Keep an Eye Out

Deploying with Toys

After a hula-hoop dive, this jumper deployed his main canopy and held the hoop out to his side with one hand. As he deployed, the hoop pivoted around his hand and swung over his body, due in part to the jumper’s forward speed produced by the wingsuit. The jumper immediately realized that the hoop would interfere with his deployment and was able to move it out of the way in the nick of time. His canopy deployed cleanly. more »

Loose PC Pouch

This jumper, who was learning to back-fly, made a poised exit from a Cessna 182 and had an uneventful skydive for about 20 seconds until he turned over onto his back. As soon as he did so, his main pilot chute came out of its bottom-of-container-mounted pouch. Although the jumper was on his back, the main canopy deployed normally, and the jumper landed safely. Later, on the ground, a rigger noticed that the mouth of the pilot-chute pouch was a little loose. The jumper may also have dislodged the pilot chute slightly as he moved around in the aircraft. more »

Premature Deployment

After the first point of an 8-way formation skydive, a jumper had a premature deployment when his pilot chute came out of its pouch, possibly because someone bumped it during movement to the second point. Fortunately, no one was injured, and all the jumpers landed safely. This incident serves as a good reminder for jumpers to protect their handles and to make sure their pilot chute pouches are secure, but it also highlights how hazardous flying camera can be. The photographer, Pete Jabczynski, wrote, “I have been doing video for 10 years. I have dodged hook knives and helmets, but this was a first (I know, beer). I just want every new jumper who wants to do camera to know that it can happen.” more »

Locked Toggle

After an otherwise uneventful main canopy deployment, a tandem instructor using a United Parachute Technologies system was unable to release a toggle because the steering line had locked itself onto the soft part of the toggle below the grommet and steering line attachment point. He performed emergency procedures, and he and his student landed safely under the reserve canopy. more »

Closing-Loop Maintenance

While changing out a slightly frayed closing loop, an A-licensed jumper discovered that the knot on his main closing loop was pulling through the washer. This closing loop came with the jumper’s new custom rig, and the manufacturer had installed it. The consequences of a loop pulling through a washer range from a horseshoe malfunction to a premature deployment while climbing out of the aircraft. more »

Line Stows

A videographer captured this image showing one bight of suspension line releasing early during the deployment of a tandem main canopy. The line-stow band may have broken as the main bag lifted out of the container, or the bight of line may have been too short for the stow to hold it securely during the deployment sequence. This type of packing error can lead to hard openings and malfunctions, although in this case, the main canopy opened without incident. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for packing and maintenance can help ensure proper main canopy deployment. more »

Shifting Deployment Handles

It’s common to see skydivers, regardless of their experience levels, touching their main deployment and emergency handles on their rigs while on the ground waiting for the plane or during the ride to altitude. This is a great routine to incorporate into your everyday procedures as you prepare to jump, but it’s also something you should occasionally do in freefall and under canopy (generally, just before you release your brakes and after you have ensured you have clear airspace). In freefall or under canopy, your body will change position in the harness, and your handles will probably be higher or wider on your torso than they were when you were on the ground. Knowing where to locate your handles in freefall or under canopy can take some of the guesswork out of your emergency procedures when you need to perform them. When every second counts, it could save time and possibly even your life. more »

Power Lines

This student, who had seven jumps, found himself in power lines after running into them while attempting to land his parachute. He waited for assistance as stated in Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 5-1. The power company got him down safely but had to cut a few of the canopy’s suspension lines to do so. more »

Stabilizer Damage

During normal use, a slider will repeatedly rub against the washers that are inside the slider stops and create friction. Over time, this friction can wear the stabilizer fabric, eventually creating holes that can expose the metal washers inside. These washers then wear on the slider grommets, which can create burrs on the grommets that will damage the canopy’s suspension lines during every deployment. In a worst-case scenario, the washer could fall out and allow the slider to trap part of the stabilizer in one of its grommets. This would likely cause a streamer malfunction, as the slider would be stuck all the way at the top of the lines. more »

Bent Reserve Pin

While visiting a drop zone that was not his home DZ, a jumper gave his equipment to a rigger for a routine inspection and repack. When performing the inspection, the rigger noticed some problems with the reserve pin. The pin, which should be straight, had a noticeable bend, as well as numerous abrasions along its shaft and on its eye. It was also difficult to move, even side to side. The investigating rigger suspected that the bend was from the previous rigger using a positive-leverage device that allowed him to use an excessive amount of force when tightening the closing loop. The scratches on the eye were likely due to the previous rigger using pliers in order to get a better grip on the pin for insertion. The scratches along the shaft may have been due to the use of pliers or from the pin rubbing against the grommet on which it sat. more »