Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
Should we be concerned for newbies?

 

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bigway

May 8, 2009, 3:46 AM
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Should we be concerned for newbies? Can't Post

Over the past eight weeks I have sold fourteen new rigs to new jumpers to the sport. Eleven of these new jumpers have all asked for soft reserve handles initially.
I personally feel that this is a terrible choice for a new jumper until they have experienced a cut away and the pressure involved with the metal dring they were trained on.
What is the rush for them to be getting reserve handles that match the feel of their cutaway and why all the sudden is this the handle of choice?
One newbie said, do not give me a soft reserve handle cause I don't want to worry about what is what for my first cut away. This jumper is going to go far thinking like that, but why do all the others need a soft reserve handle. I am scared shitless that one of these new jumpers is going to really fuck things up by pulling the wrong one if they are having a scary as hell moment when needing their reserve. Some reserve rides can be relaxed with a bit of time to think but what about if one is a panik, surely this could spell dissaster.

What I want to know is what experienced jumpers think about this and what newbies think about it.

Also should it be mandatory that "a" licensed jumpers have a metal reserve handle like they are trained on?

I like to think I am responsible when it comes to selling gear so I would like to know what you instructors and vetrans think about it.

Sure I can just say no to them, I know that. Personally I just explain my beleifs to them.

Cheers and I do hope to hear some constructive posts on the matter from all experience levels.

Cheers.


Teigen  (B License)

May 8, 2009, 3:55 AM
Post #2 of 63 (2349 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Here in Norway i think we have a mandatory 200 jump thing before you can get a rig with soft reserve handles.. Im not sure its 200 though, could be 100


Baksteen  (C 708753)

May 8, 2009, 4:39 AM
Post #3 of 63 (2321 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Bigway, it's great to see that you take this and other issues so seriously.

In reply to:
What is the rush for them to be getting reserve handles that match the feel of their cutaway and why all the sudden is this the handle of choice?

Simple. All the cool kids have them. Unsure
I think most of them don't even consider the safety aspects of their new gear - looking cool is all that matters.

Guys, we're jumping out of frickin' airplanes, for god's sake! How much cooler can you get?

Yes, my gear matches too - but the matching colours were a coincidental bonus of being unable to find the main I chose second hand..I reasoned if I had to shell out fourteen hundred euros for a canopy, it could damn well have the colours I like.
But that doesn't keep me from looking like an idiot when I botch a landing in my matching gear...

In skydiving too much emphasis is placed on looking/being cool and too little on safety ("So-and-so has trouble standing up their landings, even at twelve jumps.." "Dude - you still using that POS analog altimeter?" "I don't need an AAD!")

Buying gear custom and new, not for the perceived technology/safety but because 'everyone does it' and for the matching colours is plain stupid... so are soft reserve handles, a small main canopy (who'd want to fly a 190 sq ft 'boat'?) with an even smaller reserve....I think some people lose track of what it is we're actually doing. Sure, it's fun and maybe even relaxing. Let's go grab some wind!
Just don't forget what the consequenses will be if you fuck up.

Stupid hurts.


BKR

May 8, 2009, 4:40 AM
Post #4 of 63 (2318 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a terrible choice, a friend of mine died using my own rig (when no add existed) because of this. Problem comes from several "local sky gods" who say it is dangerous to have a metal reserve handle when free flying....stupid, idiot.....


pilotdave  (D License)

May 8, 2009, 4:50 AM
Post #5 of 63 (2311 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

How many of em got custom embroidery on the reserve handle? That seems to be one of the common reasons for wanting a soft handle.

Dave


bigway

May 8, 2009, 4:58 AM
Post #6 of 63 (2306 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies. Glad to see I am not the only one concerned. Also glad to see a manufacturer of containers also think it is stupid.

I dont think it is stupid as such, I just think it is a uneducated decision. I can understand the cool factor of skydiving toys, hell, everything i own is damn fucking cool, not just skydiving but in my house as well. I love cool. I just think it comes down to education, I just hope I remember to educate all my customers on my beliefs when they are new to the sport.

I do not think it would be any harm that a the UK or USA made a mandatory rule that you must have 100 skydives on your OWN FIRST rig before you jump a soft reserve handle.
This way at least that newbie jumper is sitting in a plane doing their drills with the metal handle. I do my drills about ten times in every plane i am in. So that would be a thousand drills in total plus the 1000 on the ground in those 100 jumps. So that would drill it into my head, alot better than some of these 40 jump guys getting soft reserve handles straight away anyway.


Im not bagging on these guys, I dont believe they have actually given it as much thought or have been in the sport long enough to see anything eye openning enough to make them think about it.

Hopefully this thread willl change a few minds and i will get some emails asking me to change a few orders.


bigway

May 8, 2009, 5:00 AM
Post #7 of 63 (2301 views)
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In reply to:
How many of em got custom embroidery on the reserve handle? That seems to be one of the common reasons for wanting a soft handle.

Dave

Two, maybe three.

Good point though. I think that s a common case as well.


(This post was edited by bigway on May 8, 2009, 5:00 AM)


virgin-burner

May 8, 2009, 5:01 AM
Post #8 of 63 (2298 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

i dont know, but if you've done your homework, and practice every time you jump to FIRST pull right, THEN left, i cant really see a problem with it; yet, i havent had a reserve, and i'm jumping a metal handle coz thats what the rig came with. and a rigger asked me if i didnt want to get it changed to a soft one..

if i was getting a new rig, i'd probably go for the soft handles too, but without the custom embroidery.. Tongue


bigway

May 8, 2009, 5:11 AM
Post #9 of 63 (2286 views)
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Re: [virgin-burner] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well I can say that my first reserve ride I actually was luckily enough to have the time to sit there, look at my handles, make absolute sure that i was about to pull the first one right and then the reserve. It had been drilled into me over and over, hell i was on a diploma course in skydiving so you can be sure as hell in this government funded skydiving school that we sat in the classroom for days on end practising our emergency drills, still though, my first reserve ride i had to visually check to make sure i was going to pull the correct handle the first time. I would have been fucked if it was a high speed malfunction and both handles were red cause then i would have had to look to see what one had the metal cord attached.
Now some manufacturers are making the reserve handles out of spectra, that surely would of fucked with me if i had to look down and see two red handles.

So, i have to disagree with you, doing your homework is theory, being in a malfunction situation is practical and you do not know how you will react until you have had one.

Dont get me wrong it can actually be very calming having a malfunction as you are trained to not panik and deal with the situation, but on your first one you sure as hell will double think to make sure you are pulling the right one. Cause if you do panik just a little bit and pull the wrong one, more than likely it is GAME OVER


Baksteen  (C 708753)

May 8, 2009, 5:26 AM
Post #10 of 63 (2278 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This way at least that newbie jumper is sitting in a plane doing their drills with the metal handle. I do my drills about ten times in every plane i am in. So that would be a thousand drills in total plus the 1000 on the ground in those 100 jumps.

The kind of person I'm concerned about would just bitch about overregulation and keep lounging in the back of the aircraft, cheststrap undone, legstraps loose until they'd fulfilled the mandatory requirement.. or gear up properly, but jump in their boxers because the cool kids are doing it tooUnsure

It's 'uneducated' until someone talks to them.

The kind of person who is simply uneducated will hopefully see sense when someone explains to them why that stuff is inadvisable.

If not, I reclassify them as stupid..and while I can't stop them from getting on the airplane, I sure as hell can mock them when they return from the LZ sporting the very road rash I predicted. Angelic


kelpdiver  (B 7)

May 8, 2009, 5:54 AM
Post #11 of 63 (2259 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

the smaller D ring handle offered by Wings (and I'm sure others) seemed to be the counter solution to those really worried about FF issues. But I look at it and think about switching back anyway, it's definitely much smaller to grab and I've not yet tested that in a real situation.


virgin-burner

May 8, 2009, 6:12 AM
Post #12 of 63 (2236 views)
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In reply to:
So, i have to disagree with you, doing your homework is theory, being in a malfunction situation is practical and you do not know how you will react until you have had one.
In reply to:

thats why i've pointed out that i've never had one.. Smile

i dont really know, but the past has shown that people in stress-situations usually do what they were training to do.

i dont really know how much jumps you have, i think i've read around 100, at least thats what your post further up implied!? when happened that malfunction?

for whats its worth, i think pretty much all our freshly licensed jumpers that bought new gear, went with the soft version. this is just an observation..


LuckyMcSwervy  (B 32709)

May 8, 2009, 6:12 AM
Post #13 of 63 (2236 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

As a total newbie who is getting ready to order my first new rig, anything but a metal reserve handle makes me uncomfortable right now.

When the time comes for my 1st cutaway I'm sure my training and EP practice drills will kick right in and I'll be peeling the cutaway handle and then punching out the metal handle. It's so ingrained in my head to reach for the reserve handle with my thumb through the handle..... a soft reserve would mess with my brain. In the future, maybe my opinion will change, but in the foreseeable future, it's metal for me.

Just my .02.


(This post was edited by LuckyMcSwervy on May 8, 2009, 6:14 AM)


LyraM45  (B 26378)

May 8, 2009, 6:16 AM
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Re: [kelpdiver] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Bingo-- you brought up exactly what I was going to post about. I got the low profile D-ring on my new wings last year, and it's great! Definitely takes care of the "snag hazard" everybody talks about as their excuse for getting soft pad handle.

For me... I would rather look uncool and be unbroken at the same time. Crazy


bigway

May 8, 2009, 6:23 AM
Post #15 of 63 (2223 views)
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Re: [virgin-burner] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a few more than 100 jumps.
My first malfunction was about 8 years ago on jump 60 something. I got my racer lines caught on the door handle as i left the plane, hang from the door until the handle broke and i fell free with lines wrapped around my arm. Once i got it away from my arms, i pulled the main out and then it was a mess so i cut away. had a bit of time as it was a slow malfunction.

My second malfunction was 2 weeks later on jump 1001 or 102. That was just problems with not being able to open two end cells on each side of the canopy. some say i should not have cut but i lost alot of ground tying to open the cells so i cut.

My third malfunction was on jump 500 and something a few years ago and that was a high speed malfunction, where again i also had a glance before cutting away.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

May 8, 2009, 6:27 AM
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not concerned.

Pulling a soft reserve handle is no more difficult than pulling a soft cutaway handle. In fact, in many situations, it's quite a bit easier than pulling a soft cutaway handle. Hard pulls on the reserve are less common than hard cutaways.

Soft reserve handles work just fine.

Ultimately, I would prefer that new jumpers use the same equipment that they're being trained on. All things being equal, this puts the onus on the schools to use student gear that resembles sport gear. In a perfect world, schools would switch to soft handles, simply because they seem to be popular right now, and work just fine.

I have not seen any evidence to indicated different shaped handles help with pull order recall.

Our obsession with the reserve handle being a hard handle seems mostly historic. They're that way because they've always been that way, going all the way back to before we were using piggyback containers. As progressive jumpers switch to soft handles, there does not appear to be a safety decrease.

There's a lot of reasons why we should be concerned for newbies. This list sometimes includes downsizing too fast, poor instruction, poor quality of student gear, and ultimately ego inflation. Soft reserve handles work just fine and are not one of the things I worry about.

_Am


(AFF, TM, Senior Rigger)


ROK  (D 30092)

May 8, 2009, 6:35 AM
Post #17 of 63 (2204 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

First...

There are always going to be choices that are either good or bad. I don't believe we should regulate everything to the Nth degree. Be smart enough to make informed choices that go beyond the cool factor.

I ordered a brand new rig a little over a year ago. I also ordered soft handles. More for the cool factor than anything else.

In the mean time while I was waiting for my rig to be built I had a total mal during a wingsuit flight. The resulting aerial acrobatics I was performing made it difficult to see my handles. Lots of material everywhere. I easily located that steel handle just by feel.

I had two thoughts when I landed shortly after deploying. The first was "I'm glad I have a cypress" (even though I deployed with plenty of altitude before it would have fired), the second was "I'm calling and changing my new rig reserve handle back to steel".

I like the fact that I can reach down and feel that well designed piece of metal when I need too. I don't have to worry whether what I'm pulling on is harness, wing, or anyting else.

I know a lot of people who have soft handles and have never had a problem when needing to use it, but for me, I'm sticking to steel.

Peace


Baksteen  (C 708753)

May 8, 2009, 6:51 AM
Post #18 of 63 (2186 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not just newbs we should be concerned about... The other day i pointed out to a very experienced jumper that his cutaway and (soft) reserve handle were the same colour as his jumpsuit. He just looked at me as if I was an idiot.

In reply to:
In a perfect world, schools would switch to soft handles, simply because they seem to be popular right now, and work just fine.

You make some valid points - however, I d not agree with the above quote. I'm worried that a soft handle for a FJC student would be confusing...
Some of them persist in pulling in the wrong sequence even with the current system. Let alone when the handles would be similar - even if the handles were different colours.

We frequently read/hear about or deal with students who get overwhelmed on their first jump.. let's not add to the confusion when a reserve procedure is needed on that first jump. Smile


virgin-burner

May 8, 2009, 6:52 AM
Post #19 of 63 (2182 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

friggin' hell, u have A LOT of experience with mals! Laugh

all i really know is, my rig's pretty - uhm - lets say well-used, so coolness factor does not play a role; i'm fine with steel for now, i think the small d-ring steel thingies are pretty cool too, cant see what makes soft handles bercool. so, if i ever order new, i'll probably go with the small version.

the point made further up that they are easy to locate on wingsuit-flights makes sense too, and since thats what i'm doing mostly now..

as a general observation, being a licensed skydiver means you're cleared to take care of yourself. in that respect, regulating things too much, is kinda out of line..

uh well.. Smile


shropshire  (C License)

May 8, 2009, 7:23 AM
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gary, I like your attitude.

I also like my old fashioned big metal ring reserve handle - used one twice and never missed or fumbled it, so will stick with one for the foreseeable future.

But I'm not one of the cool kids and don't need cool kit,so what do I know?


(This post was edited by shropshire on May 8, 2009, 7:24 AM)


Premier likestojump  (D License)

May 8, 2009, 7:30 AM
Post #21 of 63 (2135 views)
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Re: [bigway] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

my 2 most recent cutaways were while wearing a Wingsuit. I am quite certain that I do not want a soft reserve handle for those jumps with my arms already as restricted as they were. Both were caused by fast spinning malfunctions. Low profile D-ring is what I am sticking with.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

May 8, 2009, 7:35 AM
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In reply to:
You make some valid points - however, I d not agree with the above quote. I'm worried that a soft handle for a FJC student would be confusing...

Again.... I've not seen any evidence that handle shape helps with pull order recall.

I don't think we should be pressuring students to pick one piece of gear or another without actual evidence.

I don't know of any DZ's that use soft handles on their student gear, so it's hard to compare real data. However, recent jumpers buying new gear is a reasonable approximation of student jumps - especially since most students don't have a real emergency during their student progression. Most jumpers experience their first real malfunction on their own gear in their later phases of learning.

So... If new jumpers are buying soft handles, (it sounds like they are), and soft handles are a safety issue, then we'd see a statistical increase in accidents caused by that new component. Soft handles have been popular for some time now, and we haven't seen that statistical increase. New jumpers everywhere are using these things, and they're not having a problem.

That's hard evidence that these things are safe for new jumpers.

It also suggests that they are safe for students, since there's little difference between students and new jumpers.

_Am


AndyMan  (D 25698)

May 8, 2009, 7:42 AM
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In reply to:
my 2 most recent cutaways were while wearing a Wingsuit. I am quite certain that I do not want a soft reserve handle for those jumps with my arms already as restricted as they were. Both were caused by fast spinning malfunctions. Low profile D-ring is what I am sticking with.

I don't think you're wrong, and I do think your opinion is valid....

But I am curious. If the metal ring is so much better, why are you sticking with a soft cutaway pillow? It sounds like you think there's an awfully big downside to having one.

_Am


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
Moderator
May 8, 2009, 7:45 AM
Post #24 of 63 (2109 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

I disagree about ease of use. I have 18 reserve rides - 1 of which was on a soft handle. That one took me longer to find it, was harder to feel, and took longer to pull (had to remember to peel off the velcro.)

That was reserve ride either 17 or 18 so it wasn't like I was a rookie at this. It disturbed me enough that I didn't jump the rig again until I had a hard handle installed.


Premier likestojump  (D License)

May 8, 2009, 7:49 AM
Post #25 of 63 (2105 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Should we be concerned for newbies? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
my 2 most recent cutaways were while wearing a Wingsuit. I am quite certain that I do not want a soft reserve handle for those jumps with my arms already as restricted as they were. Both were caused by fast spinning malfunctions. Low profile D-ring is what I am sticking with.

I don't think you're wrong, and I do think your opinion is valid....

But I am curious. If the metal ring is so much better, why are you sticking with a soft cutaway pillow? It sounds like you think there's an awfully big downside to having one.

_Am

huh ? I think you misread what I wrote. I have a metal Dring, and intend to stick with it.

I have jumped plenty of rigs with soft handles, and was not concerned about them, however in having also pulled plenty of dring and soft handles during repacks I personally felt that it's A LOT easier to pull the D in any direction as opposed to the soft handle - that may really make someone unhappy in whatever fucked up and weird body positions some people end up in. coupled with lack of experience and thus the onset of extreme fear and/or already built-up anxiety that newbies may have - may just be a recipe for another AAD fire :)


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