May 14, 2001, 10:26 AM
Post #1 of 7
packing after a mal
I had my first malfuction this weekend and am 99% confident it was the pack job. I packed it and think I know what happened but am not positive. I have 62 jumps but only ~12 pack jobs. Now I am less-confident in my ability to pack. Anybody else pack themselves a mal when they had just started packing? What did you do afterwards?
What kind of mal was it??? I havent had one yet but sometimes its not necessarily your fault. I would just try to figure out exactly what went wrong and make sure that it doesnt happen again. Learn from your mistakes or, if you got the cash hire a packer to pack for you...but even then you may still have a mal. There really is no easy way out of this one, but you were obviously prepared for it so you should be confident that you wouldnt freeze should the need to cutaway arises again.
It was really nasty line twists. I was spinning on my back before I knew it and both the brakes had come unstowed. I can hire packers and probably will for a couple of weeks but need to be confident that I can pack or I shouldn't be jumping.
I think what happened is that more of the canopy was in one-half of the d-bag and when I closed the container I did too much smashing / pushing / adjusting and the stowed lines were twisted/crossed/around the bag instead of below it / ? ? ?
yeah...that sounds like a tough one...severe line twists with unstowed toggles are an issue that you need to deal with pretty quickly. That could have been caused by a number of things...could have been your body position at deployment. That is what usually causes line twists, but they can also be caused by a bit of a bag lock. So you may want to take a look at your rubber bands/tube stows and how you are stowing your lines. If you get bag lock, that thing can spin around behind you for a bit causing what you had. That happened to me once...scared the hell out of me, but I knew that the linetwists were caused by the baglock because of the way the canopy deployed (I saw the p/c come out, felt the d-bag come off my back and then I started picking up speed) Did you have any odd sights or feelings in the deployment sequence? How else did you stow the lines in the container tray??? That could be a possibility too. Also, what kind of toggles do you have??? It seems as though you were really in a nasty spin to have those bad boys get unstowed...you may want to have a rigger look at them to ensure that they are safe and that you are stowing them properly because if you were jumping a higher performance canopy like a Stiletto or Velocity or something like that...an unstowed toggle will put you into linetwists and a massive spin causing you to cutaway from a once fully functioning canopy.
Just some things to think about. I am glad that you pulled through on that...I have had some close calls but no cutaway yet...
I packed myself a nice little mal back in January. I took my rig home show my parents. I pulled the main out of the bag to show them, then I repacked it. When I was repacking it, I broke something like 3-4 rubber bands and I didn't have any spares with me, so I closed the bag a put all the extra lines inside the container and closed it up. When I got back to my place, I opened the container, pulled the bag out, replaced the broken rubber bands, and closed it back up. Unfortunately, somewhere in the process I flipped the bag through some lines so that when it opened my lines were twisted up and I had no steering control and had to cutaway. I learned a very important lesson from that pack job. I'm pretty paranoid now about stopping a pack job between putting the chute in the bag and closing the container, and if for some reason I had to walk away from a pack job at that point, I'd pull it out back out and start over to make sure the lines hadn't been wrapped while I was gone.
My first suggestion for what to do is get back up in the air, assuming you haven't already. If you sit around for a long time before you jump again you may lose your nerve and may end up not ever jumping again. In my case, I rented a rig that same day and made another (very careful) jump. After I got the jitters out on the first jump after the cutaway, most of the fear went away.
As for the packing, I'd suggest you have a rigger or some other very competent packer watch you pack a couple of times and make sure you're not doing anything stupid. My take on packing is there are really only a few thing you HAVE to do, and the other 90% is just a matter of personal preference that makes it easiest to get the parachute into the bag, keep it from opening too hard, etc. Learning to pack can be quite a daunting task, but as long as you know the things you HAVE to do (such as checking line continuity, pushing the slider up, clearing the tail, and keeping the lines in the center when you pro-pack) even if it's not the prettiest thing in the world going into the bag, it'll still open fine.
I agree with Grogs about getting back in the saddle...when I landed that canopy backwards & in someones backyard early in the season...I got immediately on the plane with a different rig so I couldnt even think about what just happened. I only got freaked out later on in the day when I had time to think about the implications of what just could have happened. I ended up just taking it as a learning experience...no harm, no foul. I would just keep trying to learn as much as possible and know that you will be safer if you keep learning. There is Murphy's Law and it works and there isnt much you can do about it.
"Skydiving is dangerous, but there are precautions that we can take to make it less dangerous."
I waited about 45 minutes and rented a rig and jumped again on Saturday. No way did I want to wait a week to get back in the air. It was strange - normally I'm not eager to get to 3,000 feet (where I normally pull). On that jump I couldn't wait to deploy. Very plain jump - 4 way RW (or attempt at) breaking off at 5,000 for plenty of time. I'm very glad I did it would advise anyone to do the same after their first cutaway.