Worn Gear Repercussions

A jumper with approximately 100 jumps experienced a premature main-canopy deployment soon after exiting the airplane. He was in a back-to-earth orientation when the main pilot chute escaped from its bottom-of-container pouch and extracted the main canopy.

During the main-canopy deployment, lines from the main canopy caught the bottom of the reserve canopy container and ripped part of the reserve container free from the back pad. The main canopy suffered several broken suspension lines.

The jumper received several bruises during the deployment and a dislocated right elbow and wrist. He elected to land the main parachute by flaring the canopy with both toggles in his left hand. Although he was not aware of this at the time, the reserve container sustained serious damage during the main deployment, and if he had cut away and tried to deploy the reserve, it is unlikely to have deployed.

Reportedly, the jumper was concerned about his main pilot chute and checked it several times before exiting. Apparently, the pouch did not hold the pilot chute securely. Jumpers should replace any worn component before it causes a malfunction or emergency.

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