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Becoming unconscious under open canopy

 

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Maxx  (D 9594)

Jun 29, 2005, 1:50 PM
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Becoming unconscious under open canopy Can't Post

Hi,

One of the last incidents in germany made me think of a scenario that could happen which I never have thought of.. Imagine you just made a perfect skydive, openend your canopy, unstowed your brakes and flew for a while.. Suddenly you feel uncomfortable, your vision gets blurry, or you feel sick, you can't breath, whatever.. And you know you are gonna pass out in the next couple seconds. You have a canopy over your head which has a (significant) higher WL than 1.0. What are you gonna do?

Feel free to share any thoughts..

Max


The111  (D 29246)

Jun 29, 2005, 1:56 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

Shit happens? Would be just as bad if you ever "can't breathe or whatever" when you're driving your car down the interstate.

I agree it would not be good.


(This post was edited by The111 on Jun 29, 2005, 1:56 PM)


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jun 29, 2005, 2:13 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

#1. Of course fight to stay conscious

#2. As quickly and best as possible assess my glide-slope & wind direction as compared to most open (appearing) area & get my canopy pointed in that direction (preferably I guess INTO the wind).

#3. Pray.

In short, I'd just do WHATEVER I CAN!
Would there be anything else?
Hmmmm.... (??)
-Grant


gemini  (D 24349)

Jun 29, 2005, 2:19 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it is more likely to happen during freefall due to a collision or upon deployment. Probably won't be time to plan anything!

I remember thinking "why is the grass moving under my feet?" Then I snapped to and flared. It was a little late and was not pretty, but I limped slowly away from it. It was the next morning when it was really ugly! Wink


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 29, 2005, 2:24 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

>You have a canopy over your head which has a (significant) higher
>WL than 1.0. What are you gonna do?

1. Valsalva to keep me from passing out.
2. If that didn't help, and I was on my 'usual' rig, get under my reserve. Better to land unconscious under a PD143 with brakes stowed than under a Nitro 108 with brakes unstowed.


The111  (D 29246)

Jun 29, 2005, 2:38 PM
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Re: [billvon] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

How does Valsalva keep you from passing out? I only know what the word means from freediving.


Maxx  (D 9594)

Jun 29, 2005, 3:18 PM
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Re: [Scrumpot] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
As quickly and best as possible assess my glide-slope & wind direction as compared to most open (appearing) area & get my canopy pointed in that direction (preferably I guess INTO the wind).

The jumper in Germany probably did the same thing. His canopy then drifted with the wind and he broke 2 vertebreas during his unconsciuos landing.. He died 2 days later in the hospital because of it..

I don't know, but I guess cutting away and pulling the reserve (or at least cutting away if a cypres is installed) could increase your chance of surviving such a situation. Especially with a canopy which has a higher WL.

What does the SIM say to this scenario? In Germany we don't have any advice given in the handbooks..

Max


tso-d_chris

Jun 29, 2005, 3:25 PM
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Re: [Scrumpot] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
#2. As quickly and best as possible assess my glide-slope & wind direction as compared to most open (appearing) area & get my canopy pointed in that direction (preferably I guess INTO the wind)

As counter-intuitive as it might seem, I would ideally try to point MY RESERVE (with brakes still stowed)Down wind toward a suitable landing area. My reasoning is that the canopy will maintain a downwind heading more easily than an upwind heading with no input.

Most important is getting under my larger reserve.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 29, 2005, 3:28 PM
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Re: [tso-d_chris] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

>My reasoning is that the canopy will maintain a downwind
>heading more easily than an upwind heading with no input.

No it won't. People think that because ANY turn of a canopy that you are trying to keep headed into the wind results in it turning downwind. But if you pointed it downwind, the same thing would happen - it would turn upwind at the same speed. Some canopies (like my Nitro) like to turn no matter what the wind is doing.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Jun 29, 2005, 3:46 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

I started feeling faint after a 5500 HnP, probably due to the leg straps restricting circulation. It did suck, but I had the benefit of no traffic around me. Kept my arms down for a bit, then sucked it up and focused hard for the landing. Stayed on the ground a few minutes after to recover.

(started shopping for containers)


JohnRich  (D License)

Jun 29, 2005, 4:26 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I guess cutting away and pulling the reserve could increase your chance of surviving such a situation.

This is not directed specifically at you, but at the general readership.

Um, but just because you're feeling a little woozy, doesn't mean you're about to pass out, or for how long. We have to be very careful here, because we don't want a bunch of people to start performing emergency procedures while under perfectly good canopies, just because they got a little dizzy. And what happens if you don't complete the cutaway/reserve pull before you pass out?

Even if they did attempt a cutaway, they might have been better off under their main canopy, then under a reserve that was activated by Cypress at low altitude while tumbling out of control unconscious, and may possibly malfunction. Maybe keeping your altitude and giving yourself time to "come to" before you reach the ground is a better gamble.

Also, I don't think there is any way to know for sure that unconsciousness is certain. The few times in my life it has happened to me, it came as a complete surprise, and I wouldn't have expected it, nor had the time nor ability to do anything as I faded out.

It wouldn't be a pretty situation, and your fate would no longer be in your hands. But cutting-away would be very drastic, maybe more so than usual. Maybe too drastic.

It's an interesting topic for discussion though. And I think you may have finally found something original to talk about here.


(This post was edited by JohnRich on Jun 29, 2005, 4:27 PM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 29, 2005, 4:58 PM
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Re: [JohnRich] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

>Um, but just because you're feeling a little woozy, doesn't mean you're about to pass out . . .

Well, but the original poster said "what if you know you're going to pass out in a few seconds." Take a few cases where this may happen:

A friend of mine, Lupe, once lost a leg due to a collision during deployment. He passed out under canopy; fortunately his main was a large 200+ sq ft canopy and the landing did not further injure him. If such a thing happened to me, I would cut away and get under my reserve before I passed out.

Let's say you are doing a record attempt, and you are accidentally deployed after exit. Without thinking you release your brakes, then discover you are at 25,000 feet. You have about 30 seconds of consciousness at such altitudes. In such a case I might keep the main and trust that a rescue team would see where I was headed (like out to sea) and follow me. Or I might cut the main away _without_ opening the reserve, so I could freefall to a safe altitude before opening the reserve.


tso-d_chris

Jun 29, 2005, 5:24 PM
Post #13 of 87 (1789 views)
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Re: [billvon] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
No it won't. People think that because ANY turn of a canopy that you are trying to keep headed into the wind results in it turning downwind. But if you pointed it downwind, the same thing would happen - it would turn upwind at the same speed. Some canopies (like my Nitro) like to turn no matter what the wind is doing.

I'm seeing an unstable equilibrium (approach into the wind) vs. a stable equalibrium (downwind approach). If it is going down wind, slight variations in airspeed due to slightly dynamic wind speed (unfortunately we do not get to jump in perfectly still air) should tend to orient the canopy down wind. Flying into the wind, however, and those same slight variations are going to cummulatively force the canopy off the wind line.

If I jump a large student canopy (smaller canopies are too sensitive to harness shifts) with no toggle, riser or harness input, experience tells me I will find the canopy slowly orienting itself in a downwind direction. My reserve, however, is much less sensitive to harness input, compared to my main.


sunshine  (D License)

Jun 29, 2005, 5:31 PM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

I landed unconscious before. All i remember is feeling kinda loopy and short of breath under canopy. Never really had time to think about what to do. Just kinda woke up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jun 29, 2005, 11:44 PM
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Re: [tso-d_chris] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
As counter-intuitive as it might seem, I would ideally try to point MY RESERVE (with brakes still stowed)Down wind toward a suitable landing area. My reasoning is that the canopy will maintain a downwind heading more easily than an upwind heading with no input.

Most important is getting under my larger reserve.
Canopies don't "know" if they are upwind or downwind. They will turn or not turn depending on trim, not direction of winds aloft.


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Jun 30, 2005, 2:29 AM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

1) try not to pass out.

2) hell if I actually found myself in such bizarre and random circumstances that I could predict I was going to pass out - I might just tie my breaks round my chest strap (ie one break behind one in front and a simple bow tie in front).

I'm now 3/4 breaks for my canopy. I'd then point myself into wind or to avoid hazards where applicable. Switching to my reserve makes no real difference for me, there's only a couple of square ft in it.

I think its far from likely Id ever find myself in such a situation though. (knock on wood).


Zoter

Jun 30, 2005, 4:15 AM
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Re: [mr2mk1g] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

My experience of a valsalva manouvre in pre syncopal patients is that a 'traditional' valsalva manouvre is not as effective as plain old repeat deep coughing in maintenance of conciousness.
All depends whats its down to......if its cardiac related ....heres my experience

I personally have been involved with at least 3 patients in VT ( Torsade ) and VF who were about to lose conciousness, and I had no access to a Defib and was on my own.
These patients were instructed to cough vigourously....whilst I scuttled away to get help and pick up the defib.......they were all concious enough on return ( granted less than 2mins) to be continuing with their coughing.....all still in VF
They were then instructed to stop coughing and all lost conciousness quickly......
( and all were successfully defibrillated)
Thats gotta be worth something.....


(This post was edited by Zoter on Jun 30, 2005, 4:20 AM)


jmidgley  (C 103474)

Jun 30, 2005, 4:31 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

If I may quote myself from an earlier thread:

"It's an immutable rule that any discussion of flight will eventually resolve into a debate about whether a wing 'knows' whether it's pointing into wind or downwind. "

Hang on while I get a chair...

John


upndownshop  (D 23924)

Jun 30, 2005, 5:26 AM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi,

One of the last incidents in germany made me think of a scenario that could happen which I never have thought of.. Imagine you just made a perfect skydive, openend your canopy, unstowed your brakes and flew for a while.. Suddenly you feel uncomfortable, your vision gets blurry, or you feel sick, you can't breath, whatever.. And you know you are gonna pass out in the next couple seconds. You have a canopy over your head which has a (significant) higher WL than 1.0. What are you gonna do?

Feel free to share any thoughts..

Max

If I may share this experience. My father had a massive heart attack during deployment, killed him instantly (as far as we know). He never released his brakes. He weighed 220# plus gear with a 220 Tri and a G300( i think that whats its called, Strong Parachute) reserve. The winds were about 15 that day. His canopy ultimately turned downwind. When he landed he flipped head over heels and that broke his neck. We are confident the broken neck happened on landing due to the readings from the jump track. When someone is limp under canopy they are usually leaning oneside or another thus creating a slow turn.

This is one of the reasons I recently upsized my main and reserve. Besides getting older. While I dont believe that my PD143 at 200# would let me down slow enough to avoid the same injury, I feel it is better than the PD126.

This was five years ago, he jumped for 41 years practically every weekend. On sort of a happy thought "He died of natural causes in his natural environment."

These scenarios really should make us think about canopy sizing. At least in my opinion.
Hope this applies here.
Good question, one that we may never have a perfect answer to.


(This post was edited by upndownshop on Jun 30, 2005, 5:33 AM)


lowie  (B License)

Jun 30, 2005, 5:51 AM
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Re: [Zoter] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting tip Darren. Not sure I'd be able to cough for that long but would have to be worth a try.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 30, 2005, 6:17 AM
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Re: [tso-d_chris] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

That "old wives' tale" was discredited 25 or 30 years ago, long before I started jumping.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 30, 2005, 6:23 AM
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Re: [Maxx] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

Suspended harness trauma was poorly understood until we started doing tandems enmass. Students usually faint in the first minute after opening.

The most likely causes are:
1. dehydration
2. low blood sugar
3. leg straps impinging on femural artery

... which all lead to blood pooling in the legs and low blood pressure to the brain.
An instructor may be able to shift the harness to improve blood flow.
Another strategy involves telling the student to clench and relax his/her leg muscles repeatedly.


tso-d_chris

Jun 30, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Canopies don't "know" if they are upwind or downwind. They will turn or not turn depending on trim, not direction of winds aloft.

Variations in wind speed will have minor affects on velocity magnitude and direction.


JohnRich  (D License)

Jun 30, 2005, 11:40 AM
Post #24 of 87 (1490 views)
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Re: [billvon] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well, but the original poster said "what if you know you're going to pass out in a few seconds." Take a few cases where this may happen: ...lost a leg due to a collision... accidentally deployed at 25,000 feet...

Those would be highly unusual circumstances. And cutting away may be warranted for those rare cases. But I don't think that it should be your first thought every time you feel a bit woozy.

And I have serious doubts about anyone's ability to predict that they are about to pass out. If they can do that, it's probably because they have some medical condition which they've experienced repeatedly before. And if that's the case, they shouldn't be jumping to start with. Ack!


tso-d_chris

Jun 30, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Becoming unconscious under open canopy [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
That "old wives' tale" was discredited 25 or 30 years ago, long before I started jumping.

I went about modeling the effects mathematically, and came to these conclusions regarding a canopy's tendency to orient itself into a downwind heading:

1. It depends on where upon the chord line that chord line intersects the vertical axis on which the CG is located. The farther forward, the less likely the canopy will try to orient itself downwind. At the halfway point, the effects should be noticeable.

2. It depends on the area and curvature of the airfoil profile.

3. It depends on the changing winds. Light and variable winds will have a significantly smaller effect than strong, gusting or steadily increasing winds.

4. Since momentum is a function of velocity relative to the Earth, it takes more force to overcome the inertia of a canopy flying downwind versus one that is flying into the wind.

I'm not trying to imply that your canopy will hookturn to a downwind heading if left without user input. But, with a downwind heading most canopies are going to be most resistant to the effects of the little inevitable changes in air velocity. So sooner or later, with zero pilot input, the canopy is more likely than not to end up downwind or close to it.


(This post was edited by tso-d_chris on Jun 30, 2005, 5:09 PM)


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