Forums: Skydiving: Incidents:
2 seconds from impact in PA


jonstark  (D 8298)

Sep 14, 2004, 1:46 PM
Post #1 of 5 (2066 views)
2 seconds from impact in PA Can't Post

I was ever so close to getting in fourth on my 52nd jump but we ran out of altitude. Afterall we had jumped from 7500' and working time was limited. I tracked away from my pals and pulled my ripcord and immediately started looking over my right shoulder for the pilot chute to go. I continued watching until line stretch and initial inflation of my 28' tie-dyed cheapo. When it stood me up I looked back up to find it was a small wadded up mess.

Never having been trained to cut away I still knew intuitively that firing off a reserve and trying to hand deploy it into this high speed malfunction would be dangerous so decided to cut away.

I pulled the capewell covers down then squeezed the capewell buttons on either side to then pull them and release the mal. Both sides released clean and I immediately went to the reserve ripcord mounted on the right side of the belly wart. I pulled it and the reserve flopped all the way over to the right to a point where I had no more pull. I continued struggling with the reserve flopping back and forth across my belly all the while gaining speed and tumbling wildly.

I got a glimpse of the ground rushing up at me and it dawned on me that should hold the reserve so I could pull the ripcord. I did so and when the container opened I grabbed a wad of fabric and chucked it. I happened to be back to earth and got an opening with low reserve tie downs that made me put french boot footprints on the top of my Bell helmet. It was an unmodified twill 24' and I was directly over the local high tension towers. I slipped the canopy to miss the wires and landed seconds later. It was estimated that I was open around 400'.

I was welcomed back to the DZ with sighs of relief and told that several had turned their heads so as to not witness my fatality. This was back in the old days when every jump was watched from the ground and often there were crys of PULL! ... PULL! I wasn't overly concerned and boarded another a/c as soon as I could borrow gear.

Another couple thousand jumps later and still haven't cutaway again.

Maybe this belongs in History and Trivia or elsewhere. Point is... It'll happen now just like it happened back then. You live to tell about it and all is good. If you don't deal with it at least you had the rest of your life to think about it... and it'll be fodder here for a few days...


RogerRamjet  (D License)

Sep 14, 2004, 3:01 PM
Post #2 of 5 (1879 views)
Re: [jonstark] 2 seconds from impact in PA [In reply to] Can't Post

Yikes! Even though I was jumping in the days of student rigs with two shots on them, I never saw anyone cut away with them!

I didn't even like how long it took to use shot and a half capewells, so had one-shots on my rig (until Bill showed me this crazy 3-Ring idea one day).

My only cut away from a real mal was with the one-shots. Not sure I'd have tried a cut away with two shots from a high speed mal. But, if you had the altitude, it would certainly be safer than trying to throw a reserve past a wad...

Twill? I started as Z-Hills rigger in 1973 and we had no Twill reserves in service there (though there were some in storage). I'm surprised anyone was still using them. Seems like the FAA outlawed them sometime in the middle to late '70s, but don't remember exactly when.

Glad you're still around!

mjosparky  (D 5476)

Sep 14, 2004, 3:19 PM
Post #3 of 5 (1842 views)
Re: [jonstark] 2 seconds from impact in PA [In reply to] Can't Post

Two shots and a twill. Things that memories are made of. Good story, thanks for sharing.

skybill  (D 6009)

Sep 15, 2004, 6:03 PM
Post #4 of 5 (1129 views)
Re: [jonstark] 2 seconds from impact in PA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jon,
Great story, brings back fond memories of the old daze!

'Got a MAR 1943 "Fashion Frocks" 24' twill reserve in my archives!! Got it in trade from a guy for a D-bag and a repack some years ago. Always hung on to it for the nostalgia value. Guess I'll drag it out tomorrow and look at it.

tonybrogdon  (D 12855)

Sep 16, 2004, 1:14 PM
Post #5 of 5 (946 views)
Re: [mjosparky] 2 seconds from impact in PA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Mike;

I was there watching when Mongo had a malfuntion on his old rig and did a cutaway with capewells just above Perris's manafest ( approx 500 feet). I will never forget it. He bought his new rig immediately after that jump. I remind him of that jump when I see him. By the way, how is he doing on his recovery? Last saw him at the VA hospital in Long Beach.

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