Apco Mayday Reserve Parachutes

Apco Mayday Reserve Parachute

Apco Aviation started manufacturing the Mayday in 1984, and since then has put over 30,000 Mayday reserve parachutes into service in the Paragliding and Hang Gliding markets. The Mayday has hundreds of life saving deployments to its name, from beginners to world champions.

2009 Independent testing shows Apco reserves on top!
In independent testing in March and April 2009 comparing the stability, opening rates and sink rates of 41 different reserve parachutes, the Apco MD 20 SLT had
THE BEST sink rate of all 41 reserves, with the Apco MD 18 SLT coming in number 6! All the Apco preserves were rated as 4 or 5 on a stability scale of 1-5. The Apco 16 was one of the fastest to open at 2.4 seconds, while the Mayday 18 and 20 were very close at 2.88 seconds and 3.04 seconds respectively. The results of these independent tests showing best sink rate, fast opening and lightest reserves showed the Apco reserves can’t be beaten. READ RESULTS HERE!
The Mayday reserve parachute is available in four sizes, all available with a short or long bridle, for paragliding or hang gliding. Apco also manufactures a wide range of accessories for the Mayday range. This includes front and side mounted external containers for paragliding as well as external containers for hang gliding, split bridles, long bridle extensions, UV-sleeves and much more.

Mayday has 100s of lifesaving deployments

The Apco Mayday reserve parachute has saved the lives of paraglider and hang glider pilots around the world. There was even a case of a mid-air collision where a solo Mayday reserve saved
BOTH pilots. The Mayday has hundreds of lifesaving deployments. Here are a few examples of pilots who owe their lives to Mayday, and some testimonials from grateful pilots. Letters from pilots

Materials and Construction

Over the years the basic design and construction techniques have remained the same - there is not much to improve on a winning design and best seller as Mayday, even though it is continuously perfected and polished, insuring that it is updated on even the smallest details. All four of the of Mayday parachutes are "Flat Circular Pulled Down Apex" in design. In 1998 the Mayday Bi was released in a Pulled down Apex version, and soon after the Mayday 20 hit the market.
Apco Mayday Resrve Parachute details
The Mayday boasts superior construction and materials. The canopy cloth is F 111 "zero porosity" ripstop nylon. The skirt and apex skirt is reinforced with 1 mil spec nylon tape, neatly wrapped and stitched with a precision four-needle machine. The line attachments have V-Tab reinforcements, sewn in place with a computerized machine, ensuring consistently high quality and strength.
Apco Mayday resrve parachute detail
The Bridle is made from 6000 pound Nylon Webbing (UV Resistant). The attachment loop is covered with a Teflon sheath, to protect it from dangerous friction which may occur during deployment. Finally the bridle has a line sheath attached, to protect the lines where they link to it.


Area (m2)
Weight [kg]
Sink Rate [m/s]
Max Load [kg]
6.3 (at max load)

MAYDAY 16, 18, 20 lightweight and super-light versions
The Mayday 16 is also available in a LIGHTWEIGHT and SUPER-LIGHT version, to really pare down on your weight for hiking, or to have an extra reserve for more protection during Acro. The Mayday 16 LIGHTWEIGHT weighs 1490 grams. The Mayday 16 SUPER-LIGHT weighs just 1220 grams.
The Mayday 18 and 20 are available in super-light versions.
The Mayday 18 SLT weighs only 1597 grams
The Mayday 20 SLT weighs just 2083 grams
The SLT and LT chute design is exactly the same as the classic, DHV certified Mayday design, with pull down, flat circular canopy, same area, same performance, same design.

Weight reduction for SUPER-LIGHT was achieved by using state of the art, latest materials - canopy cloth is from PN9 (the latest, most sophisticated development in parachute cloth)

Lines and tapes are made from high-tenacity Nylon 6.6 with Teflon interlocked to prevent friction and direct line connection to the harness, allowing for maximum reduction in weight.

The LIGHTWEIGHT is exactly the same as SUPER-LIGHT, but uses the PN1 cloth which is slightly heavier.
Apco Mayday 16 SLT reserve parachute-super lightApco Mayday SLR reserve parachute-superlight

Mayday 16 SLT(on left) vs MD16
There are lighter reserve chutes on the market, but they are certified for very small loads - 80 kg and sometimes less.
APCO's Mayday 16 SUPER-LIGHT is the lightest chute on the market, in terms of canopy weight for the maximum load it can carry (12.2 grams of canopy per each kilo load)
When you compare the weight of the chute with the load it can handle, APCO Mayday 16 SUPER-LIGHT emerges as the clear winner.

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