A skydiver with 400-plus jumps changed out their main canopy and then made about 75 jumps on the rig. Later, when the jumper delivered the gear to a rigging loft for a reserve repack, the rigger noticed that the reserve static line was routed incorrectly, with the RSL passing through the large ring of the 3-ring system and connecting to the RSL-attachment ring on the other side. In the event of a cutaway, the RSL could have entangled with the large ring, possibly causing a main canopy in tow. (On a rig equipped with a main-assisted-reserve-deployment RSL system, this type of misrouting could have inhibited reserve deployment or prevented it entirely after a cutaway.)
This jumper either didn’t receive a gear check or those checking the gear missed the mistake on each of the 75 jumps made with the RSL configured incorrectly. When performing a gear check, it is easier to check that the gear is correct rather than incorrect, since there are many ways gear can be wrong and usually only one way for it to be right. All jumpers should learn to recognize how 3-rings, RSLs and other components look when assembled correctly. In the case of an RSL, there should always be a clear path from the shackle to the reserve ripcord.
Equipment owners can perform basic maintenance on their own gear such as cleaning cutaway cables, changing main closing loops and changing main canopies. However, it is always wise to have a rigger check it over afterward to catch any mistakes. Having another person check your work (consulting with a rigger when performing maintenance and receiving regular gear checks) is crucial for keeping your skydives safe.
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