Keep an Eye Out

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 »

Reserve Seal

During a routine pre-jump gear check for another jumper, a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger discovered an error with the reserve seal on the container. On closer inspection, this rigger discovered that the person who had packed the reserve, also an FAA Senior Rigger, had used two passes of red 4.5-pound seal thread instead of the one pass specified by the rig manufacturer’s instructions. He further observed that the rigger who had packed the reserve had passed the seal thread through the reserve closing loop and not around the outside of it as the instructions called for. more »

Line Over

This tandem pair experienced a line-over malfunction during main canopy deployment. Jumpers can avoid this type of malfunction by taking care that the suspension and steering lines remain centered while they are packing. During a PRO pack of any canopy—sport or tandem—the lines will tend to move away from the center and toward the sides and nose of the canopy when the packer wraps the tail. This increases the risk of the lines looping around part of the canopy. To prevent this from causing a line-over malfunction, the packer should feel inside the canopy after wrapping the tail to make sure the lines are still centered and move them back toward the center if necessary. more »

Open Container

During a 33-jumper formation load from a Skyvan and Twin Otter, a jumper bumped his container while exiting the Skyvan. The bump knocked loose his main closing pin, allowing the main container to open. The main bag remained in place throughout the entire skydive, and very few jumpers on the load even noticed the problem. Because the formation was large, still building and two videographers were above it, those who noticed the open container decided not to interfere and risk a collision by deploying the jumper’s main canopy. At breakoff time, the jumper tracked away and deployed uneventfully. The jumper himself did not know that his container was open during freefall until someone told him about it after the jump. more »

Closing-Loop Length

Following a routine reserve repack, a senior rigger closed the main container and found that the main closing loop was more than two inches too long. The long loop made it easy to close the container and insert the curved closing pin, but it also allowed the main container flaps to spread apart. This meant there was almost no tension on the closing pin, which could easily have led to a horseshoe malfunction or premature deployment. more »

Premature Deployment on Climb-Out

The heavy damage to the tail of this Cessna 182 occurred when a jumper climbed out onto the step to exit and his main canopy prematurely deployed. The inflating canopy pulled the jumper off the step and entangled with the horizontal stabilizer and elevator of the aircraft. The jumper’s canopy and the tail of the aircraft both sustained heavy damage before the main canopy came free a few seconds after the entanglement. The jumper was able to cut away his damaged main, deploy his reserve and land uneventfully. The pilot landed the aircraft safely, even though he had limited elevator and trim control after the collision. more »

Worn Webbing

A master rigger took these photos of a worn leg strap and sent them to the rig’s manufacturer, Rigging Innovations, for an opinion as to whether the strap needed replacement. (This type of damage often occurs when harnesses come into contact with asphalt or other abrasive surfaces during less-than-graceful landings.) The manufacturer recommended grounding the rig until the strap could be replaced because the damage went over the selvage edge (the edge of the webbing that is woven in a way that prevents it from fraying or unraveling). If the damage had not gone over the selvage edge, the strap would not have needed immediate replacement and the manufacturer would have recommended that the owner simply keep an eye on it. more »

Metal Links

After landing safely under his main, a jumper using borrowed gear found that the metal Rapide® link connecting his suspension lines to his risers had separated, with the bolt end of the link holding the risers and the threaded end holding the lines. Tension was the only thing that held the system together, and any maneuver would have caused it to separate. more »