Last month we were contacted by the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Air Ops department about an in-house US Navy test of several COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) helicopter retention lanyards.

This test was not sanctioned but I met directly with an NSW representative who informed me that the Tactical Assault Gear retention lanyard (an older model but still in inventory) had complete failure under a stress of only 300lbs.

The test was conducted in a mock H-1 with a 300lb dummy thrown out of the cabin door. I saw the blown out stitching and put my hands on the lanyard personally, as an Army trained Rigger I could tell that the stitching and thread was below par and resulted in total failure under a relatively light load and could result in loss of life.

Another design flaw that was brought to our attention, was that the TAG lanyard was not long enough to stand up while clipped into the floor.

Older model of the TAG retention lanyard. This model had pin failure issues as well.

This is a life saving lanyard so if you’re active duty, please make people aware inside your network.

When we spoke to TAG they were very professional and took the news seriously. TAG, originally founded by Chris Osman (now owned by LC Industries), is doing the right thing as evidenced by their letter below. They have offered to replace any old inventory in the supply system so please help us get the word out.

Thanks for talking to me today.  Since we first heard from you about the issues with the TAG Personal retention lanyard, we pulled all inventory and have stopped the sale of this product (in all colors and hardware configurations), while we did some investigating.  We want to be able to provide safe equipment to our guys.

We did some internal testing at our plant, our tensile tester only goes to 250lbs, and the lanyards passed that with out issue.  We then did a load test at 400lbs, and the lanyards passed. The minimum requirement for this product is 4000lbs, so we decided to send a sampling (all colors) of on hand inventory to an independent lab in North Carolina.  We are waiting for the results.  As soon as we receive them I will pass them on to you.

From what you described to me over the phone, the failed lanyard sounds like an old batch, we now use different hardware.  I would like to take a look at the failed product so we can see where the issue lies, if you can get that to me I would really appreciate it.  In the meantime, I would like to replace the stock of the existing Personal Retention Lanyards that the Navy has on hand, with new ones.  Can you send me contact information for supply?  I can pick them up and work to get a replacement going.

Thank you-