Not in a controlled environment. It's just a metal loop velcro'd into a pocket. When you pull, you're pulling a metal cable through a metal housing. The hardest part about pulling it is breaking the super thin rigger's thread.
Now think about it when you're in the air. You're 15 seconds from going in and you're probably spinning. Centrifugal force may be pulling your arms from your chest and your handle may be everywhere. You finally get your hands on it and that velcro's not going to be the easiest thing you've ever worked on. After all, the velcro pocket has only been opened about 5 times... ever. The adrenaline should take care of all of that... just make sure you're pulling on the right thing.
This may sound stupid but I don't know too much about gear....since a reserve has to be taken out and repacked every so often, could you practice pulling the handle right before it has to be packed just to see what it feels like? And in the suspended training harness, is the real thing that easy?
I've had no problem pulling my reserve handle, 3 times. And I'm a girl. Twice on my sport rig and once on a tandem. Trust me, you'll be 10 times stronger than you normally are at the moment you'll need to pull that bad boy. Next time your rig is due pull the handles and see!
not too much arm strength so I keep thinking about my RSL failing and not being able to get the reserve out
Please, please, please. do not ever rely on your RSL to do something you should be doing... The harness is a great idea. So is pulling the handle before a repack (please talk to your rigger first). And, as important as anything else, learning how the gear works. Once you exit the airplane, you're not much without your gear... Please take note of my lack of experience though when it comes to following my advices. Please check with your instructors.
I've had three reserve rides and not a single one was difficult to pull. NOW the cutaway was a tad difficult to pull on my last spinetto ride.
The hardest part about pulling it is breaking the super thin rigger's thread.
You understand that you can break that thread with your hands right? it just doesn't add much of anything to the pull. NOW if your rigger accidently puts red Ethread in there...your gonna have a HELLA time pulling that thing.
Also tightness of the pack job and closing loop length play a greater degree in difficulty of pull.
The hardest part of pulling a reserve is NOT breaking the seal thread. Often, it's getting the handle out of the pocket. Many people get in the habit of squeezing the reserve handle velcro every gear check. This just sets it more and more.
By law, without the seal thread, the reserve is not supposed to take more than 22 pounds to pull. This is not insignificant but many reserves don't approach that level. Plan on using two hands and push out from the chest.
Please DO pull your own reserve when and if you have your own rig. If you don't have your own yet, ask the DZO and a rigger on site if they have a rig that needs to be opened and if you can pull it. If so, try to do this in a hanging trainer, or at least put the rig on.
If you have your own rig please don't pull the reserve without your rigger present or asking him if it's okay. While you can do what you want with your rig, most riggers like to see the condition of the rig still packed, the PC launch, and the condition of the rig as the bag is removed as if opening. This lets us look for external damage that might indicate internal damage, the quality of the appearance of the reserve container, the appropriateness of the loop length, the way the bulk of the canopy was distributed so if the appearance needed help we can change it, etc. etc. Also if the rig is open there is more of a chance of damaging something during transport. Many riggers also check the previous pack jobs pull force. This can be done in some instances with out pulling the pin(s) completely so you can still pull it.
Also, ask if you can watch your or another reserve being packed. This shouldn't be a problem. I let people watch, but I tell them they actually get a better pack job if they don't. I'm not distracted by questions. One jumper immediately replied "Well then I'll just watch someone elses."
As to relying on an RSL. A RSL only pulls a reserve in the event of a cutaway FROM an open/partially open canopy. Not for a total malfunction, even if you pull your cutaway handle anyway. I had a customer and friend with a few hundred jumps get low, hurry his PC throw, get it wrapped around the front of him. He pulled his cutaway and for an instant thought "the RSL will pull the reserve". Luckily he realized he was WRONG and pull it himself. This was pre cypres and no AAD. Please learn how each component of your system works and doesn't work. Make your decisions about your emergency procedure on the GROUND before you need them, practice them routinely preferably in a hanging trainer (which can be made for about $50), and be confident that WHEN (not if) you have a malfunction you can handle it fine. Almost all of us have.
I was just wondering...is it hard (physically) to pull your reserve handle??
I only struggled a little on my last one, mainly because I had moved to a reserve pillow, and forgot to 'peel' before pulling the reserve. Once it was out of the velcro, no problems! This is despite the fact that I had pulled that handle on the ground at least 2 or 3 times before repacks.
I have now ordered a low profile handle, which will go on at the next repack.
Sep 22, 2005, 8:02 AM
Post #16 of 77
Re: [skytash] Is it hard to pull reserve?
[In reply to]
If you deliver your container to your rigger for a repack and tell them your concerns, they'll let you pull your reserve handle and deploy the PC. You should, it will give you some valuable feedback and remove your concerns. I use the two-hand down-and-out technique and it's no strain that way, never tried it one-handed. If you don't have a hanging harness, you can lay across a chair or the arm of a couch to do it, that seems pretty realistic.
Sep 22, 2005, 8:05 AM
Post #17 of 77
Re: [councilman24] Is it hard to pull reserve?
[In reply to]
In reply to:
Many people get in the habit of squeezing the reserve handle velcro every gear check. This just sets it more and more.
But surely since everyone is 'peeling their pads' first thing in the morning during the comprehensive gear check that every skydiver makes daily, to confirm the condition of the rig (3 ring, bits of string, yellow thing, bungees in place around legs and chest straps, pins in place, cypres on... etc!) the velcro will only get 'more and more' set during the course of maybe 5-10 jumps? and then be loosened a bit the next day?!
Or do some skydivers not check their kit over fully each morning?
I did pull tests years ago to determine if you could pull harder with a stainless ripcord handle than you could with a solid core pud. Everybody could pull over 60 lbs. with both hands. Most men, well over 100 lbs. One of my female riggers beat everyone with a two handed pull of 185 lbs. The point is, you won't even notice a 22 lb. pull.
By the way, people could generate roughly the same forces with either kind of handle. The main trouble with pud reserve handles is that they are harder (take longer) to locate, and are nearly impossible to pull with an injured hand. So make sure you have a definite need (cost vs. benefit) before you go to a pud reserve handle...especially if you wear gloves or a helmet that obscures your downward vision.