When jumpers take on the responsibility (and that’s precisely what it is) of getting their licenses, they are pledging to conduct themselves safely.
A jumper came to me after his first cutaway, concerned about damage to his reserve system.
Chances are, you know very little about your reserve canopy (after all, it’s packed away out of view most of the time), but you should. It’s an important piece of equipment, and although you hope to never use it, you probably will at some point. (Photo by David Cherry.)
Like just about any innovation or improvement, the hip rings introduced to make a skydiving harness more flexible for freestyle and freeflying have a downside. If the harness is fitted correctly so the two ends of the leg strap at the ring seldom or never make contact, no wear should appear.
You pull one handle and, magically, there is an open parachute over your head. And if that doesn’t work, you just cut away, pull the reserve handle and later buy your rigger their bottle of choice. Voilà! Seems simple enough.
If you’re a northern jumper, winter gives you the opportunity to travel south, experience new DZs and get a break from the freezing weather. However, if you aren’t able to travel to warmer climates during the winter months, you’ll need to store your gear.
Gear damage happens in many ways: from normal wear and tear, sliding in landings, dragging rigs across the packing floor, etc. Surprisingly, one item that can cause significant damage is the keeper, the elastic band with which you stow your chest or leg straps.
It’s a good idea to inspect your rig carefully at least once before each jump. If you pack for yourself, you need to inspect the critical parts of your rig each time.
On containers using a throw-out deployment system, the elastic or nylon spandex (Spandura) bottom-of-container pilot-chute pouch—aka the BOC—is arguably one of the most important and visible components.
The term “rigger” comes from sailing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Parachute Rigger Handbook, the only place clean enough and big enough for riggers to work on parachutes in the early days was upstairs in an aircraft hangar, hence the term “rigging loft.”
Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger D.J. Styles instantly knew there was something wrong with a new customer’s cutaway cables when reinstalling them after a routine reserve inspection and repack of a rig the customer had purchased used less than a year earlier. Styles routinely measures cables for new customers, as well as anytime he replaces a lost handle, but this time the cutaway cables were several inches longer than the manufacturer’s specifications, and it was apparent there was a problem even without measuring.
While performing a routine gear check on another jumper, the inspecting jumper noticed that the reserve-static-line lanyard was tucked between the jumper’s shoulder and harness. This improper stowing could have caused the lanyard to snag, risking an unintentional reserve deployment.
Q: Some rigs have the main bridle routed top to bottom over the closing flaps, and some rigs have bridles that come out from underneath the closing pin and then back down the same direction. Which is more correct?
There are several modern AADs available for skydivers to choose from, all of which offer jumpers the ability to offset the activation altitude (temporarily change the activation-altitude settings to compensate for a landing area that is higher or lower than the point of departure). Additionally, both the Airtec CYPRES 2 and the Advanced Aerospace Designs Vigil 2+ offer a feature that allows users to increase the activation altitude semi-permanently (until the user changes it again).
When choosing a new or used rig, the metal hardware used in the 3-ring assembly and for harness adjustments matters a lot. Inattention to this detail can make or break a good used gear deal. If you’re getting new gear, some of those great sales and discount deals might be due to hardware choice.
The length between the “cat’s eye” (the opening in the line where you set your brakes before packing) and the steering toggle can greatly influence whether you have smooth flights and great landings. An incorrect brake length can hamper ideal performance from your canopy, and the causes vary. Working with your rigger, you should be able to address any issues without spending a lot of money.
How do I make a closing loop? How do I know if mine needs replacing?
(More articles being added every day!)
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