their upkeep.

So rather than leaving things shrouded in an air of intrigue, we aim to part the curtain and fill you in on a few things. 

What Is an FAA Rigger?

The Federal Aviation Administration is a governmental body that regulates civil aviation. An FAA rigger is someone who has received training and subsequent certification to service, maintain, and repair parachutes and parachuting equipment. 

While the reserve parachute may only be packed by an FAA Certified Rigger, the main parachute of a dual parachute assembly can be packed by an FAA rigger, a non-certified person under the direct supervision of a rigger, or the person who intends to use the parachute on the next jump.

How to Become an FAA Rigger?

There are two distinct rigger certifications in the United States: Senior Rigger and Master Rigger. A Senior Rigger is the entry version of a certified parachute rigger. To receive this designation, a Senior Rigger must perform several tasks. The Senior Rigger must complete a minimum of 20 reserve parachute repacks on either a square or round reserve parachute while under the supervision of a Master Rigger. In addition to practical application, the candidate must satisfactorily complete a written and oral test. And finally, to receive the designation of Senior Rigger, an individual must also demonstrate the ability to conduct proper maintenance and repair to parachutes and parachuting equipment. 

In order to become a Master Parachute rigger, the Senior rigger must accrue three years of experience, complete a total of 200 reserve pack jobs, and is required to take an oral and practical test. 

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What Does an FAA Rigger Do?


According to the Parachute Rigger Senior/Master Certification Guide issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, an individual who is certified as a Senior Parachute Rigger may pack and maintain the type of parachute for which s/he is rated. 

The Master Parachute Rigger can pack, maintain, and/or alter the type of parachute s/he is rated for and may also supervise other individuals as they pack, maintain, or alter the type of parachute which s/he is rated for.

FAA Parachute Riggers are a staple at any dropzone. This is because each and every reserve parachute used in skydiving operations must be inspected and repacked every 180 days. This is known as a repack cycle. 

ParaLoft at Skydive Orange

At Skydive Orange, we have a full-service parachute rigging loft with several Senior and Master riggers to help take care of our jumper’s reserve parachute packing needs. On-site rigging is an amenity that just can’t be beat. Our customers can skydive confidently knowing a host of able-minded, certified FAA riggers call our rigging loft home. 

Interested in seeing it all first-hand? Stop by Skydive Orange to see FAA Parachute riggers at work!

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Stephanie Ann

The customer service was amazing and the people were outgoing and fun and made it a great time before, during and after the jump!

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

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