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You are Here: Parachute History.com >> Processes >> Activation >> Hi Tek Model 8000 Parachute Opener

Hi Tek Model 8000 Parachute Opener

Hi Tek Model 8000 Parachute Opener was introduced in May 1971 by the Hi Tek Corporation. The company was bought by FXC in 1974. Frank Chevrier was the General Manager of Hi Tek's Aerospace Division in 1971. In 1974 he was President of FXC.

Frank Chevrier did not publisize saves because "to do so would imply that parachuting is a dangerous sport, which I feel it isn't."

Hi-Tek 8000

Hi Tek Model 8000 Parachute Opener Operational Parameters:

  • completely mechanical, no batteries, squibs or pyrotechnical devices
  • fires when jumper is below pre-set firing altitude AND has a rate of descent greater than 40 fps
  • does not fire at any descent rate above the pre-set firing altitude
  • does not fire below pre-set firing altitude when descent rate is below 40 fps
  • displacement stroke of 2 inches
  • pull force between 30 and 65 lb.
  • has lock-out knob (off switch)
  • firing altitude can be set from 1000 to 3000 ft AGL
  • Field elevation can be sea level to 10,000 ft MSL
1971: USPA conducted an evaluation of 3 units of the Hi Tek 8000. Firing altitudes were off by as much as 200 ft. In 20 tests, all 3 units fired at 30 fps and did not fire at 25 fps. High Altitude Test: 15 tests, units fired at 3925 +- 175 ft, when the firing altitude was preset to 4000 ft. Units were placed at 40,000 ft for 1 minute and then a descent rate of 200 fps.

Cold and Hot Environments: Units fired lower when subjected to low temperatures (-60F) and higher when subjected to hot temperatures (130-140 F).

Shock Test. Units fired when dropped from waist level, but then tested okay after the drop.

Unspecified problems occured when sand entered the unit.

1973: HiTex automatic opener was rejected by the Canadian Forces because of failing the 'cold' test.

1974: HiTek 8000 approved by US Air Force Academy

1974: FXC Corporation bought out the Hi Tek comapny. FXC recalled 250 Hi Tek AADs because of a defective heat-treated spring.

FXC reintroduced this AAD as the Model 8000 Automatic Parachute Ripcord Release.

Misfire: In 1974, Jack Demme reported a Hi Tek misfire at 3500 feet. The unit he used was previously used in a research project. He removed the unit, but not stiffeners from his chest mounted reserve.

At one of his normally scheduled repacks, every 60 days then, he pulled the ripcord. The far pin cleared but the shoulder of the near pin jammed against the flat inside edge of the metal stiffner. He recommended that the stiffner plate be beveled. He removed the plate from his own reserve.

Another study done by USPA after the Hi Tek 8000 was out in the field for 2.5 years was compiled from actual field use of 52 units and over 900 jumps. Two hundred four students jumped with a reserve mounted Hi Tek 8000. There were 9 firings in 981 jumps. Three firings were within the operational envelop, 6 were not.

Firings Within Operational Parameters

  • 2 fired at pre-set altitude when the main malfunctioned
  • 1 fired at pre-set altitude when the jumper had a horseshoe malfunction

Firings Outside of Operational Parameters

  • 2 fired when the jumper did a PLF
  • 2 fired when the main was deploying. The Hi Tek fired 1000 ft too high

Undesirable Firings Inside Operational Parameters

  • 2 fired at 800 ft when the jumper was under a good main. USPA concluded that these units fired because the descent rate of the jumpers was high because of down drafts.

The last two firings may have occured with descent rates above 35 fps, but they were undesirable as the jumper was under a good main.

Further drop tests and chamber tests indicated that the +-200 ft tolerance of firing altitude expanded to +- 400 ft as the units remain in the field. As the units aged in the field their reliability went down.

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