Keep an Eye Out

Dislodged Handle

During a formation skydive, the videographer noticed that this jumper’s reserve-ripcord handle had dislodged from his harness. As the videographer moved into position to warn the jumper about the handle, the group reached its breakoff altitude and the jumper tracked away and deployed his main canopy without incident. He later said that he could feel the handle flapping against his side right after the exit. more »

Misrouted Cable

Drop zone personnel discovered this misrouted yellow cutaway cable while disconnecting a demo canopy from a jumper’s rig. (A correctly routed cable would pass through the other side of the locking loop, avoiding friction and interference.) The jumper had connected the canopy to the rig himself and was responsible for misrouting the cable. The number of jumps made with the riser in this configuration was not reported. more »

RSL Misrouting

During a reserve repack, a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger discovered this misrouted reserve static line on a rig used by the drop zone for student jumps and as a rental. At some point, someone created this routing error by disconnecting the RSL from the riser, passing it under the reserve riser and then reconnecting it to the main riser. more »

Torn Main Canopy Rib

A cell on the left side of this main canopy is deformed due to a large tear in one of the ribs near the tail. When the photographer noticed the bulge in the photo, he researched older photos of the same canopy and found that the problem had worsened over time and started when another jumper owned the canopy five years earlier. The current owner reported that the canopy was prone to opening off heading but never noticed anything else unusual about how it opened and flew in the more than 200 jumps he put on it. Because of the location of the damage and bulge, the jumper couldn’t see the defect when he was packing or flying the canopy. more »

Mis-rigged Reserve System

When the owner of this Skyhook-equipped Sun Path Javelin rig arrived at a boogie, he made arrangements with a rigger for a reserve repack since his last repack had been more than 180 days prior. Skyhook-equipped rigs incorporate a reserve ripcord that is separate from the reserve closing pin, and the reserve static line attaches directly to the reserve closing pin. The rigger at the boogie discovered that the previous rigger had not routed the reserve ripcord correctly—he had not installed it on the reserve closing pin—during the previous repack. more »

Master Rigger Mistakes

The owner of this rig (who is a drop zone owner and rigger) picked it up after a Federal Aviation Administration Master Rigger employed by the drop zone had repacked it. The owner noticed that the reserve flaps were closed in the wrong order. Even more bizarrely, the master rigger had renumbered the reserve container flaps by writing new numbers on the flap edges with a black magic marker. The rig owner brought the errors to the attention of the rigger, who was indifferent and unconcerned about the mistake.

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Fouled Toggle

After deployment, this jumper collapsed his slider and started to release his brakes when he realized that the excess steering line was loose and had wrapped around one steering toggle. Had he pulled the toggle through the loop of excess, the steering line would have locked onto the guide ring on the back of the riser. This would have resulted in an uncontrollable main canopy and required a cut away and reserve activation. The jumper moved the excess steering line out of the way before grabbing the toggle and releasing the brakes. Properly stowing the toggles and excess steering line can prevent this problem. more »

Rigging Mistake

A newly licensed jumper bought this rig from a private owner over the internet. The gear came with a freshly packed reserve, but when the new owner looked at the rig, he noticed that the reserve closing loop was badly frayed. He brought the gear to a local rigger at his drop zone for inspection, and the rigger noticed that the pin-protector flap of the reserve container was closed incorrectly. The local rigger inspected and repacked the rig to ensure that it had no additional problems. more »

Landing Patterns

These jumpers landed in completely opposing directions, which greatly increased their risk of a collision. Fortunately, they both landed uneventfully. Drop zones must establish guidelines to ensure a smooth flow of canopy traffic that keeps all jumpers—whether they are making standard or high-performance landings—flying in the same general direction for each part of their landing patterns, and jumpers must follow these guidelines. Jumpers flying high-performance canopies and making turns of more than 90 degrees must separate themselves from standard canopy traffic by using a separate landing area or exiting on a separate pass. If two or more jumpers are executing high-performance landings into the same area, it is critical that the jumpers have a plan in place to ensure clear airspace and eliminate the risk of a canopy collision. more »

Step-Through Malfunction

This student experienced a step-through malfunction, which occurs when a parachute container flips through the lines before being packed. The student elected to stay with the main canopy and steered it with the steering lines around the twisted risers, which could have led to the main becoming uncontrollable. Another jumper under canopy noticed the situation—which was not visible to staff on the ground—and landed as quickly as possible to inform the radio operator. By this point, the student was too low to safely cut away, so a more experienced instructor took over the radio. He coached the student through steering the canopy with the rear risers instead of the steering toggles and guided him to the main landing area. The student flared the canopy using the rear risers, performed a parachute landing fall and landed hard but without injury. more »