Parachute as your carry-on. What happens?

Let’s say I purchase a parachute while traveling. On my return trip I elect to treat the parachute as my carry-on; it’s within size/dimension limits.

Can I do it? Does TSA give me special treatment?

An effective parachute packed tightly enough to fit the size/dimension restrictions will be too heavy to pass any airline’s weight restriction for carryon luggage, I believe.

I should think it would be able to go on board as carry on if it meets weight and size standards. If it has a CYPRES automatic activation device make sure it is turned off, having the drogue chute deploy during descent would be a problem.

Parachutes are not on the published prohibited items list. So that’s the end of GQ answers. The rest is speculation.

As **Czarcasm **said, a typical parachute isn’t going to meet size or weight limits. TSA doesn’t specifically enforce those, but something way oversize will attract some extra scrutiny. A modern reserve chute *might *be small/light enough to be within the typical range of carry-ons; I’m not up on the latest gear.

If you stuck it in a simple duffel bag so it didn’t look like anything unusual, it’d still have a bunch of buckles & such on X-ray. My bet is unless the screener was very curious and very under-worked that day it’d go through fine. Lots of people fly to regional BDSM conventions with stuff that looks “interesting” on x-ray.

Now what exactly you intend to do with your parachute once on board is an interesting question. You might be able to get a door open from the inside while we’re at low altitude. But certainly not once we’re much above, ballpark 5000 feet.

Some googling led me here:

Traveling with Skydiving Gear within the United States
by the United States Parachute Associations
http://www.uspa.org/USPAMembers/Membership/Travel/WithintheUS/tabid/311/Default.aspx

The site that led me there said this:

More info on the original page here:
http://www.quora.com/Air-Travel-Safety/Are-you-allowed-to-carry-on-a-parachute-on-a-commercial-airplane

The CYPRES system depends on the rate of descent exceeding some preset threshold. If the plane is actually descending that fast, then bringing the parachute was a good idea.

Wow. Never thought to search. I thought it was a weird-ass hypothetical.

Yeah, but the threshold is around 2,500 feet per minute, and I think a lot of commercial aircraft can exceed that in descent. CYPRES uses altitude to arm the trigger at 1500 feet off the ground on ascent, then when the altitude reaches 750 feet on the way down if the rate of descent exceeds the limit deploys the reserve. It’s spring loaded, so no propellant, which is what the TSA would worry about anyway.

But it determines the rate of descent from air pressure, right? Airliner cabins are usually pressurized, so the apparent altitude wouldn’t change nearly as much as the actual.

Chronos is correct, the Cypres uses air pressure so it shouldn’t be a problem in a pressurized cabin. However, it’s very simple to turn the thing off so there’s no reason not to.

I’ve carried my packed parachute on board a commercial airliner without a problem in the past. I never had a Cypres installed so it wasn’t an issue.

The Cypres actually uses a small pyrotechnic charge to move a blade which cuts the closing loop on the reserve container, allowing a spring-loaded pilot chute to deploy the canopy.

But they only pressurize the cabin to what you would find at 8000 feet. Maybe a pilot knows better, but I’m guessing that you have a constant cabin pressure for all altitudes above 8000 feet, and a cabin pressure that matches ambient pressure at al altitudes below 8000 feet. So an active baro-sensing auto-deploy chute is going to be a concern.

I’d figure that since the cabin is only pressurized to around 8,000 feet or so it would definitely arm on the ascent. I don’t know how well the air pressure is controlled on the descent, a rapid increase in air pressure could trigger it, but for the purposes of the OP, not a problem for the TSA or the airline.

I carried my rig onboard commercial flights many times, I was never once asked any questions about it by security or anyone else.

I had a Cypres AAD but it was turned off (why would you walk around with it on in the first place?). The electronics never got a second glance (Cypres provided a card with an x-ray view of the device and an explanation of what it is and why it’s not a problem for commercial travel in case a security screener had any questions).

You can’t open the doors inflight anyhow; a parachute is about as much of a concern as a climbing harness.

TSA doesn’t catch a bunch of shit that’s on the prohibited list daily. What makes you think they are going to start questioning a big bundle of fabric with straps and buckles, that doesn’t look like anything they are supposed to be looking for?

Is the OP an actual inquiry about parachutes or is he trying to see what ruffles the TSA feathers?

How about having an empty holster on ones hip?

Or wearing one of these shirts?

A kid going to 1-12 school better not wear one, they would be banned from school for ever.

I used to carry my packed rig on commercial airlines all the time. TSA has seen them enough that they don’t ask questions anymore. I got more questions from other passengers. I had two standard replies:

I am an airline mechanic and wouldn’t fly without one.
or
They gave me this when I checked in, didn’t you get one.

When my little brother was in the army, he jumped out of airplanes. He found some pictures that he emailed to me and I was asking about the different parachutes he had used. While thinking about parachutes, I thought, what if?

I would never ruffle TSA feathers intentionally, having done it a few times innocently and suffering consequences. :smiley:

“Well, I’m REALLY hoping I don’t need it this time!”