Gear

Soft Links

Q:

 

What are soft links, and how do I know when I should replace them? more »

USPA and PIA Jointly Issue Skydiver Advisory

MAY 2010 ISSUE REPRINT

On March 31, USPA and the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) issued a joint “Skydiver Advisory” to address concerns regarding some unexplained fatalities in recent years. While USPA and PIA do not yet fully understand the causes of these incidents, there are actions every skydiver and rigger can take to reduce the chances of a similar occurrence while PIA gathers more data for an in-depth review by equipment and rigging experts. The full advisory appears below: more »

Stowing Excess Line

Q:

When packing, does it matter how I stow the excess suspension line before I place the main bag in the tray and close the container?

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Pierced Bridles Pose Continuing Problems

USPA recently learned of another jumper who experienced a pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction due to a main closing pin piercing the bridle on a Velocity Sports Equipment Infinity rig. In the past four years, a number of jumpers have experienced this type of malfunction on various brands of rigs, including the Infinity. In this case, the pilot chute deployed the main canopy after a short delay, just before the jumper initiated emergency procedures. When the jumper landed, he discovered that the main pin had pierced the bridle and then tore completely through the bridle’s edge. more »

Packing Tools

Q:

 

Should I buy a packing tool, and how do I use it? more »

Know Your Gear

As a student, your instructor taught you (or should have taught you) how to perform a proper gear inspection, as well as basic rig maintenance such as replacing a closing loop and maintaining the 3-ring release system. Remember that training? If a recent Safety Day seminar gives any indication, the answer is probably not! During the seminar, a USPA Safety and Training Advisor had participants examine an intentionally fouled-up rig to try to find 17 different rigging errors. A surprising number of participants missed basic items such as leg straps that were improperly routed through the friction adapters, a misrouted main bridle and an incorrectly assembled 3-ring system. Surprisingly, the newly licensed jumpers scored better than the more experienced skydivers! 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 »

Psycho Pack

Q:

 

What is a “psycho pack”? more »