Keep an Eye Out

Drinking and Packing Don’t Mix

A jumper who had hooked up and packed his new canopy in the evening (reportedly after having “a few beers”) landed from his first jump the next day complaining of a hard opening. Upon inspecting the canopy, his rigger found the slider in this configuration. Fortunately, the jumper received only a few bruised ribs and a sore neck from the opening. more »

Don’t Forget the Gear Check

During a 4-way freefly exit, a jumper noticed that the skydiver next to her had a grip on the loose end of her chest strap, which she had not properly routed through the friction adapter when donning her gear. She then tried to thread her chest strap through the friction adapter hardware as she continued in freefall. After many unsuccessful attempts, she had to deploy her main canopy while holding onto her main lift web with one hand to help keep herself in the harness. Her canopy descent was uneventful. more »

Pin Out on Exit

Although this jumper received a pin check a few minutes prior to exiting, his pin came loose prematurely, and he opened in a head-down position about six seconds after leaving the plane. Fortunately, he and the other jumper were unhurt by the premature deployment. more »

Dislodged Reserve Ripcord Handle

A jumper on a 4-way freefly skydive inadvertently dislodged this jumper’s reserve handle while reaching for a grip on exit. Jumpers should use caution when taking grips to help prevent this scenario. more »

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Rig in the Trunk of Your Car

A jumper left his rig in the trunk of his car for a few months before giving it to his rigger for a reserve repack. During the inspection, the rigger discovered that a stow band had melted to the grommet on the main deployment bag. As the photo shows, it took quite a bit force to break the stow band and allow the deployment bag to open fully. The melted stow band was a black rubber band from an unknown source. There have been similar cases reported in the past of black rubber bands melting and sticking to grommets or even disintegrating into small pieces. This may be caused by a chemical reaction between the rubber band and grommet or by the heat generated in the trunk of a car. more »

Loose Brake Line and Locked Toggles

When excess steering line came loose from the keepers on one of a jumper’s risers during an otherwise-normal deployment, he inadvertently reached through the loop of excess line when he grabbed his toggle to release his brakes. When he pulled the toggle, it locked the steering line to the riser as shown in the photo. When he discovered that he could not steer or flare his canopy well, the jumper cut away and landed safely under his reserve. Jumpers should use caution when packing to make sure they stow the excess steering line securely. They should also make sure that their toggles are clear of any excess steering line when they release their brakes. more »

Avoiding a Pilot-Chute-in-Tow Malfunction

Since originally addressing the issue in the November 2009 edition of Parachutist (“Safety Check—A Pilot-Chute-in-Tow Malfunction” by Jim Crouch), USPA has received two more reports of jumpers who experienced the malfunction when their main closing pins pierced their bridles as they attempted to deploy, locking their containers shut. In all four of the reported cases, the jumpers successfully deployed their reserves and landed uneventfully. more »

Misassembled Soft Links

While walking through the DZ hangar, a rigger noticed a licensed jumper’s main canopy attached to risers with soft links (Slinks®) that he had assembled incorrectly. The jumper had passed the soft link through the suspension lines of the main canopy only one time; when correctly assembled, the soft link passes through both the suspension lines and riser twice before the ends are secured together. He had jumped the canopy a few times in this misrigged configuration, and luckily the main canopy remained attached to the risers. The jumper, who was also the owner of the rig, thought that he had correctly followed the assembly instructions and didn’t consult a rigger. Replacing hard links with soft links is a complex assembly operation, which if done incorrectly could result in injury or death. According to the FAA, the maintenance should have been performed by a master rigger, senior rigger or by the owner while under the supervision of a master rigger. more »

Cutaway and Reserve-Deployment Sequence

This tandem main canopy opened up with line twists that could not be cleared, so the tandem instructor initiated emergency procedures. The following photos show the various stages of a reserve deployment initiated by a Skyhook reserve deployment system (though the instructor puller his reserve deployment handle, the Skyhook beat him to initiating deployment).

Photos by Sean Harrison: more »

Deployment Handles

This jumper experienced a main-canopy deployment as soon as he exited a Twin Otter during a multi-aircraft large-formation skydive. Luckily, the exit and deployment were otherwise uneventful, and the jumpers exiting after him were not in the path of the deploying main canopy. His main-deployment handle may have snagged on an oxygen tube (used during high-altitude flights) or on some other part of the airplane as he moved toward the door to start his dive toward the formation. more »