1. "...by regulation if a piece of equipment in a airplane is labeled INOP It is supposed to be deactivated. CFR91.213"
Not so, for LSAs; this is determined by the manufacturer. TL Ultralight SRO DOES NOT require the GRS recovery system, as minimum operating equipment, but it must be appropriately placarded when out-of-date. This is explained in the appropriate Service Bulletin: http://www.sting.aero/owners/notices/TL ... 20Life.pdf
In addition, one appropriate FAA reference is here, as item 17d
: https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/med ... C_45-4.pdf
2. I know that it can be done in Little Rock, but I'd delighted if it could be done closer to home in Connecticut or a nearby state.
Sorry, as far as I know, Little Rock is the only game in town for the Gallaxy chute. That's why we (who don't want to go that far--into tornado alley--on their schedule) may want to consider just converting to a new BRS chute, at some point (another year or two for me), for which there is USA Cirrus support. Somebody needs to call Bill or Mark at Sportair and find out if the BRS fits into the Gallaxy "nest" as a plug-n-play unit, or not? It must, if either one is allowed (see OEM Master List, here): http://www.sting.aero/owners/downloads/ ... v%2012.pdf
3. A few additional details about that 2012 deadly spin (with the chute not pulled) in a 2007 Sting (above): My
2007 Sting was manufactured the same month as the spin-plane. After the accident, which I knew about, I received a call from "accident investigators." It wasn't clear who they were or were representing. But they wanted to come examine my plane's parachute pull handle--and take pictures and video. At first, I agreed--and a date was set. But then I discovered, read & assimilated the final NTSB report. Only then did it become clear that someone representing the deceased or an insurance company was itching to pin some of the blame on TL and Sportair. They didn't get my help doing so!
4. I'm with Roger: Longevity of these chutes probably depends a lot on how the airplane is stored and cared for--and in what environment. Mine is in a Mediterranean Climate (with low-humidity summers), is always hangared, is never flown in rain, has drain-holes scattered along the bottom of the hull (earlier Stings did not--and you're supposed to ADD them!), and has a dehumidifier running in the cabin all winter. I'm betting it still works--if I need it--for at least a few more years. Anyone who doesn't feel the same should make the trek to Little Rock and open their wallets.