Torn Main Canopy Rib
A cell on the left side of this main canopy is deformed due to a large tear in one of the ribs near the tail. When the photographer noticed the bulge in the photo, he researched older photos of the same canopy and found that the problem had worsened over time and started when another jumper owned the canopy five years earlier. The current owner reported that the canopy was prone to opening off heading but never noticed anything else unusual about how it opened and flew in the more than 200 jumps he put on it. Because of the location of the damage and bulge, the jumper couldn’t see the defect when he was packing or flying the canopy.
Periodic, thorough inspection of a canopy—including looking at the internal ribs making up each cell—is the best way to discover this type of damage. Damage to a rib—which is likely to get worse over time—can affect the stability and reliability of a canopy to varying degrees depending on the location and severity of the damage.
photo by David Gerstein