TANDEM - General Items

(these are generic to all Tandem systems)


In Brief

In Detail

GENERAL - In Brief

The following general items relating to Tandem equipment have been approved by the BPA:

DateBrief Description
Mar 94

Log card/record of descent must be kept.
Mar 94

Changes to manufacturer's specs must be approved by BPA.
May 94

Black Teflon cables cannot be used on Tandem equipment.
May 94

UK Velcro, spandex & tubular nylon of same rated specs. can be used.
Jun 94

All modifications on Tandems must be brought to Rigging Committee.
Jun 97

Pro packing of Tandem reserves is not authorised.
Jul 97

Tandem mod clearance must be on Agenda to be discussed as a main item at Riggers meetings.
Dec 99

Any Tandem Main into any Tandem Container IMPORTANT See full wording in Part 2 - Tandem - General section.
Feb 01

PLEASE NOTE: At this meeting, major changes to what is cleared for who, how to clear items etc, was decided. Some previously recorded clearances have been removed. READ THIS WHOLE SECTION, TO BE FOUND IN PART 2-TANDEM-GENERAL.
Oct 01

Owners of all Tandem equipment must keep a Log Card/record of all descents, which must be available for the six monthly inspections and repack.
Oct 04

Material tags (as per drawings supplied) to be used on all Tandem student harnesses.
Feb 05

Correction of above as reported in original minutes (Oct 04) and proper clearance authority.
Sep 06

Discussion of Pro-Packing Tandem reserves (also see Mar 07 linked to this subject)
Feb 15

Information about Tandem Reserves, their Markings and their approved Containers
Jul 15

BPA approval of Manufacturer approved soft links on Tandem Main canopies
Feb 16

Colour of Tandem Cutaway and Reserve Handles


In Detail

STC 17th Mar 94


    1. That all Tandem equipment regardless if it is Club Equipment or personal equipment should have a log card/record of descents. A manifest is not regarded as a record of descents for a piece of equipment.

      It was proposed by Tye Boughen and seconded by Trevor Dobson that the above recommendation be accepted.

      Carried Unanimously

      This proposal has also been included in the Operations Manual.

    2. Changes to manufacturer's specifications on Tandem Equipment must be approved by the BPA (via Riggers Committee and STC).

      It was proposed by Jane Buckle and seconded by Andy Guest that the above recommendation be accepted.

      Carried Unanimously

      The above is also included in the new Operations Manual.


    (para.7) STC were asked what were the correct procedures for getting Tandem equipment accepted. It was stated that equipment should be presented to Riggers Committee and STC, although a report from an Advanced Rigger may be useful.


    (Last para) It was unanimously agreed by the Committee that any Tandem Equipment in current use may continue to be used if alterations to Manufacturers specifications have been made until the next Riggers Committee Meeting when that equipment will need to be accepted. This does not apply to black plastic coated ripcords, which cannot be used as drogue release ripcords.


RIGGERS 5th May 94


    John Curtis advised the Committee that he had come across a set of Tandem equipment, which was fitted with a black plastic coated ripcord, which had been banned. He wished it clarified that black teflon cables on Tandem kit cannot be used.
  1. A.O.B.

    1. Richard Atherton presented 2 Tandem Vector containers which he had modified and requested permission for there continued use. It was agreed to break down his proposal into 2 parts.

      Part 1: That all repairs carried out to any Tandem rig using English equivalent materials to be accepted, ie;

      1. English velcro as opposed to USA velcro
      2. English spandex as opposed to USA spandex
      3. English tubular nylon as opposed to USA tubular nylon, on condition it is rated to the same specification.
      Carried Unanimously

      Part 2: This is not applicable, see original minutes


RIGGERS 23rd Jun 94

  1. A.O.B.

    1. (Last para) The Chairman wished to re-iterate via the Minutes that all modifications on Tandem equipment must be brought to the Riggers Committee.

RIGGERS 19th Jun 97

  1. A.O.B.

    1. Ref. BPA form 169, item 5.7, Packing lessons and practice.

      Notes; This is the end of the trail as the method of Pro Packing reserves can be included in the examiners lesson plans and as advanced packers are allowed to pack according to the training given during the course, all advanced packers are allowed to Pro Pack reserves even when the manufacturer has not included this method in the manuals.

      It should also be noted that the reason some of the manuals do not include Pro Packing reserves is that it is a costly business re-writing the manuals every time they change their system, even if they Pro Pack in the factory and verbally tell riggers that pro packing is best.

      It is important to note that Tandem equipment is not taught on the advanced packers course and the above (Pro Packing) does not apply to Tandem equipment.


RIGGERS 31st Jul 97

  1. A.O.B.

    1. Nick Johnston gave the meeting details of his request that the Flight Concept 425 Tandem Canopy be cleared for use at BPA clubs and centres. He informed the meeting that he had carried out 25 trial jumps on the canopy, including a number of bag jumps and some with experienced jumpers.

      It was pointed out to Nick that he should have requested permission from the Committee before carrying out any ‘live’ jumps, as per Operations Manual requirements.

      The Committee were not very impressed with the way in which this proposal had been presented and felt it should have contained more detailed information. They felt that where Tandem equipment is concerned it should not come up for discussion under A.O.B., but that we should have as much information as possible from as many people as possible. The Committee therefore agreed that as a general principal for the future, any item concerning Tandem equipment must go out with the Agenda prior to it being discussed as a main item.


RIGGERS 2nd Dec 99 & STC 10 Feb 00 (Safety Information 1/00)

At the Safety & Training Committee (STC) meeting of the 10th February 2000 (and Rigger's Committee meeting of the 2nd December 1999) it was agreed that: Any Tandem main canopy from a recognized manufacturer, may be used in any BPA accepted Tandem container provided that it is compatible and deemed to fit by a Parachute Rigger (PR) or higher. The following applies:
  1. No modifications are permitted (apart from minor rigging work to match the brake line to the toggle area) without approval from the Riggers Committee.
  2. A main canopy is deemed to consist of connector links, lines and canopy material.
  3. The rigger concerned must produce written documentation to the owner of the Tandem stating that the new set-up is compatible.
  4. This approval becomes the BPA authority for the change and must be produced on demand by the owner of the Tandem rig.

RIGGERS 15th Feb 01


A discussion paper concerning Tandem modifications from Bill Sharp had been previously circulated with the Agenda.

Mr Sharp had written his paper because of his concerns following an item discussed at the last meeting with regard to a Tandem clearance request, which had been dealt with under A.O.B.

The Committee then went on to discuss previous Tandem Modifications:-

In the past, most of the BPA Approved Tandem Modifications were either cleared for individuals or specific Clubs and Centres. The Rigging Committee agreed that many of these previous clearances could be made available for use by all, once the Rigging Committee had specifically looked at each modification in turn. To this end the following was proposed;

That any Tandem system owner could now incorporate ‘cleared for all’ Tandem modifications into/onto their system, without further approval from the Rigging Committee subject to the following conditions being met:

An appropriately rated rigger, (suitably qualified to approve the specific modification) must inspect and issue paperwork to the rig owner, stating that the previously cleared modification, is the same as the original clearance, is safe to use and is compatible with the ‘new’ system.

The exact particulars of the original clearance still stand. (If the original clearance was for a Vector 360 reserve into a Tandem Next container, then anyone with the appropriate paperwork can put a Vector 360 reserve into a Tandem Next container. There is no authority for putting the reserve into any other container unless previously cleared.)

Proposed by: Bill SharpSeconded by: Dave Prince


The ‘in brief’ list of all Approved Tandem Modifications was sent out with the Feb 2001 Agenda. Listed below in brief, and in date order, is the result of whether the Rigging Committee cleared or did not clear a particular modification for general use. (Subject to the above conditions of appropriate paperwork etc being met)


DateBrief Description
May 94

Protective pads sewn on to the Tandem Strong container at the side of passenger attachment points to prevent damage. (Cleared for all)
May 94

Change made to Tandem Strong drogue release riser as per drawing supplied. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Jun 94

The use of a Tandem Galaxy drogue and deployment bag on a Tandem Vector container with the modifications as presented. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Jun 94

Material tags added to the passenger anchor points of a Tandem Vector passenger harness. (Cleared for all)
Aug 94

To use a RSL changed to 1 pin system, change main closure from cable to pin on the Tandem Galaxy. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
May 95

Approval for Tandem Elite.

Approval for Tandem Aircare. (Also see Riggers minutes, Oct 98)
Feb 96

Approval for Tandem Atom. (Also see Riggers minutes, Dec 96)
Aug 96

Use a Tandem Strong passenger harness with a Tandem Galaxy container with changes as presented. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Jul 97

For Red Devils to use yellow reserve handle on their Tandem Vector. (Cleared for all but only if jumpsuit/cutaway handle blend in colour)
Sep 97

Clearance of the Tandem Ultra Next system.
Sep 97

3 x Clearances specifically for Andy Parkin's Tandem Vector. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Jun 98

To use double Teflon cable to replace Tandem Vector curved pin. (Cleared for all)
Jun 98

Approval for 'Wings Unlimited' canopies to be used in Tandem Next systems. (Cleared for all)
Aug 98

Tandem Vector Student harness for use with Tandem Atom. (Cleared for all)
Oct 98

Approval of Tandem Atom for use with chest mounted secondary drogue release handle. (Cleared for all)
Feb 99

To use a PD360 reserve in a Tandem Atom. (Cleared for all)
Apr 99

To use a Paratec Next drogue assembly with a Tandem Vector Container system. (Cleared for all)
Jun 99

Strong Tandem system with the drogue release position as per Tandem Vector system. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Oct 99

Tandem Vector Drogue into a Tandem Next system. (Cleared for all)
Oct 99

Tandem Vector type looped cutaway handle to accept a Next drogue release cable. (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Dec 99

Any Tandem Main into any Tandem Container IMPORTANT See full wording in Part 2 - Tandem - General section.
Sep 00

To fit Paratec handle to Tandem Vector. (only for Dave Ballard's and APA's Tandem Vector systems) (NOT CLEARED for general use)
Dec 00

To use a Vector 360 Tandem Reserve in a Paratec Tandem Next system. (Cleared for all)

General Clarification

  1. Not all previously cleared Tandem modifications have been cleared for general use.
  2. All previous approvals for Tandem Main canopies into particular Tandem Container systems have been removed from the above Approved Tandem Modification list. The authority for this is as per BPA Safety Information Bulletin 1/2000.
  3. Previously approved Tandem Modifications marked with ‘Cleared for all’ are now approved for use by all, subject to having the stated paperwork from an appropriately rated rigger. (Authority is the minutes of the Rigging Committee meeting Feb 2001)
  4. Previously approved Tandem modifications marked ‘NOT CLEARED for general use’ are still only to be used by the person or organisation stated in the original clearance. It was thought that the items that were not cleared required better information than was readily available at present, in order to open up that particular modification for all tandem users. These items can still be cleared again in the future through the Rigging Committee.
  5. Individuals/Centres etc who got the original clearance for the modifications from the Rigging Committee do not require the modification approval paperwork, as their particular authority is the relevant Rigging Committee minutes of that meeting. It would assist matters however, if these individuals could comply with the above paperwork in order to move towards one system.


Recently a Tandem Modification request was dealt with in a way that caused a lot of confusion. To stop this from happening in the future, it was agreed that the following points, most of which have been agreed in past Rigging Committee meetings, are to be adhered to when requesting clearances for Tandem Modifications.
  1. Tandem Modifications will only be dealt with by the Rigging Committee if they are previously notified as an Agenda item. (This is to allow full investigation and research etc to be done, by all concerned prior to the meeting)
  2. An official ‘Tandem Modification Application’ form is in the process of being made and hopefully this will be cleared at the next Rigging Committee Meeting. When it is properly available, all future Tandem Modification Applications are to use this form. The form will indicate the details required, and will have sufficient space available so that the modification can be properly explained and documented. This will allow that particular modification can be opened up to all tandem users without further recourse to the Rigging Committee.
  3. Whenever possible, the applicant should try to bring the ‘modified system’ to the particular Rigging Committee meeting concerned. The item will not be formally inspected at the table, (this will already have been done) but it could be helpful with your request so as the riggers around the table, who are voting to clear your application, fully understand your modification.
  4. If the Rigging Committee require further information or a further inspection/test jump etc, then the formal modification clearance does not come into effect until the requested further info etc is formally reported back to the Rigging Committee. Please do your homework.
The Committee thanked Bill Sharp for the work that he had put into this item.


STC 11th Oct 01


    1. This first proposal had been put forward because riggers had often found it difficult to discover how many descents some Tandem equipment had made, when they receive the equipment for inspection and packing:

      SECTION 6 (EQUIPMENT), Paragraph 2.3 (Tandem), proposed new sub -para 2.3.3 to read:

      2.3.3 The owner of all Tandem equipment must keep a Log Card/record of all descents, which must be available for the six monthly inspections and repack.

      It was proposed by Paul Applegate and seconded by Pete Sizer that the above-proposed change to the BPA Operations Manual be accepted.

      Carried Unanimously


RIGGERS 7th Oct 04


    The below (in small italics) was wrongly minuted as the supposed discussion etc of Pete's above proposal. The proper correction etc is printed as it appeared in the 24th Feb 05 Riggers minutes

    A proposal from Pete Sizer had been circulated with the Agenda requesting a change to the specification for BPA Minor Mods 1 & 2, for the use of AML 16720 double gate snaps as an alternative to previously listed snap hooks.

    It was proposed by Pete Sizer and seconded by Bernadette Whitaker that the above request be accepted.

    Carried Unanimously (but see below)


RIGGERS 24th Feb 05


    At the Riggers Committee Meeting of 7 October 2004, the Committee unanimously accepted Pete Sizer's proposal with regard to a Student Tandem Equipment Modification involving the fitting of release tabs on side-tie buckles to Tandem Student harnesses, as per the drawings previously circulated.

    The Minute referring to this item actually related to another proposal from Pete Sizer (not previously circulated) requesting a change to the specification for BPA Minor Mods I & 2, for the use of AML 16720 double gate snaps as an alternative to previously listed snap hooks. This request was not discussed or voted on at the meeting and would therefore need to be considered at this meeting.

    Following some discussion on this item, it was agreed by Pete Sizer that he would withdraw his proposal at this time.

    In a letter circulated from Bill Sharp. Bill had commented on the importance of reading the Minutes properly for absolute clarity, particularly the person who originally proposed the item.


RIGGERS 28th Sep 06


    At the previous meeting, some concern had been raised from those present because a candidate attending an Advanced Packers Tandem Upgrade Course had been introduced to the flat and pro packing of Tandem reserves, even though the pro packing of Tandem reserves was not permitted in the UK, unless the Tandem reserve manufacturer states in their manual, that pro-packing is permitted.

    This topic had generated some discussion and the Committee felt that the subject of pro-packing Tandem reserves needed re-addressing. A good deal of discussion ensued on this issue. It was generally felt by those present that as the subject of pro-packing is being taught on Advanced Packing Courses and some manufactures state that pro-packing is permitted, then the BPA should permit the pro-packing of Tandem reserves.

    Following further discussion, it was proposed by Pete Sizer and seconded by Ray Armstrong that Tandem reserves can be packed as per the manufacturers instructions.

    Carried Unanimously .......(but also see Riggers 29th Mar 07 below)


RIGGERS 29th Mar 07


The Chairman of STC advised those present that Bill Sharp also had asked the Committee for a number of clarifications from previous meetings: Bill Sharp's second issue concerned an item from the Riggers Committee Meeting Minutes of 28 September 2006. This item concerned Item 6 of the meeting: ‘To discuss the packing method of Tandem reserves’. The second and third paragraphs of this item as reported in the Minutes stated:

“A good deal of discussion ensued on this issue. It was generally felt by those present that as the subject of pro-packing is being taught on Advanced Packing Courses and some manufactures state that pro-packing is permitted, then the BPA should permit the pro-packing of Tandem reserves.

Following further discussion, it was proposed by Pete Sizer and seconded by Ray Armstrong that Tandem reserves can be packed as per the manufacturers instruction.”

This proposal had been carried Unanimously.

The clarification Bill had requested for the website was, what exactly was meant by part of the last paragraph ‘as per the manufacturers instructions’.

Bill stated that he believed this should mean that the Tandem reserve has to be packed as per the manufacturer's instructions as shown in their manual, (according to SI 1/05, Packing Manuals).

Bill was concerned that the wording in the Minutes was a little vague as to what exactly a manufacturer's instruction could be. He asked if an unsubstantiated phone call or unsubstantiated face-to-face conversation with the owner or an employee of the company, constituted a manufacturer's instruction, thereby supposedly giving a reserve packer their ‘authority’ to Pro-Pack?

Following some discussion on this matter, it was proposed by Phill Elston and seconded by Rick Boardman that the wording relating the packing of Tandem reserves, be amended to read: “Tandem reserves can be packed as per the manufacturers written instructions”.

Carried Unanimously

The Chairman of STC advised those present that Bill Sharp had also asked for clarification with regard to the pro-packing of Tandem reserves. Bill had asked that if pro-packing was not stipulated in the particular Tandem Reserve manual, could Tandem reserves still be pro-packed.

Following some discussion on this matter, the Committee agreed that unless the manufacturer stipulated in their particular Tandem Reserve Manual that Tandem reserves can be pro-packed, then the pro-packing of Tandem reserves was not permitted.


RIGGERS 05th Feb 15


A draft document produced by Chris Gilmore and aimed at newly qualified Tandem packers has been circulated with the Agenda. The document had listed identifying markings, words and numbers for Tandem reserves, plus a draft list of which Tandem reserves can be fitted in specific Tandem containers. The idea was to issue the document as a BPA Form.

Chris Gilmore had stated that some of the Tandem systems had been accepted for use without specific Tandem reserve canopies being identified, which he believed may lead to confusion for newly qualified Tandem packers. In addition, some Tandem systems appeared open to all Tandem canopies and others appear more restrictive. Further, some manufacturers have changed the words and numbers that mark Tandem canopies over the years and others have introduced new tandem reserve canopies.

The Committee also noted the following correspondence relating to this item, which had been tabled for information:

: An e-mail from Nicky Johnson stating that he was happy for any suitably sized main and reserves to be fitted to Aircare Tandem containers.

: An e-mail from Bill Sharp

Following discussion, it was agreed by those present to issue Chris Gilmoreā€™s list as a BPA Form, which would be available to download from the BPA website. A copy of the form would also be circulated to AP(T)s for information.

During further discussion on this item, some members present commented on the difficulty of searching for Rigging related forms on the BPA website. The Committee wondered whether there was merit in re-numbering the forms, so that any Rigging related documents could be kept in one group for easy reference.

The COO pointed out that it would be too onerous a task to start re-numbering all BPA forms, and pointed out that there was already a BPA Form (Form 238) where all BPA Rigging related forms were listed. He stated that the new form for Tandem reserves & markings would be added to this list, as well as a reference made to it on the BPA list of approved Tandem modifications.


RIGGERS 30th Jul 15


A paper by the BPA Safety & Technical Officer (STO) has been circulated with the Agenda concerning the use of soft links on Tandem and Student equipment.

Also tabled was correspondence from Bill Sharp with his comments on this issue for consideration.

The STO stated that at present there was nothing written down to clarify the use of soft links on Tandem or Student equipment and he would like some clarification from the Subcommittee. Discussion took place amongst those present and proceeded to discuss the different aspects starting with the use of soft links on reserves. It was highlighted that the Subcommittee could only work with what was written down in the Rigging Technical Manual and therefore realised that that the current procedures / rules written down in the Rigging Technical Manual regarding the use of rigging line connector links / soft links was in need of an update to fall in line with the newer equipment on the market. Pete Sizer agreed to look in to the areas concerning the use of soft links and bring these up to date.

Further consideration was given to the use of soft links on Student reserves and the Subcommittee agreed that this was acceptable providing these were approved by the canopy manufacturer. The subcommittee agreed that the use of soft links on Tandem reserves would not be accepted and if anyone knew of any Tandem reserves that came with soft links to please make them aware of this. You can email Pete Sizer on

It was also highlighted that any Student equipment that was to be cleared by the Riggers Subcommittee should include all component parts including soft links.

Further discussion took place to consider the use of soft links on Tandem main canopies and those present were asked if they had any objections to the use of soft links on Tandem main canopies. Those present saw no objections providing these were recognised by the canopy manufacturer. It was therefore proposed by Paul Stockwell and seconded by Noel Purcell that the Subcommittee accept the use of Tandem main connector links (soft or metal) providing they are acceptable to the canopy manufacturer.

Carried Unanimously


RIGGERS 04th Feb 16

3. CORRESPONDENCE FROM BILL SHARP (Colour of Tandem Cutaway and Reserve Handles)

Correspondence from Bill Sharp had been circulated with the Agenda. Bill had reported that the Tandem Mods website was finally up and running. He had stated that it had a slightly different look to it, but was basically the same as the old site and was fully available on the website and was up to date until the previous Riggers Subcommittee Meeting on 19 November 2015. Bill Sharp had asked to be notified if any problems were found with any of the links not working on the site.

Bill Sharp had also stated that whilst he was going through the various updates, he had noticed an item concerning an equipment change proposal that required clarification. This was from the Riggers Subcommittee meeting of 5 Feb 2015 (Item 7, para 4) refers.

The original proposal was for a RW Tandem Vector to be allowed to have a yellow coloured reserve handle and that it be cleared for all. The proposal had been accepted by the Committee.

Bill Sharp had stated that during discussion on this particular item, the Committee had felt that they did not foresee an issue of just changing the colour of a reserve or cutaway handle, as long as it was a recognised handle and that it still carried the manufacturers mark in the event of a paper trail. Providing this was applied, they could see no reason why similar individual requests involving colour changes to reserve and cutaway handles needed to be brought to the table in the future for acceptance. Bill Sharp had stated that in his opinion he considered this statement a bit ambiguous as no formal vote had taken place at the time, which he believed was now required for clarity.

Following consideration, it was the opinion of those present that they could still not foresee a problem with the colour combination of a reserve and cutaway handle, so long as the basic procedures as discussed previously were applied. Riggers present felt that this was more of an operational matter than a rigging issue, which they believed was down to the judgment of individual Chief Instructors.

It was therefore proposed by Rick Boardman and seconded by Paul Stockwell that individual requests involving colour changes to reserve and cutaway handles need not be brought to the table in the future for acceptance as long as it is a recognised handle and that it still carried the manufacturers mark.

Carried Unanimously