Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
I packed myself a malfunction...

 


Nataly  (C 41225)

Sep 9, 2013, 9:56 AM
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I packed myself a malfunction... Can't Post

I mentioned this briefly in bonfire, but thought I'd elaborate here so more people could learn from my mistakes...

The short version: I did not set my brakes. 100% my fault.

Here is some background... I am getting back into the sport after a 4-year break. I have 250 jumps, MOST of which I did in 2004 - 2005... Before getting back in the air, I brushed up on my knowledge, planned to do a solo jumps, pulling at 5k, at a DZ I am familiar with. That jump went fine.

So I land, put my handles back up where they belong but DID NOT SET THE BRAKES Crazy... I packed, and it felt weird... Like all my lines were "low"... I was not happy with it - something was telling me it wasn't right. So I walked back to the rig (but did not pay attention to the brakes), walked the lines again, shook out the canopy again, and started over. It felt exactly as weird as before, so I told myself I was being paranoid and everything was fine.

When I threw my pilot chute, I had a very snivelly opening... I was looking at it and it looked inflated on each side, but messy/collapsed in the middle. The slider had come down (not entirely sure if it came down all the way). I thought maybe I could shake it out (for it to fully inflate). This put the canopy into a teeny ball and me into a RAPID spin - I didn't fuck around, I chopped. It was 2,700 ft when I decided to try and shake it. I chopped almost immediately after this. The next time I thought to look at my altitude (once I was sure the reserve was fully opened) it was 1,700 ft.

I let go of my main handle (cursing at myself as I did so), pulled my reserve handle despite having an RSL (don't want to rely on anything that is meant to be a back-up) and kept a death-grip on that one! Landed without a problem. Got everything back within less than 5 minutes Smile Well, all but my handle... 2 hours later, my gear was ready to be jumped again Cool

WHAT I DID WRONG
- After so long away from the sport, I should have asked someone to watch me pack, to be sure I did not miss anything. 4 years is a long time - you can forget important, obvious things you would NEVER miss when you are current.

- When the pack-job felt wrong, I should have listened to my gut. I have packed this same canopy over 200 times... It felt wrong and it WAS wrong.

- I should have paid better attention to whether my slider had come all the way down - if not, I could have waited a teeny bit to see if it did come all the way down (I still had a bit of altitude to spare - not much, though... Maybe 1 or 2 seconds...).

- Instead of "shaking" my canopy, perhaps I could have flared for a bit and this *may* have finished inflating the canopy. (Would be curious to hear opinions on this, as this was the advice given by the rigger.)

- I could have held on to both my handles, but honestly this is not important.

WHAT I DID RIGHT
- I planned to take it easy on my first couple of jumps and err on the side of caution (ie: not jumping with a bunch of people or doing anything complicated or taking any unnecessary risks).

- I did not pull at the lowest possible altitude - this gave me a bit of time to deal with a problem.

- AS SOON AS my canopy began spinning (and it went very fast), I did not hesitate to chop.

- I went over it with the rigger because I did not fully understand what had happened - I thought possibly a line-over because of the mess in the middle and the sides being inflated, but it didn't *look* like any line was over the canopy. The rigger confirmed it did not seem like a line-over... When he was going through everything, he asked if I had unset the brakes and I said I had not touched them... He showed me - they were not properly set - just "there"... Well, there you go...

_____

So there... Very embarassing, to say the least. Totally preventable. Biggest lesson for me: 4 years is a long time - you don't remember everything... Ask questions, be honest about where you're coming from, your currency, your skill level, and don't hesitate to be extra cautious.

Oh, and set your fucking brakes!! BlushUnimpressed


dreaming13000  (B 35508)

Sep 9, 2013, 12:18 PM
Post #2 of 16 (3969 views)
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

 I have had one time where I had packed the entire parachute and as I was putting it in the container and placing the risers where they belonged I noticed I had not properly stowed my brakes MadMad As you mentioned, the entire pack job did not feel right, the lines seemed different etc.... So I got to re pack my parachute, but I also had a nice smooth opening :)


Backintothesky

Sep 9, 2013, 1:41 PM
Post #3 of 16 (3812 views)
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

Nataly wrote:
I let go of my main handle

I'm surpised it opened at all if you kept hold of the "main handle" Wink

Where were you jumping? I live in the south of France too and am looking to start jumping at Pujaut though any tips for DZs would be useful!


Arvoitus  (D 3917)

Sep 9, 2013, 3:11 PM
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you mean by shaking? Did you grab the lines/risers and shake them sideways or what?

I've intentionally left the brakes unset just to see what happens. Rather unsurprisingly it was just a very snivelly/lazy opening with maybe 5 cells inflated. And yes, flaring did/does inflate it.


Nataly  (C 41225)

Sep 10, 2013, 1:42 AM
Post #5 of 16 (3415 views)
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Re: [Arvoitus] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

Arvoitus wrote:
What do you mean by shaking? Did you grab the lines/risers and shake them sideways or what?

Exactly. I grabbed the risers and shook vigorously. In hindsight, this may have been what prevented it from fully inflating, and the spin definitely started from this point.


potatoman  (Student)

Sep 10, 2013, 2:21 AM
Post #6 of 16 (3367 views)
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

Good post, and a good idea not to fuck around too much. If you are spinning wildly, you are going to loose track of alti, and also fixate on a problem. Chop it!!!

Note: Don't teach people how to pack. Crazy


crotalus01  (B 28932)

Sep 10, 2013, 10:19 PM
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Re: [potatoman] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

I jumped with a girl that had a Batwing 135 (ish - in that range anyways) and she never set her brakes. Said it helped with the openings. I guess it tended to open hard? Never thought to ask her....


erdnarob  (D 364)

Sep 12, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Re: [dreaming13000] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

Nataly, I am a rigger in Canada # K0026A. If you are interested in receiving the documents (6) and sketches I am providing to new packers when I give a packing course, just let me know. You can even write to me in French.


thomas.n.thomas  (A 65931)

Sep 12, 2013, 3:26 PM
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

At what point would you say that the initial "this must not be right" feeling from inexperience becomes the "this must not be right" feeling because it's not right?

So far, I have jumped my own packjob 5 times, and each time I had this lingering unease, mostly about grouping the lines and flaking. Never had a problem so far, but I did have one harder than normal opening because I think I didn't get the slider all the way down to the stops.

I'm definitely of the mindset that if something feels wrong, stop and reset (e.g., pulled myself off a load when I didn't feel all together one time), but how much of the general nervousness vs specific concern are you talking about with this particular incident?


Nataly  (C 41225)

Sep 13, 2013, 3:24 AM
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Re: [thomas.n.thomas] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to put things into perspective, I have packed this same parachute over 200 times... So for me, I know it quite well, but I thought since it's been 4 years from the last time I packed, my mind was playing tricks on me and I was being paranoid. But it definifetely felt wrong (because it was).

If at your level, you have doubts about your packing, don't hesitate to go back to a person who is qualified to teach you to pack (ideally the person you learned from) and show them step by step how you do it, explaining what you're doing at the same time. Do this when you are not manifested so you have time to really focus. When you've only packed a couple of times (5 in your case), chances are you don't yet feel confident about your newly learned skills. This is normal, especially considering your parachute is what is going to save your life!!

The only way to feel more confident that it will open ok is to keep packing and keep jumping your pack jobs. When in doubt, ask. And personally, I don't manifest until my parachute is already packed. You might wait longer between jumps, but this takes the pressure off and sometimes you find you pack even faster when you are not in a hurry!! In the long run, I prefer to have a little peace of mind, even if it means doing 6 jumps in a day instead of 7 Tongue


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Sep 13, 2013, 8:23 AM
Post #11 of 16 (2268 views)
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

LaughLaugh Glad you're okay. Now you really, really current on your EP's, aren't you?

I've started pack jobs without the brakes set too, but realized because, yes, the canopy felt "funny" as I was flaking it. Smile

You'll have to buy beer for this. Tongue

And then bring it to Seattle. WinkSmile


nigel99  (D 1)

Sep 13, 2013, 5:25 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
LaughLaugh Glad you're okay. Now you really, really current on your EP's, aren't you?

I've started pack jobs without the brakes set too, but realized because, yes, the canopy felt "funny" as I was flaking it. Smile

You'll have to buy beer for this. Tongue

And then bring it to Seattle. WinkSmile

For my packer B test, the guys chopped the canopy and tangled it up. Spent an hour untangling everything and hooking it up only to very nearly fail the test due to not stowing the brakes. Like you and Nat have both said it felt 'odd', basically the tail was in the wrong place.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Sep 15, 2013, 9:01 PM
Post #13 of 16 (1788 views)
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Re: [nigel99] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

nigel99 wrote:
For my packer B test, the guys chopped the canopy and tangled it up. Spent an hour untangling everything and hooking it up only to very nearly fail the test due to not stowing the brakes. Like you and Nat have both said it felt 'odd', basically the tail was in the wrong place.
The devil is in the details, eh? WinkLaugh

Sounds like my years in ATC. Laugh

BTW, I've got a trick or two at untangling. Wish I could have been there to help.Smile


erdnarob  (D 364)

Sep 16, 2013, 2:11 PM
Post #14 of 16 (1612 views)
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Re: [Nataly] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am setting my brakes and uncollapse my slider immediately after landing and where I land. IMO it's the best way to avoid messing up with the lines and in case you have a packer, this is the way he/she likes it. Packing and packing doesn't make you better in the case your packing course was given by somebody the kind "do it that way" without explaining the purpose of each step. It takes more than 200 packings to be able to do some malfunction statitics. In your case, the question is "why do we have to set up the canopy on brake for opening ?". If you could answer that you are not likely to forget it. Also after 4-5 years on stopping jumping, why didn't you ask somebody to watch you while packing. You should also have done some emergency procedures preferably on a suspended harness with an actual fall on something soft. You can even lose your canopy after cut it away in some windy circumstances.
If you were an aircraft pilot, no way you could go back in the air by yourself, not after giving up flying for 4-5 years. As a skydiver, you should consider you as a pilot, a canopy pilot and behave accordingly. After all it's your life.Smile


(This post was edited by erdnarob on Sep 16, 2013, 2:13 PM)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)
Moderator
Sep 17, 2013, 5:41 PM
Post #15 of 16 (1390 views)
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Re: [erdnarob] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

erdnarob wrote:
I am setting my brakes and uncollapse my slider immediately after landing and where I land. IMO it's the best way to avoid messing up with the lines and in case you have a packer, this is the way he/she likes it. Packing and packing doesn't make you better in the case your packing course was given by somebody the kind "do it that way" without explaining the purpose of each step. It takes more than 200 packings to be able to do some malfunction statitics. In your case, the question is "why do we have to set up the canopy on brake for opening ?". If you could answer that you are not likely to forget it. Also after 4-5 years on stopping jumping, why didn't you ask somebody to watch you while packing. You should also have done some emergency procedures preferably on a suspended harness with an actual fall on something soft. You can even lose your canopy after cut it away in some windy circumstances.
If you were an aircraft pilot, no way you could go back in the air by yourself, not after giving up flying for 4-5 years. As a skydiver, you should consider you as a pilot, a canopy pilot and behave accordingly. After all it's your life.Smile

I'll do the same, but was initially trained to do this for a different reason. On a busy DZ, turning and facing the pattern to see who is landing after you prevents being surprised when someone is landing near you. So, I'll turn on landing, face the landing canopies, and stow my brakes in the field. My student rig also had velcro toggles, and a good way to get the DZO tweaked at you was to leave the hook side of the velcro exposed, thus catching/wearing lines.
Either way one chooses to manage brake stowage, make it a habit/system.


tan  (A 64618)

Sep 17, 2013, 9:28 PM
Post #16 of 16 (1327 views)
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Re: [erdnarob] I packed myself a malfunction... [In reply to] Can't Post

erdnarob wrote:
I am setting my brakes and uncollapse my slider immediately after landing and where I land.

I do that as a rule too. My rationale is simply that, if my hands never leave the toggle loops from unstowing to restowing, then as long as I'm careful during restowing, it'll be near impossible for me to induce twists in my brake lines. Of course, this means that I set my own brake lines so that the packer doesn't unstow the toggles again.

As to "why" Nataly experienced what she did, as well as the proper recovery procedures, many thanks to John Sherman from Jumpshack for explaining this in another post:

http://www.dropzone.com/...post=4421295#4421295

JohnSherman wrote:
Quote:
Can you please explain that losing both would cause a streamer....

Sure; Due to the trim angle of the canopy (nose down) the canopy starts trying to fly before it is inflated. This causes the top skin nose to roll over the cell opening blocking air intake and cell inflation. Result, a streamer.
Some canopies are trimmed very flat and can get away without brakes. ie; Racer Tandem 400, Icarus Tandem.
If you lose only one brake, that side roles over the nose preventing inflation and the other inflated side over flys the uninflated side, thus the opposite turn to the toggle location.

In either case, if you have the altitude, you might try the "Ram Air Recovery Position". Both toggles to your waist or to a point where your toggle would be if your brakes were still set. You might locate this hand position on your next jump by pulling your toggles down while observing the location of the brake eye to the guide ring. Make note of where your hands are when your steering line reaches this point.



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