A jumper with four years in the sport and 400-plus jumps installed a GPS tracker on his main deployment bag by opening the main flaps on his packed container. Instead of extracting the pilot chute and refolding it, he pulled only the main closing pin, installed the device, closed the flaps and then replaced the pin. In the process, he inadvertently allowed the pilot chute side of the bridle to wrap around the deployment-bag side of the bridle, leaving no clear path from the pin to the pilot chute. After an uneventful freefall, he attempted to deploy the main and experienced a container lock. He cut away, deployed his reserve and landed safely back at the drop zone.
Several mistakes contributed to this event, and had any one of these been intercepted, the malfunction could have been prevented. The jumper was at home and not in a hurry when he installed the tracker; he simply did not feel like refolding the pilot chute. He was newer at the method of routing the bridle from the bottom, so he was not easily able to recognize the misrouting. His main closing loop was too long, and this was exaggerated by opening and reclosing the container, which allowed more room for the pilot-chute side of the bridle to be tucked incorrectly. He also did not ask for pin check prior to jumping. He reported that during the malfunction, he immediately guessed what had happened. As is true when taking on anything new, we should listen to that doubt that something may not be right, and start completely over or elicit others’ help.