Keep an Eye Out

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 »

Uncocked Pilot Chute

Additional Video Content Inside!

This jumper forgot to cock his pilot chute when packing his main canopy. After he deployed, the pilot chute simply dragged behind him, not catching enough air to open the main container. more »


A rigger found this "repaired" line-stow band on the packed main canopy deployment bag of a used rig brought to him for inspection. The risk of a hard opening or malfunction from an out-of-sequence line deployment is probably not worth the miniscule savings from reusing worn stow bands. more »

Obstructed Handles

Loose or baggy clothing can easily cover emergency handles during freefall or under canopy. Jumpers should ensure that their clothing cannot move into a position that covers or blocks access to any of their operation handles when skydiving. more »

Worn Lines

Some of the suspension lines on this main canopy have serrated edges, which indicates that it is time to reline the canopy. Different lines on the same canopy will wear at different rates. (The line at the top of this photo shows the most extensive damage). Generally, the lower part of the steering lines is where the most wear will occur, followed by the outside lines of each line group. As the slider grommets slide down the lines during deployment, the grommets generate heat, which wears out the lines over time. This heat can also cause significant shrinkage of Spectra® and Dacron® lines. more »

Installation Errors

An experienced jumper purchased a new main canopy and installed it himself, hooking the suspension lines to his existing risers using the supplied soft links. After he landed from his first jump on the new canopy, a parachute rigger noticed him trying to untangle it. Upon inspection, the rigger found the following installation errors: more »

Flaring High

*High-resolution files of the picture below are now available for download within the article.*

In this composite photo, a student experiences a rough landing after flaring too high and too quickly. This is one of the more common landing errors that students and newly licensed jumpers make. Once a jumper realizes that he has begun his flare too high, he should stop the flare and hold the toggles where they are (or, if he is at full arm extension, he can let up on the toggles slightly). He should then finish his flare at the correct altitude and perform a parachute landing fall. A jumper can best judge when to flare by focusing on a point on the ground midway toward the horizon, rather than a point directly below. more »