So, trying to get my canopy skills (landing accuracy) figured out has been my goal lately, for my final A card sign-off. Went to do hop n pops today and went from the 240 main to the 190. Second jump of the day (1st on the 190 transition/sport main), and I had my first cutaway (and my best landing, and my A license signed off- woohoo!)
The skydive was a little screwy from the start.. I was first out and only hop n pop on load, and I had the "go" idiots hollering a bit and freaking me out in the door.. that said I realize I need to get over it and not let other people's comments or issues mess with my focus on a jump.
But I did let it get to me, rushed out, and I immediately tumbled the exit. I did get onto belly fairly immediately to pull, but it was not the most ideal deployment position which could surely have contributed.
Opened into a brisk spin to the right, and immediately checked the brakes/toggles- sure enough, they were either stowed really funky/unequally, or there had been a brake fire. The left one was also wrapped around itself a bit, but not to the point I couldn't get it fixed- not knotted or anything, at least where I could see and access it.
I got the toggle situation figured out, but the canopy was still pitching a little bit and not responding, and upon another visual inspection I realized that there was something off/twisty with a line over another line on the left side- not wrapped around the whole canopy like around top to bottom and back, but caught up on some of the fabric somehow.
I did do a quick pull to try to pressurize it (also had a closed end cell or two, though looking back it could have just looked that way because it was part of the weird entanglement/possible brake line over, from what others have deduced. There was clearly no response attempting to pressurize the canopy and inflate all the cells that way) but yeah, it was not responding in any sort of a normal way, and with the slight spin still going on, though much less rapid after I fixed the brake fire, was definitely not at all land-able, so I wasn't going to waste any more time.
I had looked at alti when I first opened into the start of the spin, the point where when I noticed a not quite square or stable/canopy, and was around 3500 (exit a bit over 4k), so I guess by the time I fixed the brake issue, analyzed the lines/canopy, and took a couple seconds to mentally prepare myself for a cutaway and double check my handle locations, I was at 3k ft exactly when I decided/started to initiate EPs.
Honestly all I have to say is that you can never touch and look at those three handles enough times- it may save your life. I am eternally grateful I was trained in the habit of touching my handles in the order of use multiple times pre-boarding and on plane, and to visually locate where and how they shift.
Also, it was not how I expected my first cutaway to be. I don't know how to explain it, it just felt different. I guess I worried I would screw something up, but more than that, it was just easier in a way- the pull force needed was not as much as I expected, it went smoothly, and there was a canopy over my head. The rsl coulda beat me though; I didn't really think about it..
But for all the newer jumpers like me, just know that practicing and discussing EPs will make life a hell of a lot easier and less scary one day (it was still a bit scary though haha! more of in shock for a bit I guess, a "holy shit" moment.. you know you are probably safe, but that moment you have to choose the course of action is INTENSE) Just know that it is totally do-able.
I actually found it hilarious that my final landing goal and A card accomplishment was completed on my first reserve ride. It's actually really comforting to know how well the system works (gear and training program), that one has the presence of mind to deal with it appropriately when it does happen. I owe a lotta beer from this weekend I know lol.. Thanks to the amazing staff at SK for supporting me when the going got tough and for continuing to work with me.
Anyway, mostly just sharing my story with newer/student jumpers and well as the experienced folk (ok, and bragging a little that I FINALLY managed my license after 30 jumps! and managed to successfully live another day!) but would be more than happy to hear others' thoughts on their first cutaways, or any analysis of things I may not yet have talked or thought about in the cutaway situation.. thanks!!
------ oh, and.. I do honestly wonder with the line over (they believe it was a steering line, since the initial issues and spin were linked to the brakes, at least that was the impression I got) --I wonder though if it was mainly body position (obviously couldn't impact the toggles being stowed or a brake fire, but the line over, if that is what the mal was, which seems likely) or if that's irrelevant.
i.e. if I had the presence of mind to address the brake fire and hang up, & to stop the spiral, which I did, with plenty of altitude left, would it likely have been fine then? I do realize that we will never know for sure, and I certainly don't need Monday morning QBing brought down upon myself, but I am just curious about that particular situation..
I had just flipped to my belly from tuble/back to side to belly, so while I *was* in the *basic* appropriate position with arms up in an arch and belly to earth, I did not yet have that stable "riding the air cushion" effect and was rocking a bit (and still on the hill, which didn't help). idk,
blue ones, peace out~ R
(This post was edited by skyflower_bloom on Oct 31, 2010, 11:02 PM)