Keep an Eye Out

Excess Leg Strap

The excess leg strap on this jumper’s rig came unstowed during exit and immediately stretched out to its full length. Not only can this create a distraction, it can also impede main canopy deployment if the strap interferes with the main-pilot-chute handle. Jumpers should store excess leg strap securely and perform a gear check just prior to exit to help ensure that the rig’s components are stowed correctly. more »

Dual Deployment

After throwing out his main pilot chute, this jumper experienced a pilot chute in tow. He pulled his reserve ripcord, and as the reserve pilot chute deployed, the main pilot chute finally pulled the closing pin out of the closing loop and extracted the main canopy. The main canopy inflated with the reserve bridle entangled with the main canopy’s bridle. The jumper grabbed the reserve freebag to prevent the reserve from deploying and safely landed the main canopy while holding the reserve freebag between his legs. Although the witness report did not state the cause of the pilot-chute hesitation, common causes are a misrouted main bridle or an uncocked collapsible pilot chute. Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 5-1 includes recommendations for this type of emergency. more »

Stuck Slider

After main canopy deployment, this jumper found her slider stuck approximately halfway down her suspension lines. As she pumped the brakes of her canopy to work the slider down the lines, she passed her decision altitude for a cutaway and had no option other than to land the canopy. For landing, she pulled down the opposite toggle to keep the wing level. The landing was rough, but she was uninjured. more »

Stored Rig

After four years of storage in a climate-controlled environment, this parachute system needed some maintenance before it was airworthy. The brass grommets on the main deployment bag reacted with the stow bands and broke down the rubber, making it hard and brittle. The stow bands broke apart and some of them adhered to the grommets, as pictured. Manufacturers now make most, if not all, main deployment bags with nickel or stainless-steel grommets to prevent this type of interaction with rubber stow bands. more »

Chest Strap Routing

A jumper caught this incorrectly routed chest strap (the end of the strap does not pass through the friction adaptor) on a friend’s rig as he was about to board the aircraft for a jump. The strap almost certainly would have slipped loose in freefall, which may have allowed the jumper to fall from his harness. more »

Pattern Safety

Two jumpers narrowly missed colliding at approximately 150 feet after the jumper flying the brightly colored canopy made a last-second 180-degree turn at about 250 feet during his final approach to avoid overshooting the landing area. Fortunately, the other jumper saw the impending collision and steered away slightly to avoid the other canopy. Both jumpers landed uneventfully otherwise. more »

Grommet Damage

While performing a routine canopy inspection at a local rigging loft, a rigger found damage to the slider’s brass grommets that friction from the Technora lines of the canopy had caused. Although stainless steel grommets can show similar wear, grommets made of brass, such as this one, are softer and likely to wear more quickly. Metal rapide connector links, which connect risers to canopy lines, can also cause grommet damage when the slider comes down over the links on opening. Rigs that use this type of connection method should have bumpers installed over the links to prevent damage. more »

Worn Lines

This tandem instructor experienced a malfunctioning and uncontrollable main canopy when three of the center A lines broke during a routine opening. more »

Worn Reserve Closing Loop

You should check your reserve closing loop as part of your regular gear check before every jump. Although you can’t see much of the loop on a packed reserve container, the part you can see coming through the reserve grommets is important and also tends to get most heavily worn. more »

Improperly Sealed Reserve

Last year, a rigger alerted USPA about an improperly sealed reserve container that he had found during a gear check at a large boogie in Ohio. Parachutist placed the photos in its March 2013 issue (“Keep an Eye Out—Reserve Seal” by Eric Boerger). Unfortunately, USPA did not receive information about the person who packed the reserve and had no way to get in touch with the rigger to address the problem. Now, a year later, DZ staff at an Arizona drop zone discovered another rig sealed in the same improper manner. Unfortunately, once again USPA did not receive the name of the rigger—although it is unlikely to be the same person—and learned only that she is female and lives on the West Coast. more »