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Red Teflon Cutaway Cable Inspection Notification

Published by PLI on


Subject: Inspection of red Teflon-coated 3-ring release cable for cracks. This notice affects all cutaway/release handles manufactured by Jump Shack from April 1997 to January 1998.

Note: Cracking has occurred only on release handles made from a portion of one lot of the Teflon cable. The cable in this lot has a darker red color than the three other spools used during the production cycle. In the interest of safety, Jump Shack recommends ALL red Teflon release handles be inspected immediately.

Procedure: Remove the release handle from the rig. While gripping the cutaway pillow in one hand, press the cable between the thumb and forefinger of your other hand using fair pressure. (Use your thumb to make a 90° to 180° bend in the cable around your forefinger.) Slowly, pull the entire length of both the long and short cable between your fingers, feeling for any imperfections in the red Teflon coating. This should easily identify any cracks. If a damaged cable is discovered please return it to Jump Shack for a free replacement.

Discussion: In April 1997, Jump Shack began manufacturing release handles with a red Teflon coating, replacing the yellow Lolon-coated cables. The Teflon cables are a response to an epidemic of difficult cutaways, and the realization that many skydivers do not regularly maintain their cables. Teflon-coated cutaway cables were introduced for purposes of reducing maintenance and lowering the typically high pull forces which are associated with lack of maintenance in the Lolon-based system. (The industry-standard yellow Lolon cables must be inspected and oiled on a monthly basis).

Producing a Teflon coating which is compatible with this application was a formidable challenge. In an effort to overcome the obvious problem of sticking the Teflon coating to the core wire, the chemistry of the coating has needed reformulation numerous times. The vendor of the cable, working closely with Jump Shack, was able to accomplish this feat. However, in their focus to eliminate any possibility of de-sheathing, the coating lost some of it’s elasticity in places. In the affected spool, this loss of elasticity causes the coating to separate or crack.

Jump Shack release handles, like all products we manufacture, are inspected three times during the production process. These inspections initially seemed to block the problem from getting into the field. Recently failures have appeared on units which had no flaws during final inspection. The vendor has recognized the problem and has replaced all of the remaining suspect cable. Production since January 15th 1998 is not included in this notice.

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