Closing Loop Length

Q:Recently, someone gave me a pin check and told me that my closing loop was too long because the grommets of my main container were not stacked vertically. The pin fits very snugly in the closing loop and holds my container tightly closed. Is it OK if my grommets are not aligned vertically when I close my main container? more »

USPA Instructional Programs Through the Years

When the Integrated Student Program (ISP) was approved at the July 2000 USPA Board meeting after two years of testing and development, the next task at hand was restructuring the instructional rating system. The rating system that originated with the static-line program had become a confusing patchwork, pieced together when the Accelerated Freefall (AFF), Tandem and Instructor-Assisted Deployment (IAD) training methods and the Coach rating came along. The Instructor Examiner rating also needed a complete overhaul, since it had remained virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1962. It was definitely time to simplify this hodgepodge. 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 »

Wings in Water

Everyone who holds a USPA B or higher license is required to have undergone live water training and should have an understanding of how to survive an unintentional water landing. However, wingsuits add another dimension to water landings and can complicate an already difficult situation. Recently, a group of jumpers set out to discover how a wingsuit water landing might differ from one in a traditional suit. They performed a total of 46 water entries into swimming pools, including some into a pool that had a moving current. They entered from diving boards and platforms, with and without attached main canopies, wearing fully zipped and partially zipped suits, and were sometimes fully clothed beneath those suits, including wearing heavy boots. 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 »

RSL Decisions

Q:
I have a reserve static line (RSL), but I don’t know whether I should connect it or not. What are the issues involved? more »

You Make Me Sick!

Some tandem instructors rarely have a problem with students becoming nauseated under canopy, while others frequently land with their students (and themselves) covered in vomit. Is it a coincidence? If it happens with any regularity, probably not. more »

Tracking Dives

Tracking dives are popular among jumpers with a wide range of jump numbers and skill levels. In addition, the size of the tracking group can be very flexible, limited only by the number of jumpers and the type of aircraft available (although common sense dictates that if there are newer jumpers on a tracking dive, the size of the group should be kept small). But regardless of whether a tracking dive includes one jumper or 32, or whether it consists of fresh A-license holders or world-champion record-setters, there are special considerations that every participant needs to understand. more »

What Danger Lurks?

Almost any weekend, tandem instructors and skydiving school managers hear some variation of this question from a licensed jumper: “Hey, I brought my (insert one of the following: girlfriend, brother, mom, boyfriend, sister, buddy) out for a tandem jump; is it OK if I tag along on the skydive?” more »

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to figure out which weather conditions—low clouds, rain, freezing temperatures—should put a halt to jumping. However, the one weather condition that always seems to bite skydivers, year after year, is the wind. What some may consider comfortable wind conditions may very well be too difficult for others to handle. So, how do you decide when the winds are too dangerous for you to jump? There are a lot of factors to consider: more »