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Thread Title: Strong parachutes - 304 or 306?
Created On Wednesday 5, January, 2011 4:27 PM


Vick
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011 4:27 PM

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I'm keeping an eye out for a couple of chutes. I was under the impression that the Strong 304 was the best model for the Stearman seat but I just learned that the 306 will work as well. Anyone have experience with either or both? Given the choice, which is preferable?

-------------------------
Solum Volamus

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roykinsey
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Friday, January 07, 2011 11:51 AM

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I bought two Strong Squadron 306's last May. I was in Orlando on other business and stopped by Strong's facility. Mike Rinaldi and John Makoski looked at photos of my seats and recommended the 306. Call them at (407) 859-9317. I'm sure they'll be glad to help you decide which model is best for your airplane.

Hooker Harness, which is one of Strong's larger dealers, sold me the chutes. Scott McPhillips is the contact at Hooker (815) 233-5478. Strong won't undercut their dealers and sells only at full retail, so you can get a better price from a dealer.

I'm pleased with the quality of the containers and how they fit in the airplane. I like the seat pack as it has a built in seat cushion and doesn't put me closer to the instrument panel. The 306's harness is easy to adjust, and you can insert a lumbar support for longer flights. I can't express an opinion on the canopy as I haven't used it and plan to do everything possible to make its use unnecessary.

If you're considering used parachutes, I can only say that one of my partners once told me, "when it comes to brain surgeons, criminal defense lawyers or parachutes, there are no bargains."

-------------------------
Roy Kinsey - N60198
Pensacola, Florida
roykinsey@earthlink.net

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Vick
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Friday, January 07, 2011 12:51 PM

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Thanks for the feedback Roy. Do you have metal or wood seats? Concur on the used chute issue, I'm sure good ones can be had but given the prices I've seen for new vs used I'm inclined to just go new.

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Solum Volamus

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roykinsey
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Friday, January 07, 2011 3:57 PM

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I have metal, bucket seats. If you send me your email address I'll send you photos you can use to see if they match yours.

-------------------------
Roy Kinsey - N60198
Pensacola, Florida
roykinsey@earthlink.net

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Anchor
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Friday, January 07, 2011 10:52 PM

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Have you looked at Butler chutes? No need to worry about which pack fits which seat the best with Butler because they custom make the pack for your specific seat pan. I have metal seats and Butler made my seat packs to conform exactly to my seat pan in width, length, and even the angled front and curved back of the pan profile. I simply sent them the measurements and a cardboard template of the curvature, front to back, of the seat pan. Having the seat packs tailored so that they utilize the entire available volume of the pan offers two advantages. It allows the packs to have slightly less height and thus plenty of room for a cushion on top. Of even more importance to me however is the fact that since the pack fully occupies the entire volume of the seat pan there is literally no room for it to shift around at all, so it's a comfortable and stable feeling pack on which to sit. I bought mine 14 years ago so have no idea how their current prices compare to the other manufacturers, but from a use standpoint I can recommend them.

Anchor

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Vick
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 2:14 PM

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Thanks for the additional feedback Anchor. I'll call to check on the Butlers too though whenever I hear "custom" I hear dollar signs too. Prices on the Strong container with a C-9 canopy are relatively reasonable, seem to offer good value and quality.

Chutes are a funny thing - not something you want to skimp on because you want it to work flawlessly if ever called upon to do its job. But hopefully you'll never have to find out!

-------------------------
Solum Volamus

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dtpitcairn
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 3:41 PM

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Butler had competitive prices, at least airshow prices, about 2 years ago and were highly recommended by IAC aerobatic people I talked to. Since then their prices went up however it may be that all manufacturers raised their prices. The custom fit capability did not seem to be a price driver and was good for my situation but may not be nesessary for you. Whichever you choose, find out the body weight range recommendation for the chute so you understand the limitations. I ended up getting two different chutes. I can wear both so the passenger will have a chute matched to their weight if they are heavier or lighter than me. In other words, I am at the high end of one chute's weight range and at the low end of the other.

Also, search other threads on this forum. A seat pack is not what I would get for the Stearman if buying chutes now, due to my height.

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Tweety
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Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:06 AM

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I have both, the 304 and the 306 for my Stearman. I have metal seats and prefer the 306. It fits tight into the seat were the 304 is a bit loose in the seat pan. the 306 has a thicker cushion which gives more comfort on longer flights, but this is also available for the 304 but not on my. Whether it makes a difference on what is hanging on in terms of weight i do not know. At least the 306 feels as it has more prachute ;-). Weight is for my 450 no real issue....

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Buckswt
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 9:37 PM

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I too have both and I agree with Tweety. The 306 "Squadron Seat" fits better in the bucket and unless you have a tall torso, then you can drop the seat to equal the difference in height.

Cheers, Buck ><>

-------------------------
BWStearman@yahoo.com

www.BiPlaneFlyIn.org

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Vick
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011 2:32 PM

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Thanks Tweety and Buck, more great feedback. I haven't had much free time to pursue this further but I'll post an update when I make a decision and repport back on how it works out for me.

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Solum Volamus

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