May 22, 2006, 11:05 AM
Post #1 of 15
I am sure that everyone has or will have a hard opening, some real slammers. I whilst still on my consols used a parachute that a few of the other students told me was fast opening.
Good I thought that'll do me. When I let go the pilot chute, the opening sequence seemed like an instant. my chin hit my chest hard and I was somewhat hurting. Now as I sit and write this there is no way I can get my chin onto my chest (if standing upright) and a certainly cannot get my chin to bounce into my breastbone. But, on that opening ( a Paratec 230 I seem to remember).
I later though that had my head been turned left or right, I could have popped a disc torn muscles. I recently read a thread about a new skydiver who had a superhard opening and broke his neck. I accept there is always going to be the one in a million that just comes along no matter how careful we are. However it got me thinking. So does anyone think it a really dumb idea, to wear (as a personal option) a neck guard, like pro football players wear.
I am not sugggesting surgical collars , more of a large sausage shape made of foam, that goes around your neck, that limits the extend of downward movement and avoid traumatic hyperflexion of the neck.
As I say just a thought, is it too impractical/ being overly cautious, or an idea worth developing.
I had a brilliant idea once.....can't remember what it was though.
> So does anyone think it a really dumb idea, to wear (as a personal > option) a neck guard, like pro football players wear.
1) It may be a snag hazard depending on design.
2) If it restricts your ability to look around, it will probably do a lot more harm than good. A hard opening may hurt, but colliding with someone at 200 feet because you can't turn your head as far is a lot worse.
3) If it restricts your ability to look down, it may interfere with your ability to see your handles in an emergency.
IMO don't try to watch the canopy open, head up, eyes on the horizon! You have your head cranked round to one side and have an opening hammer you it's going to be much worse on your neck! Also, try to "stand up a bit" on throw, after slowing down from the track, feet on your butt, arms way out in front, so you're a bit head high. When you throw, have the left hand out as far above your head as you can so you're not dipping down head low. Also, in my personal experience if you (or let some dip shit pack for you) forget to uncollapse your slider, you're going to see stars!
When I let go the pilot chute, the opening sequence seemed like an instant.
"Instant openings" are usually caused by sloppy packing. Either the packer forgot to un-cock the slider, forgot to push the slider all the way to the top of the lines, or got lazy with line stows. A fancy collar will not help with any of those problems, far wiser to hire a new packer.
One method I've used to reduce the effects of expected hard openings is to brace for it -- crossing my arms in front of my neck, tensing and bringing shoulders up and chin down to support my head, preventing it from moving. Very effective for me.
All that is a bit much if not expecting a hard opening. For any opening one can at least face directly forward and not have one's head craned too far forward (or back), which would allow a hard opening to tend to snap one's head forward (or back), injuring the neck.
Of course none of this should stop anyone from trying to find ways to make the canopy open consistently softer.
One would rather have a 'hard opening' with a single rapid but smooth deceleration, than an opening where one gets bounced and whipped around. That's particularly tough on one's neck.
(My hard opening experience was while jumping a Sabre 1 135 during big-way jumps, where from the outer row we had a long track and my flare out of the track was often short.)
(This post was edited by pchapman on May 23, 2006, 11:50 AM)
You might want to go see a doctor on that. With my bad opening, I had thought I had fractured my C1 (according to an XRay interpreted by my chiropractor) for 3 months. I did have a concussion. Later on, my doctor had the Xray reviewed and said it wasn't conclusive. But regardless, he allowed me to get PT which helped tremendously. I had definitely ripped a lot of muscles in my neck and back.
Anyway, I do jump with a foam neck collar now. I just don't want to take any chances anymore. Yes, I get razzed, but they hadn't experienced the kind of opening I had. It is harder to swivel your head with a collar, obviously. I've gotten use to it, though, at least for CRW. I don't see any kind of snag factor involved on it either.
Oh, one other definite pro.... It's definitely nice and cozy in the winter time.
You can simply use your own 'neck guard', your muscles. If your jumping with cameras on your head, it always pays to do exercises for neck/throat for extra stability. Even if you buy a slow-opening canopy, you can always end up having to use your reserve and that will save your life rather than your neck..