May 1, 2002, 11:24 PM
Post #1 of 10
A comment that Bill Von posted in another thread got me thinking about B-12s.
The rig I jump right now has them, and frankly I like their ease of use for climbing into the rig, I'm a big boy and it helps. I'm going to be purchasing a new rig soon and had originally thought to get them on that rig also; however, Bill mentioned that they could randomly come open if the spring broke. How common is this, is it a bad situation, even how the forces are applied to the leg straps, would the leg strap come off, etc.
Falling out of the rig is actually one of the things that truely frightens me, I'm fanatical about checking my straps when putting my gear on and double checking the routing and tightness of my straps before I leave the plane.
A human cannonball, I rise above it all Up higher then a trapeze, I can fly
that and they can be bent adn not close all the way, or snag on exit. There's a video floating around of a tandem where the b-12 comes undone on the tandem master -- the video guy flies over and re-coonects the way it's supposed to.
Honestly, I would not worry about the B12's coming undone. Look at all the student rigs that have them, thousands and thousands, with no incident. The only issue I would have, would be that of comfort, not safety. You sound as if you are, without fail, doing self checks. If it makes it easier for you, do it.
I like B-12s too but they do require checking and maintenance. When wearing them I'm sure you click the gate to make sure it isn't stuck open, just keep doing that. The same check we do on student's gear. My last few rigs have had thread thru's just for simplicity but I wouldn't hesitate to jump a rig with B-12's. One advantage is that you can install tension springs on the friction bar of the v ring to keep the leg strap from sliping. Shoot, I used to jump a rig that had quick ejectors, as did most student gear until the 1980's.
I haven't looked up Bill's post but in 24 years of either student gear or mine, I've never seen a broken spring. I'm sure it's happened but it cann't be very common.
Bottom line, get what you want, check it as required, and don't worry.
>How common is this, is it a bad situation, even how the forces are applied to the > leg straps, would the leg strap come off, etc.
From experience with students, springs break pretty rarely, but they do break sometimes. Once the spring breaks the safety can stay either open or closed, so you have a 50/50 shot there. If the safety is open, and you get out the door without any of the B-12's coming loose, you're in pretty good shape - the normal forces on the harness will tend to keep the hooks tight against the V-ring on the other side.
B-12's are like any other piece of skydiving gear - they have to be checked. Fortunately, they are easy to check (snap the safety open once and make sure it closes) and they fail rarely.
Personally, I friggin' hate the things! Maybe it's just me, but they make me so paranoid that I spend too much time checking them. I've found the gate portion of the snap bent to the point where it would stay open more than once (student gear), and I have alot more fun w/out having them to worry about.
"Why don't they have a light bulb that only shines on things that are worth looking at?"