Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 31

AND

AWAY

T

aking to the skies via parachuting, parasailing and
hot-air ballooning is how some intrepid spirits prefer
to fly. Such airborne adventuring seems especially
ideal in this era of social distancing. But like everything else, COVID-19 has left its mark.
Consider Performance Textiles/Ocean State Innovations.
Headquartered in Portsmouth, R.I., the company is one of
the largest fabric suppliers to the skydiving community. On
the commercial side, the company's nylon fabrics are sold
to parachute manufacturers who in turn sell to schools,
individuals and teams, and drop zones. Made in various constructions from ripstops to twills and ranging in denier size
from 30 to 1,000, the fabrics are also used for hot-air balloons,
hammocks, tents and other lightweight recreational items.
Prior to the pandemic, demand for its parachute fabrics from
the military and nonmilitary/commercial sectors was strong,
says David Mackney, vice president. But it's different now.
"Many of our customers stopped making parachutes and
began PPE manufacturing," says Mackney. "Some government
contracts have been pushed out due to the pandemic and many
of the commercial parachute manufacturers needed to adjust
their workforces because of COVID-19 state restrictions and
the decline in demand that came with it."
The picture is improving for Free Flight Enterprises Inc., a
Lake Elsinore, Calif.-based manufacturer of parachutes for
airplanes, pilots and the hang gliding and paragliding sports,
says Abraham Villanueva, vice president. The company also
does contract sewing for the aviation and aerospace industries

Sports chutes are built for speed, quick
maneuverability and precise landings.
Performance Textiles/Ocean State
Innovations can customize chutes in any color
combination desired. Photo: Performance
Textiles/Ocean State Innovations.

and serves customers in non-parachute industries who use
Free Flight's specialized production facility.
Their parachute fabrics-including cloth, fabric tapes,
webbing and threads-must be manufactured and certified to
mil-spec or PIA (Parachute Industry Association) specifications.
"The canopy of a parachute system requires a low-permeability nylon fabric," explains Villanueva. "Other fabrics include
tapes and webbing of nylon and/or para-aramid materials,
and cordage of nylon, Vectran™ and/or Spectra®."
Before the pandemic, sales met expectations, says Villanueva. However, these declined during the second quarter,
although demand for aircraft parachute-recovery systems
didn't slow. Now, they're on the upswing.
"People want to get back to their normal life and a love for
aviation and sports is part of that," he says. "We have been
very busy with increased orders and playing catchup from
the lockdown."
One challenge specific to parachute fabrics is that much
production has gone overseas. These manufacturers are unable
to meet the required specification, thus limiting their supplier
resources, says Villanueva. Still, he remains optimistic about
the future. Mackney's outlook is more guarded.
"The biggest challenge is predicting a forecast for next
month, next quarter and next year," he says. "When will things
be back to normal? Will things get back to normal? There are
optimistic signs in other non-recreational segments so the
hope is that increased demand will translate to the recreational
demand following suit."
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 31

1120RV_p28-33.indd 31

10/19/20 1:31 PM


http://www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com

Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 4
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 5
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 6
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 7
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 8
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 9
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 10
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 11
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 12
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 13
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 14
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 15
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 16
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 17
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 18
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 19
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 20
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 21
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 22
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 23
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 24
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 25
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 26
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 27
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 28
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 29
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 30
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 31
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 32
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 33
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 34
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 35
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 36
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 37
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 38
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 39
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 40
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 41
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 42
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 43
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 44
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 45
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 46
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 47
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 48
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - Cover4
Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - FabCon21
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0121RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1020RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0920RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0820RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0720RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0620RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0520RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0420RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0320RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1219RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1019RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0919RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0819RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0719RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0619RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0519RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0419RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0319RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0219RV_Feb
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1118RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1018RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0918RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0818RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0718RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0618RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0518RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0418RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0318RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0118RV
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com