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1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks

 


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Jan 14, 2005, 7:52 PM
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1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks Can't Post

Played hooky to do two skydives this afternoon. The first was my last with an instructor - went well and I was cleared to do my first (beer) solo.

Exited at 12.5K for the solo. Freefall went well, I pulled at around 4K, maybe a little lower. Little hesitation but I was under canopy above 3K. Hmmm...why am I turning? Realize I have a slider up*, so I tug on the risers a bit to see if I can clear it. Nope. Unstow the brakes, do a couple flares, no luck. Canopy continues in a slooooooww turn. Burning off altitude fairly quickly, so I decided to chop at about 2K. Look silver, pull silver (single handle system on my student rig). Wow, those few seconds between cutaway and deployment felt like forever. Under a pretty orange canopy, get my bearings by finding Mt. Baker to the north, and set up to land into the winds as I last knew them (east). Landed out in a nearby farm, flared a little early but PLFed safely out of it.

I of course have my instructors to thank for drilling emergency procedures into my head and the importance of having a decision altitude and sticking to it. But I also want to say thanks to DZ.com for making all the time I waste on here at work worthwhile. In a lot of different threads and contexts, I've heard the message that you can try to fix a marginal canopy all the way into the ground. I had a moment where I questioned whether or not I should chop, and I realized "I don't trust that I can land this canopy, and I've done everything I can think of to fix it." At that point, what I needed to do was clear, and it was just a matter of executing it and trusting Plan B. Frankly, I was surprised at how calm I was through the whole thing - I would have expected a huge adrenaline rush, but really, it was just a matter of doing what I'd been trained to do.

I realized on the drive home that, ironically, low-speed mals can be more dangerous than high-speed ones. I haven't had a high-speed mal, but I imagine the feeling is "holy shit something's wrong gotta act." Under a low-speed mal, there's time to think "oh, that's not right let me try this let me try that well if i just stick with it maybe I can fix it should I chop or not... etc. etc. etc." and I can easily imagine thinking that way until it's too late to do anything productive.

I'm off tomorrow morning for a weekend in Vegas with some whuffo friends. Somehow, this seems like a lucky omen for me!

*note to Snohomish peeps who might be reading this - I won't out the packer on here, but rest assured, Karen's streak of perfect pack jobs is still intact Smile


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Jan 14, 2005, 9:47 PM)


noctralucent  (D 30762)

Jan 14, 2005, 8:50 PM
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Re: [NWFlyer] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Great Memory of the events. Sounds like you handled the situation with a cool head. As a student my decision to cut altitude is 2000'. It seems you where very alti aware under canopy. I hope my first mal I will be as aware and just do what I have been taught and not think up to much alti. Glad your OK. Beer!!!! Smile


dterrick  (B 5079)

Jan 15, 2005, 9:06 PM
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Re: [NWFlyer] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Heya Krisanne,

Well spoken and on the money. I hope HH gets to read your email - it will make his day.

I had my first mal on jump #20 as a student (pilot chute in tow, followed, ironically, by a stuck high slider...). I pulled at 4, my count saw me at 'check,000' (now 3,000 +/-) with no canopy. The check released the p/c from the burble but "something was still wrong" (the canopy never fully opened, I didn't give it time). Like you, I had decided not to take a wait and see attitude. Like you, I'd spent all winter hanging out right here on dropzone.com. Like you, I had "good decision" reassurrances from my instructors (over my first Reserveride Beer, of course - and again the next weekend for Solo beer - and the weekend after that over Gear Beer).

GOOD JOB!


I've had three reserve rides for three very different reasons. I have had potential reserve ride situations, too. The mantra "try once, try twice, go to emergency procedures" works for high or low speed canopy malfunctions. It's great when try #2 puts you back on track but I'll trust my rigger before I'll trust that I can correct something that has ALREADY gone wrong twice UnimpressedShocked <reserve>Smile... ... ... Beer!


Dave
PS: there was nothing "lucky" about you doing as you were trained ... but have fun in Vegas just the same


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jan 16, 2005, 9:28 AM
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Re: [dterrick] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I've had three reserve rides for three very different reasons. I have had potential reserve ride situations, too.

And at less than 300 jumps, this may need to be a bit more carefully examined/considered, don't you think? Or do you think a choppable mal and reserve ride every 60-80 jumps is "acceptable"?

I just had to remark on this. Please do not take it as a personal attack or a slam in any way. You say that all 3 mals and (several others that could have been) reserve rides are already in your log at just such a short history? I suppose there are the chances of just dumb luck, and if you now go at least another several hundred (if not thousand) of jumps without a mal/chop, you could then say it has all "balanced itself out" then. However, I would be just a bit concerned over the pattern you have seemed to have set for yourself here (just on the raw surface of it), and I would not otherwise in any way consider this as either any where near "norm", or "acceptable".

Granted that on ANY jump, a choppable mal is ALWAYS entirely possible, but when you see a number like this, that is so counter-statistical, especially on a relatively low-timer (meaning that, I assume you are not already engaging in either "experimental"/higher risk jumps, and/or intentional cut-aways, or otherwise jumps where statistically a cut-away likelihood is measurably higher so as to be EXPECTED), it SHOULD, I would think give you some reason taken for sincere pause, and potential re-examination of the WHY's this is occurring.

Whatever it is, that has caused you to have 3 chops within only 200 + something jumps AND several others "potential", I sure hope is being very soberly reflected upon, and thoroughly considered, and not just somehow otherwise rationailized off as "acceptable".

Blue Skies,
-Grant


dterrick  (B 5079)

Jan 16, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Re: [Scrumpot] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Grant:

I have no reason to believe you had anything but good intentions when making your post. Perhaps when you read the additional detail I've provided you will come to a different conclusion.

I would like to point out that your entire reply is directed at me and my histroy without reference to Krisanne and hers. Please re-read what I wrote and to whom it was written. I chose my words carefully first to reflect a positive message, second to add a connection to my own similar experience, and finally to reinforce a very basic safety concept (try twice, and only twice). I would repeat them again, verbatim, the next time a "20 jump student" is encouraged by their successful application of correct emergency procedures. Krisanne(if you're reading this) I STILL say "good job".

Mathematical and statistical inaccuracies aside for a moment, here are my situations to consider... now that they are a part of the thread.

Reserve ride #1 was described in my original post (jump #20, 4th of the day, opening weekend). The rest of the detail is in post #3 on this thread; this reserve ride is the relevant reserve ride to this thread. Reserve ride #2 occurred on jump #193. This was a spinning mal on a borrowed elliptical - caused by a jammed brake on a triple riser setup. Reserve ride #3 was caused by another jumper striking me from above hard enough to temporarily paralyze my right arm. That was, incidentally, my most recent skydive.

Is there a pattern? No. I described my rides as being "for 3 very different reasons" and I stand by that description. Am I concerned? I have no concerns about the first two. But did I "soberly reflect" on my continued involvement in the sport after being incapacitated in mid-air? I wouldn't know where to start. Let's just simplify by saying that the positive support form everyone in the sport who knows me (including several who have more diamonds on their wings than I have hundreds of jumps...), (so far) has kept me from framing my logbook. The Canadian winter layoff is hard enough as it is...

What can we learn about safety & training while also learning about coaching and communicating? Sometimes the student becomes the teacher is one thought...any others?

Dave




Quote:
However, I would be just a bit concerned over the pattern you have seemed to have set for yourself here (just on the raw surface of it), and I would not otherwise in any way consider this as either any where near "norm", or "acceptable".

Granted that on ANY jump, a choppable mal is ALWAYS entirely possible, but when you see a number like this, that is so counter-statistical, especially on a relatively low-timer (meaning that, I assume you are not already engaging in either "experimental"/higher risk jumps, and/or intentional cut-aways, or otherwise jumps where statistically a cut-away likelihood is measurably higher so as to be EXPECTED), it SHOULD, I would think give you some reason taken for sincere pause, and potential re-examination of the WHY's this is occurring.

Whatever it is, that has caused you to have 3 chops within only 200 + something jumps AND several others "potential", I sure hope is being very soberly reflected upon, and thoroughly considered, and not just somehow otherwise rationailized off as "acceptable".


SeaKev  (C License)

Jan 17, 2005, 1:53 PM
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Re: [NWFlyer] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice job! Glad you have a very positive attitude about the experience.Smile I was out @ Snoh. on Sat. and looking for your freebag from the air. No luck.Unsure Maybe see ya in a couple weeks.

Kev


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Jan 19, 2005, 5:40 PM
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Re: [SeaKev] 1st Mal ... lessons learned and thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

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I was out @ Snoh. on Sat. and looking for your freebag from the air. No luck.

Oh, well, at least we found and retrieved the main easily. And I hear that a certain TI was advertising his packing skills to the whole DZ! Wink I'm sorry I missed that!



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