The Essential Function of Lead Seals for Cord On Parachutes

The Essential Function of Lead Seals for Cord On Parachutes

Posted by Steve Diebold

Security seals are required on reserve parachutes in the United States, under FAA Regulations. In this application, seals play a vital part in the safety of those who utilize the parachutes. As per the regulations:

“Each certificated parachute rigger must have a seal with an identifying mark prescribed by the Administrator, and a seal press. After packing a parachute he or she shall seal the pack with their seal in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation for that type of parachute.”

The seals are made of lead and are closed by a parachute rigger with a hand press, which secures an indicative safety cord. The rigger’s seal indicates that the reserve parachute under it has been inspected and repacked by an FAA-certified rigger. This allows the user to have the highest sense of confidence in the quality of the chute packing.

These requirements are not unique to the United States. Other countries have similar safety requirements -- associations and groups exist which have similar sealing requirements tied to safety policies outside of government regulations. All parties have the same goal of providing a level of assurance to the parachute user.

The purpose of lead seals with cord is to meet the specific pull strength requirements for seals while remaining intact during storage and use. It is a carefully calculated amount of pull. The cord must break easily but should not break or come out with normal handling.

Years of use have proven the reliability of this combination. There is no available sealing system that will crimp the red safety cord properly and as effectively, while safely fitting the available space and not hampering the proper operation. Meanwhile, the marking system must also accommodate the vast number of individual marks for all certified riggers.

The characteristics of lead seals allow the rigger to press the lead disc tightly so the cord will not release. Meanwhile, the dies that are used in the press will imprint that rigger’s identification in the lead. The identification is alpha-numeric and provides for enough combinations to meet the needs of all certified riggers.

These seals are also extremely durable. They have a long shelf life, can withstand impact, resist weather, and will remain readable for an extended time after sealing.

American Casting & Manufacturing is a major supplier and producer of FAA-required parachute lead seals. We also supply sealing presses with individualized dies for use in this application.

Various sizes of leads are available and the specific size needed is usually determined by the registered marks used by each rigger. You can learn more from one of our seal specialists. We are a US manufacturer of all types of tamper evident security seals and have served all industries and government since 1910.

For assistance with lead seals and/or the necessary sealing press with dies for parachute rigging experienced experts are available at AC&M.

Contact a specialist at: or call 1-866-618-5038 in the US or 516-349-7010 from outside the US.