May 20, 2002, 1:44 PM
Post #1 of 32
Yesterday (Sunday) was a beautiful day at Skydive Houston. The planned jump was a simple 3-way RW fun jump, nothing fancy. Jumpers were low-timer (maybe around 100 jumps), moderate experience, me (650+ jumps), and a very experienced RW flyer (2000+ jumps). Low-timer had the count on exit. The count was miss-cued and we all exited at different times (big-time funnel). In trying to regroup, low-timer approached me very aggressively and I could tell he didnít know how to stop. I prepared for and received a hard bump. In making contact, he inadvertently grabbed my cutaway pillow and pulled it out just far enough to release the right riser.
I could sense something was wrong (didnít feel right), but couldnít figure out what it was. As best as I can remember (Iím a little fuzzy on the exact sequence), we were close to break-off altitude and when my first ProTrack alarm went off, I turned and tracked away. As I was tracking, I could feel something slapping me on my right side. I think I realized that it was my cutaway pillow just as I threw my pilot chute. WHAM!!
I found myself hanging lopsided by my left riser with a streaming main above me. All I could think of was my reserve getting tangled in that mess. I couldnít see the cutaway pillow, but I was able to find and follow the yellow flexible rods from the cutaway housing to the pillow. I yanked it free and I was clear of the main. Next came the silver and WHACK, the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. I have an RSL, but it never activated the reserve with the cutaway. I was too busy taking care of business after the reserve opening that I didnít look at my altimeter. Checking my ProTrack later showed deployment at 1500 feet. I normally dump around 3000 feet.
My landing was uneventful. I got out of my gear and just sat there for a few minutes reflecting on what had just happened and what, if anything, I could have done differently.
There are definitely some lessons here. I talked this over with the experienced jumper and he suggested that I should not have thrown the pilot chute (after realizing my cutaway pillow was out). It would have been better to just pull the cutaway handle clear and then go for the silver, leaving the main in the container. An even more important lesson, I should have taken ďinventoryĒ immediately after getting the ďsomething isnít rightĒ feeling. Being a safe jumper has always been my number one priority and I am disappointed in myself that I didnít do this. I always (well almost always) mentally rehearse emergency procedures on the ride to altitude, but never in my wildest dreams did I envisioned something like this.
Now if all this wasnít scary enough, later that evening I was logging my dayís jumps and realized that this jump was jump number 666. ENOUGH SAID!!!
P.S. Thanks Andre, for getting a fix on and retrieving my main and free bag. Thatís what I call personalized service from a DZO. And a BIG THANKS to Tom G. at Skydive Houston. Thatís the second time in four months your reserve pack saved my buttÖI love you man!!
thank you! i resemble that remark! i DO avoid the 13th floor (on buildings that have them, they ARE omitted on a lot of buildings) and i do avoid the 13th load of the day, crazy? who knows? i am more intelligent than my gear, so yeah, it knows the difference between jump numbers, since i am in control of it! i've seen some STRANGE things in some strange places, so i should be allowed my superstitions! tell me you walk UNDER ladders!
"I have an RSL, but it never activated the reserve with the cutaway. " Your story is a strange one indeed Denis, but this sentence concerns me a little........Assuming it was hooked up, why didn't it operate? Has Hooknswoop, rigger extraordinaire, had a look at your stuff? PS you are lucky the rightside went first if the left side went first, and your RSL operated, you may not have been talking about it. I'm genuinely glad you made it though.....
I am disappointed in myself that I didnít do this.
Something I'm figuring out a little more than 24 hours after my closest ever to pulling silver jump yesterday is this - as long as the outcome is good (ie an okay landing under an open canopy) and you take the time to learn and share the lessons that come out of it, there's no reason to kick ourselves for how we handle a bad situation.
In reply to:
never in my wildest dreams did I envisioned something like this.
We can't predict everything that may happen... all we can do is be ready for it. Sounds like you were. Good job and thanks for sharing it with all of us!
pull & flare, lisa
If I can't have everything, well, then just give me a taste...
quade (D 22635)
May 20, 2002, 4:25 PM
Post #7 of 32
better yet, let's raise the bar, since you want to converse. why is it, 99.9% of mechanical engineers will not incorporate a "13th" floor on their buildings? damn strange, to say the least, and profoundly peculiar to say the most. have a great day! ((getting out my enginering books))
That would be because the numbers represent an average. If someone has 100 jumps in between mals this just means that someone else out there is having 1900 jumps in between. (Of course, packing, gear maintenence, and all that other stuff will make a big difference as to whether you're the first guy or the second guy.)
Gale (after having taking a stats course I could go on for a while on such numbers)
**(after having taking a stats course I could go on for a while on such numbers)**
that is almost tempting, but statistics are just that, comparable, nothing more nothing less. there are a thousand different perspectives on this, or that, and don't any of them mean anything unless compiled according to each subject, ie: automobile accidents, aircraft incidents, bicycle incidents, walking down the highway, need i continue? so go back and do some more research on statistics comprehension, and application(s) after all, we're just having fun!
it's actually NOT a "trick" question, 99.9% of high rise buildings do NOT incorporate a 13th floor, i know, i've been in just about everyone from here to whereever, and culture (overseas) doesn't matter. nonetheless, the 13th floor is a long ago dreamed up supersticion, but, i choose to adhere to they're suspicions. (when i can)
you asked why 99.9% of the ME's dont' incorporate one... that was a trick question .
actaully on a related almost mal, my teammate knocked my reserve handle loose on a skydive right near the end. he kept pointing at the thing, I thought my leg strap had come loose and I ws going in. obviously everyting was ok cause I'm typing right now.
why is it, 99.9% of mechanical engineers will not incorporate a "13th" floor on their buildings?
I believe mechanical engineers do indeed incorporate a 13th floor on every building with more than twelve floors. The difference in some buildings is that whoever's in charge of putting the little numbers in the elevator for each floor skips 13 and goes straight for 14. So...the moral is, it's not the mechanical engineers who are superstitious...it's the elevator technicians!
<<<better yet, let's raise the bar, since you want to converse. why is it, 99.9% of mechanical engineers will not incorporate a "13th" floor on their buildings? damn strange, to say the least, and profoundly peculiar to say the most. have a great day! ((getting out my enginering books)) >>>
Because mechanical engineers don't design buildings. Architects design them and civil engineers construct them.
You WILL have a 13th floor on a high-rise, regardless of what symbol you put in the elevator. You will have made jump #666 (if you get that far) regardless of how you label it in your log book.
You should read "Innumeracy" by John Allen Paulos.
billvon (D 16479)
May 20, 2002, 9:52 PM
Post #21 of 32
>People believe in all sorts of things that have no real basis in fact.
Well, yeah, but that doesn't mean they are all wrong. A JM who scratches off a load with a student may not know why he's doing it, but an instinct below his level of awareness (of the air pressure dropping, the winds shifting, some look in the student's eye) but it may still be a very good call. Between provable fact and impossible fantasy comes intuition, and I've learned to listen to it - even when it prods me to do things that have no real basis in fact (like scratching off that last load., or even off jump #666 if conditions aren't perfect.)
To try to get this thread back on subject, since it has turned in to the supestition thread, I think you did a great job with the malfunction. You can look back and find things you can do to make it safer in the future and that is great, but the important thing is that you stayed calm and took care of the problem. You saved your life. Way to go.
"I have an RSL, but it never activated the reserve with the cutaway. " Your story is a strange one indeed Denis, but this sentence concerns me a little........Assuming it was hooked up, why didn't it operate? Has Hooknswoop, rigger extraordinaire, had a look at your stuff? PS you are lucky the rightside went first if the left side went first, and your RSL operated, you may not have been talking about it.
I didn't see Derek on Sunday but when I do I will ask him. I left my gear with rigger Tom G. and will talk to him today. Hopefully he's had a chance to inspect everything and can give me some kind of report.
Regarding the right riser releasing before the left, it is my understanding that this is by design (left cable slightly longer after it passes through the loop) in order to prevent the left riser from releasing first. That is why the RSL is attached to the left riser. I asked some of the guys about the RSL not activating and was told that perhaps there was not enough tension on the left riser because of the streamer. I don't really understand this. Maybe someone who knows more about the mechanics of how the RSL works can elaborate. The RSL was definitely hooked up.
"this is by design (left cable slightly longer after it passes through the loop) in order to prevent the left riser from releasing first" Yes Indeedy, I believe this to be the case. "RSL not activating and was told that perhaps there was not enough tension on the left riser because of the streamer" Ermmmmm, say what? This is the streamer configuration 'by design' ie the way the rsl is designed to work with the 'phased 3 ring release'. I'd like to hear the venerable Mr Booth's stance on this. At the very least, there should have been enough drag to operate the RSL, otherwise, your shit would still have been attached to the lanyard when 'old silver' was pulled. I'm pretty sure that this was not the design intent of the 3 ring and RSL (IE there should be enough drag even on something like a bag lock to pull the RSL). I suspect your RSL was disconnected, when you thought it was.....which is even more food for thought. Can you remember whether your lanyard was with the rig, or with the main when you landed?
(This post was edited by nacmacfeegle on May 21, 2002, 8:09 AM)