Keep an Eye Out | Mismatched Pilot-Chute Handle
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
A jumper experienced a premature deployment of his main canopy at 11,000 feet during a 4-way formation skydive and narrowly missed colliding with another jumper who was approaching the formation to dock. The jumper’s pilot chute was equipped with a “freefly handle” that featured a stiffened tab sewn next to the handle. The tab is typically tucked under a flap near the mouth of the bottom-of-container-pilot-chute pouch and is meant to make the pilot-chute handle more secure. However, this jumper’s rig was not designed to accommodate this type of handle, so he routinely stowed his pilot chute with the tuck tab exposed. Unfortunately, the exposed tab created enough drag to extract the pilot chute from the pouch.
To avoid this problem, the jumper could have tucked the freefly tab under the container flap or folded it into the pouch so that it was not exposed to freefall wind. However, by far the best solution would have been to use a pilot chute design that was compatible with the container.