From Parachute Systems’ Facebook page:
Information on Service Bulletin 2016-01
To All our Customers and Friends!
Parachute Systems has today posted the update to its Service Bulletin 2016-01 which was posted on January 4th, 2016, and resulted in the grounding of its Vortex harness containers which were manufactured with stainless steel hardware stamped “DSF”. (These are the ONLY Vortex harness containers that are involved)
After a week of investigation, research, meetings and consideration, it has been decided that rather than risk even one possible failure on a ring in use, to recall and replace all the Vortex harness containers that are affected. This means that all Vortex containers in use with “DSF” stamped stainless steel hardware are PERMANENTLY GROUNDED.
This has not been an easy decision to make especially given that there is no clear indication, in the absence of a quick and efficient means to test all the rings in use, whether this is an isolated incident. All the stainless steel rings were passed in terms of the AQL 0.65 Special Inspection Levels S-4 prior to delivery to us. The expert opinions in this field have stated this could be an isolated possibility, however neither Parachute Systems nor Daesung Forge, the stainless steel ring manufacturers (represented by their Managing Director, Mr Seong Uk Kwon), are willing to allow any potential risk to the safety of any skydivers with this hardware.
This decision, which we believe is historic and a first in the skydiving industry, reiterates our commitment to our customers that our Company has taken the ‘highest of the high roads’ when it comes to the their safety. Our mission statement to provide ‘safe, high quality and competitively priced’ products means what it says, even in the face of difficult, expensive and hard choices.
All means to produce the replacement harness containers are immediately being put into place, including increased production lines, additional staff, and the set up of administrative procedures to facilitate the return of each item that is to be replaced. We assure our customers that turn around times and replacements will be done in as fast a manner possible while maintaining a very high standard of quality.
Daesung Forge, the hardware manufacturers, have stood behind their part of the replacement procedure and acted with the highest integrity and honor in this collaboration to replace these harness containers that are affected and we are very grateful to them for their major part in assuming responsibility for the replacement of these affected products and the shipping to and from the factory to replace these harness containers.
While there will, undoubtedly, be customers who are frustrated and upset by the grounding of their gear and the wait to receive their replacements, we believe, unequivocally, that we would rather have all of our customers safe with a new product that does not have any possibility of failure on its hardware than risk keeping everyone happy with a less safe, more popular decision and the continued use of the products as they now are.
No Vortex harness containers with the stainless steel hardware stamped “DSF” are excluded from this decision to permanently ground them and they all need to be returned in order to receive the replacement which will give customers the new updated ‘skyhook ready’ design and magnetic riser covers, which are now standard. Claims for replacements must be received by December 31st, 2016 and follow the procedures outlined on the Service Bulletin. Any size changes or extras are set out on the replacement form and will attract the additional charges as laid out. Any color changes, provided they are the standard available colors (camo is not considered the standard range) will not attract an additional charge.
We apologize again to our customers for the inconvenience and we understand that it has been frustrating waiting for us to determine the facts and consider the options. We are very sure, however, that we have, in collaboration with the hardware manufacturers, made the best decision and are doing the ‘right’ thing and that in so doing we are able to show our customers what ‘our best attention at all times’ means and will mean in the future.
The updated service bulletin is available on our website (http://tinyurl.com/hnak23q) and under downloads you will find the ‘Vortex Replacement Program’ claim form (http://tinyurl.com/z434ffa). All queries in regards to this recall should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you all for your patience and hope that as we value your safety and are committed to serving you as our customers, you will continue to support us and our products through this process and in the future.
We assure you of our best attention at all times and Blue Skies!
Parachute Systems Team