These weak links are made of a special nylon cord. A new weak link is required each time a live patient is hoisted.
The utilization of the “weak link” in a tag line represents a compromise, providing the best level of protection for the patient and the minimum risk to the aircraft. The weak link is designed to separate at a tension point at which the aircraft is jeopardized. After extensive consultation with military and civilian rescue personnel, Skedco included a weak link in the Helitag kit, which is made to break at 265 to 310 pounds. Recommendations from US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratories is between 265 to 310 pounds. Weak links that break at the higher poundage not only present a risk to the aircraft, but also would allow ground personnel to be inadvertently lifted from the ground by the aircraft. Weak links provided with the Skedco Helitag Kit are made of line rated to break at 135 pounds. Laboratory tests indicate that, when tied in a loop and pulled from both ends, Skedco weak links break at from 275 to 310 pounds.