Jumping with a video camera has many challenges, many of which are not obvious to those who decide to start jumping with one. The danger of an entanglement between the camera and parachute equipment is just one in a long list of hazards to consider.
Recently, USPA has received several reports of jumpers who experienced a difficult time shearing the Velcro of their cutaway handles during spinning, high-speed, line-twist malfunctions. During these types of malfunctions, the risers are crossed and the main lift web is forced tightly against the torso, making it more critical than ever to perform the proper cutaway technique.
Jumpers blame the occurrence of twisted steering lines on everything from how they collapsed their canopies to the Coriolis effect. But no matter how they occur, if left unattended, they can lead to problems. It does not take many twists before lines start wearing unevenly.
A jumper experienced broken suspension lines on his new main parachute that required him to cut away and deploy his reserve. Later, when investigators inspected the main parachute, they determined that tension knots, which most likely developed in the jumper’s semi-stowless deployment bag, caused one line to saw through the other lines. Jumpers must carefully fold suspension lines into the pouch of a semi-stowless bag to allow the lines to pull free in an orderly manner.
A Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger opened this pilot emergency parachute system, which had seen many years out of service and was stored in an unknown manner, and found that all of the rubber bands had rotted and that many of them had melted onto the suspension lines.
This jumper deployed his main parachute at approximately 3,500 feet, and it was immediately obvious the parachute had malfunctioned and would not inflate. He released the main parachute a few seconds after the deployment and opened his reserve parachute.
A senior parachute rigger received this harness and container for some work, and when he closed the rig following the repairs, he discovered that the main closing loop was more than two inches too long. The main closing pin had no tension on it at all in this configuration. He shortened the loop to the correct length and helped the owner of the rig understand why it is essential for everyone in the airplane and on the skydive to have the proper tension on the closing pin to prevent an inadvertent container opening.
A jumper experienced a main-parachute malfunction when the slider remained at the top of the lines after deployment and would not allow the parachute to inflate. He released the main parachute, deployed his reserve and landed safely.
After landing, a jumper set his brakes and left the rig for a packer. The packer noticed that the jumper had stowed the left brake incorrectly by placing the toggle through the cat’s eye above the metal guide ring, which will not secure the brake line. The brake line would have released during deployment and resulted in a spinning main parachute if the other brake remained stowed. This common packing error is easily preventable by paying attention and stowing your brakes correctly.
A Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger found excess wear on the top and bottom of this reserve parachute closing loop during an inspection.
While it generally does not cause a malfunction, a stuck slider can greatly affect the performance of the canopy. Following a main canopy deployment, jumpers should perform a thorough visual inspection followed by a controllability check immediately after ensuring that the airspace is clear around them.
Following an uneventful 2-way head-down skydive, a jumper experienced a pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction and a subsequent uneventful reserve deployment.
A senior parachute rigger discovered this incorrectly closed reserve container during a gear check of another jumper. The reserve ripcord was on the wrong side of the grommet, and the reserve closing pin was flipped opposite of the correct orientation.
A jumper flying her wingsuit attempted to deploy her main canopy at 3,500 feet. A few seconds after she threw her pilot chute, she saw the pilot chute trailing behind her, so she pulled her reserve ripcord. The reserve deployed and was fully inflated by 2,000 feet. The main canopy remained in the container after the reserve deployed.
This bag-lock malfunction occurred when one of the packing tabs on the canopy entangled with the last closing-stow band on the deployment bag. Although this is a very unusual malfunction, jumpers can help avoid it by making sure that the stows are not near the packing tabs when closing their deployment bags.
While opening a container to start a reserve repack, a Federal Aviation Administration Senior Rigger found that the reserve ripcord was positioned on the top-reserve-flap grommet, pressed between the pin and the top of the grommet.
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