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Pillow reserve handles & RSL's

 

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mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 2, 2003, 9:56 PM
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Pillow reserve handles & RSL's Can't Post

I recieved this in a news letter from Skydive Calif. City, the Safey & Training section written every month by JC Coldren USPA I/E S&TA.
It makes me wounder why anyone would use a pillow reserve handle or go without an RSL.
Sparky

From: Rick Horn
Subject: 5000+ jumps, saved by RSL
Date: 1997/00/03
I got saved by,a backup device (RSL) on Thursday. August 28th. I thought Id relay the formation
My background: 5000+ jumps, 107 cutaways, (No I dont need to learn how to back, a lot of test jumps and films.) About 20 unplanned cutaways.
21 years jumping, AFF I/E, static Line I/E, Full time instructor at Perris, AFF Course Director for USPA.
Equipment Background: Rig- Javelin, Articulated harness (Rings top and bottom), RSL and Cypres equipped. Soft Reserve pillow, Main, Stiletto 135. Reserve- PDI43R, I wear my leg straps and chest strap quite tight.
The jump: A great APP Level 4, the student did well, I watched deployment on the students canopy, and hung around to give a thumbs up forte camera. This put everything happening a little lower than usual, so I threw the main out at about 2100, as opposed to the usual 2500 since Ive gotten older and hopefully wiser. The main opened into a severe spin. There were no line twists, but I dont know what caused the spin, as I could not see the left side of the canopy. After the usual playing around with It, I decided to get rid of it. My procedures are grab cutaway, grab reserve, pud cutaway, pull reserve.
I went for the cutaway handle, and to my surprise, it was on the LEFT side of my chest I grabbed it, and reached for the reserve handle. It was somewhere under my left armpit I could only touch it with my thumb, and not grab it. My theory is that a combination of the severe spin and the articulated harness allowed the handles to move so far.
I had also practiced hooking my thumb between the reserve pillow and the housing. I was unable to do it. I then pulled the cutaway handle, as I was not accomplishing anything in my attempt to find the reserve handle.
After pulling the cutaway, I continued to search for the reserve pillow. I was unable to find it. I theorize that it tucked under the main lift web as the harness slid back into position That theory took a couple of days to figure out. Being honest, I have my sincere doubts that I would have found the handle within the 6 seconds of working time that I had left.
My ML prevented me from knowing the answer.
I have since modified my rig to include a standard ripcord on the reserve. This should also serve as a reminder that backup devices, whether they be ML or AAD can save your life, no matter what your experience. Please dont make this into a debate thread, there have been enough. I just wanted to share the experience, so people could make informed decisions. Rick Horn
D-6277 AFFI/E
USPA APP Course Director


andy2

Aug 3, 2003, 6:18 AM
Post #2 of 91 (2812 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

how far above cypres firing range were you when your RSL whipped out your reserve? I.E. if you had had your cypres and no RSL then how much more time would you of been in freefall from your cutaway to cypres fire?

Thanks for sharing the story, man. I'm glad you survived Smile


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 3, 2003, 6:48 AM
Post #3 of 91 (2804 views)
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Re: [andy2] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

May I add another trivial point to this thread?
Not all soft ripcord handles are RSL compatible. To save our life, the RSL has to pull against an anchor i.e. ripcord handle. According to the FAA, that anchor must withstand a 600 pound pull.
Some soft ripcord handles only have a turned over cable end and a Nicopress swage hidden inside the handle.
On the other hand, Vector 3 soft handles contain a massive piece of steel tubing, while Reflex soft handles contain a steel ring that is too big to slide up the ripcord housing.
Folks, am I being a martinet about an obscure regulation, or is this a practical problem?


Ron

Aug 3, 2003, 8:01 AM
Post #4 of 91 (2790 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It makes me wounder why anyone would use a pillow reserve handle or go without an RSL.

Well I agree with the soft handle...but RSL's have killed people as well as saved them.

I always tell people to keep the RSL till they have pulled both handles on a Mal...

I don't have an RSL and have not since my 12th jump...Nor will I ever.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 3, 2003, 8:23 AM
Post #5 of 91 (2785 views)
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Re: [andy2] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
how far above cypres firing range were you when your RSL whipped out your reserve? I.E. if you had had your cypres and no RSL then how much more time would you of been in freefall from your cutaway to cypres fire?

Thanks for sharing the story, man. I'm glad you survived Smile
Andy,
Read the post again, It is not my story, I am just passing it along.
Sparky


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 3, 2003, 8:37 AM
Post #6 of 91 (2781 views)
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Re: [Ron] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
It makes me wounder why anyone would use a pillow reserve handle or go without an RSL.

Well I agree with the soft handle...but RSL's have killed people as well as saved them.

I always tell people to keep the RSL till they have pulled both handles on a Mal...

I don't have an RSL and have not since my 12th jump...Nor will I ever.
Name one case, facts not hearsay, where an RSL has killed someone.
Sparky


Ron

Aug 3, 2003, 9:03 AM
Post #7 of 91 (2772 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Ever jump a camera?

A skyboard?

And there was a fatality with a racer where a guy had his reserve get choked off by the RSL on the main risers....


(This post was edited by Ron on Aug 3, 2003, 9:04 AM)


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 3, 2003, 9:13 AM
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Re: [Ron] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes I have jumped a camera. Where and when on the racer.


metalslug  (B 2528)

Aug 3, 2003, 10:53 AM
Post #9 of 91 (2741 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Name one case, facts not hearsay, where an RSL has killed someone.

http://www.skydivingfatalities.com

Do an 'Advanced Search' on the DMAL category.. ALL years.. ALL countries. The search should return 19 incidents.
Incidents #1, #4 and #14 are worth a read.
It's debatable whether the RSL can be exclusively blamed in any of these incidents.. but some may argue that it can.

Me? I luv my RSL.. wouldn't jump without it. It has saved more than it has killed. Wink


(This post was edited by metalslug on Aug 3, 2003, 10:55 AM)


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 3, 2003, 11:49 AM
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Re: [metalslug] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Name one case, facts not hearsay, where an RSL has killed someone.

http://www.skydivingfatalities.com

Do an 'Advanced Search' on the DMAL category.. ALL years.. ALL countries. The search should return 19 incidents.
Incidents #1, #4 and #14 are worth a read.
It's debatable whether the RSL can be exclusively blamed in any of these incidents.. but some may argue that it can.

Me? I luv my RSL.. wouldn't jump without it. It has saved more than it has killed. Wink
David,
Thanks for the info. I agree RSL's, are here to stay for the smart jumper. Did I miss something or was there no mention of a Race involved RSL fatality.
Sparky


(This post was edited by mjosparky on Aug 3, 2003, 12:09 PM)


andy2

Aug 3, 2003, 12:55 PM
Post #11 of 91 (2707 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Read the post again, It is not my story, I am just passing it along.
Sparky

ah, right. I just saw the name Rick Horn and for some reason thought he posted here occassionally. Blush

Regardless, thanks for passing the story along, its a good safety reminder.


hookitt  (D License)

Aug 3, 2003, 1:11 PM
Post #12 of 91 (2703 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

The racer incident which I can't find a link to, involved the cross connected dual RSL. The Reserve deployed first. The main second. The Main was flying behind the reserve. The Main was cutaway. Since there was dual RSL, the main choked off the reserve as it slid up the lines.

I believe it's happened more than one time but could be mistaken.

The incident was a result of the design, not from an RSL deployed reserve.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 3, 2003, 1:42 PM
Post #13 of 91 (2694 views)
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Re: [hookitt] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The racer incident which I can't find a link to, involved the cross connected dual RSL. The Reserve deployed first. The main second. The Main was flying behind the reserve. The Main was cutaway. Since there was dual RSL, the main choked off the reserve as it slid up the lines.

I believe it's happened more than one time but could be mistaken.

The incident was a result of the design, not from an RSL deployed reserve.
Tim,
Thanks for the info. I will try to follow up on it with John at Jump Shack.
Sparky


RMURRAY

Aug 4, 2003, 6:50 AM
Post #14 of 91 (2617 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

no need to contact John. There are two write ups on the subject at www.jumpshack.com go to "technical articles", look for the articles on RSLs. I am not sure about the new M2K but I beleive you cannot order a Racer with a ring at the chest strap OR a soft reserve handle - maybe John saw this coming.


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 7:38 AM
Post #15 of 91 (2600 views)
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Re: [RMURRAY] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

A thought is that the harness could have very easily been shifted the other direction, making locating and pulling the cutaway pillow difficult/impossible. A small
(smaller than is standard) cutaway pillow would be a bad idea in this situation. I have seen these smaller cutaway handles on several different containers.

Handle design is a trade-off. The easier manufacturers make it to pull, the easier it is to snag. The harder they make them to snag, the harder it can be to grab and pull. The trick is finding the "happy medium" between security/snag resistance and being easy to find and pull when the jumper actually needs the handle.

Derek


rigging65  (D 21921)

Aug 4, 2003, 9:50 AM
Post #16 of 91 (2578 views)
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Re: [Hooknswoop] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

It's also worth noting that there are different handle designs out there that help reduce the chances of your pillow rolling under the MLW.

I'd also ask this question of those who don't agree with soft pillows: Why is it acceptable to have a soft cutaway pillow but not a soft reserve handle? And don't use the "hand grip" argument, unless you've got more data than Bill Booth does...because all the testing he did shows hand strength isn't a factor.

As for the RSL debate (which will rage on for years, no doubt)...skydiving is about playing the odds. Look back at the fatality reports for the last 10 years and see how many of our friends are gone due to cutaway/low pull or cutaway/no pull. Compare that number to the total number of RSL related fatalities (I'll let you use ANY and ALL incidents that even mention the RSL as a possible factor). What you'll find is that even if RSLs killed all those people, which I'm sure we can agree can't be the truth for ALL the incidents, those who could have been saved by the RSL is a far greater number.

Jump what you want, but at least don't be ignorant of the numbers. We all weigh the options when we jump, but one would hope we're using facts, not emotions, to make our choices. The ground doesn't suffer emotional fools...


Ron

Aug 4, 2003, 10:25 AM
Post #17 of 91 (2570 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Thanks for the info. I agree RSL's, are here to stay for the smart jumper. Did I miss something or was there
no mention of a Race involved RSL fatality.

The Racer incident is on the website.
Sorry I didn't have that info at first.

Well I personally think that you should have an RSL untill you have had a mal, and pulled both handles.

I don't personally like RSL's....Now I don't think bad of people that use them...Only people that RELY on them. (But thats my view on everything in this sport...Use all the saftey gimicks you want...Don't trust them to save your life).

I can't think of ONE person killed by a properly used CYPRES...So I have one. But I can find people who have gotten killed by RSL's, so I don't use one.

I get my thoughts from the Hogarthian (SP?) cave divers.
If a saftey device CAN kill you...Then its not a good saftey device, and don't take it. Simple is sometimes better.

Plus if you have an AAD an RSL, while not totaly redundant should not be needed (Hell an RSL or ADD should NEVER be NEEDED). I bet a few of those that an RSL would have saved would also have been saved by an AAD.

Just ask Perris...They just got a waiver from the USPA to allow non licensed jumpers to jump without an RSL if the rig has an AAD. While I don't personally agree with this for people that have not had a cutaway yet....Perris must have made a strong argument in favor of this.

I also don't jump with a soft reserve handle for just this reason...I had a 600 foot cutaway due to a mal, and the cutaway handle being tucked under just like Ricks reserve handle was.

Now I understand that the metal handle has a larger chance of getting snagged....But since I don't do VRW, I think my chances are less. Also, I have a smaller handle than stock.

Then again...This is my opinion..And I am just one guy.

Ron


JakGramley  (D 18643)

Aug 4, 2003, 12:53 PM
Post #18 of 91 (2543 views)
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Re: [Ron] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Just ask Perris...They just got a waiver from the USPA to allow non licensed jumpers to jump without an RSL if the rig has an AAD. While I don't personally agree with this for people that have not had a cutaway yet....Perris must have made a strong argument in favor of this.

The waiver was requested by Square One for their demo rigs. Having the combination of a LOT of canopies, containers and risers makes RSL's a safety hazard. The length of the RSL and location of the RSL connection to the riser (left or right) is dependent on the container and the configuration of the risers. If the RSL is too short, there is a danger of premature deployment of the reserve during opening of the main. Since all of Square One's rental gear have a Cypres AAD installed, they asked for and received a waiver for non-licensed jumpers to jump without an RSL. For more specific information you can contact Blue McGowan at the Perris Square One store.

Jack Gramley


Jimbo  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 12:59 PM
Post #19 of 91 (2540 views)
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Re: [Ron] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Interesting....

You have two contradictory statements here:

Quote:
I can't think of ONE person killed by a properly used CYPRES...So I have one. But I can find people who have gotten killed by RSL's, so I don't use one.

...

Now I understand that the metal handle has a larger chance of getting snagged....But since I don't do VRW, I think my chances are less. Also, I have a smaller handle than stock.

So, you won't jump an RSL because there have been a few cases (statistically insignificant I'll bet) where they've caused a death. You will on the other hand, jump a metal D-Ring for a reserve handle, but you know that they snag/get grabbed/whatever, and are responsible for premature reserve deployments (some of which have also killed). Interesting...


Quote:
Plus if you have an AAD an RSL, while not totaly redundant should not be needed

How is the AAD going to help if you cutaway at 600 ft? How is the RSL going to help if you just don't pull? Ron, you know as well as anyone else (I hope) that the RSL and the AAD are two SEPARATE safety devices for two SEPARATE scenarios. I understand when I hear newbies say that don't need an RSL because they have an AAD, or that they don't need an AAD because they have an RSL, but YOU? Come on Ron!

Then, finally, you've got this:

Quote:
I get my thoughts from the Hogarthian (SP?) cave divers.
If a saftey device CAN kill you...Then its not a good saftey device, and don't take it. Simple is sometimes better.

It's interesting (since all have their pros and cons), the thought processes you're using to justify the safety devices you will and will not use.

-
Jim


(This post was edited by Jimbo on Aug 4, 2003, 1:07 PM)


Ron

Aug 4, 2003, 1:17 PM
Post #20 of 91 (2532 views)
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Re: [JakGramley] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry

Square One, not Perris.


Ron

Aug 4, 2003, 2:01 PM
Post #21 of 91 (2525 views)
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Re: [Jimbo] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

So, you won't jump an RSL because there have been a few cases (statistically insignificant I'll bet) where
they've caused a death. You will on the other hand, jump a metal D-Ring for a reserve handle, but you know
that they snag/get grabbed/whatever, and are responsible for premature reserve deployments (some of
which have also killed). Interesting...

However they are not contradictory...

Do you think there are more deaths from not finding the reserve, or accidental fires of the reserve? I'd bet (and I do) on that not finding the reserve kills more people.

There is an added chance of an accidental reserve opening with a medal handle. I only know of ONE fatality that was caused by this...A guy doing headdown. (If ya know more...let me know, I'll listen). Now I don't Freefly but once in a VERY long while. So my level of risk is low.

But I do know SEVERAL stories of people bouncing looking for a reserve handle....Reference my old teamate for one of them.

So looking at my odds, I am betting that I have less risk of getting pulled on accident, and that even if it does happen I am not at freefly speeds, and MOST RW people are on the same level during an event that could cause an accidental reserve pull, so the risk of collision is lower than a VRW dive.

However I plan on a mal on every jump. And with the high number of people that have bounced looking for the handle...I want the easier handle to get. AND I have a CYPRES (just incase I do something stupid).

In reply to:
How is the AAD going to help if you cutaway at 600 ft?
Its not. Yes, an RSL would work here, but I found that my left hand did just fine. If I manage to cutaway above 1500 feet...Which I have done 5 times, only once did I go lower...Then if I do something stupid the AAD would fire.

In reply to:
How is the RSL going to help if you just don't pull?

It will not help one bit. But my left and right hand will...But if I do something stupid...I hope that little black box works. An RSL would do nothing here anyway.

In reply to:
Ron, you know as well as anyone else (I hope) that the RSL and the AAD are two SEPARATE safety devices
for two SEPARATE scenarios. I understand when I hear newbies say that don't need an RSL because they have an AAD, or that they don't need an AAD because they have an RSL, but YOU? Come on Ron!

No, I said I don't WANT an RSL...I never said NEED. I hope I never NEED an RSL or AAD, or for that matter I hope I never NEED a Reserve again.

Yes, RSL's and AAD's are for two separate situations. Both are there incase you screw up.


Quote:
If a saftey device CAN kill you...Then its not a good saftey device, and don't take it. Simple is
sometimes better.

I have seen where an RSL can kill you..Now I admit it is A LOT less than the rate of people that have been killed while they spend the rest of their lives looking for the reserve. But it has happened. Now I have an AAD incase I screw up. If you have stories where a CYPRES has KILLED someone because it did not work as intended. (Not didn't fire, but Misfired and CAUSED the death) I will be very interested to hear it. This could cause me to look at my CYPRES use.

But when I think about it, I have had 6 "Live" cutaways. Only one shit really hit the fan story. And I have all but one been cutaway above 1500 feet. (And under reserve not much lower) So if I did something stupid the AAD would have fired.

So when I look at the fact that I have done the deed 6 times, I don't freefly (and I have a lower profile handle anyway), and I have an AAD just incase I really screw up...

I feel ok with my choice to not jump an RSL.

You may choose different. And I would NEVER pick on someone who does have an AAD or RSL. Now I will pick on them if they RELY on it.

I really think that people should have an RSL till they have a malfunction, and they pulled both handles. Then I think its up to them.

Everyone has to decide what the level of risk they are willing to take.

Me, I don't jump a skyboard, rarely jump with a video camera, don't freefly, don't BASE (did it twice..didn't really like it), don't do raft jumps,tubes, rodeo's and I turned down an invite to the 300 way and the Zhills 2 point 120 way.

I don't jump an 88 anymore.

I do 4way, and jump with small groups for fun.

I know what myt level of risk is. I ask myself "would I do this without my AAD?". If the answer is no, then I don't do the dive.

If I thought I need an RSL or AAD, I would quit jumping.

Like I said I think people SHOULD have an RSL till they have delt with a mal...But then its up to them in my book.

I don't agree with the USPA letting Square One have a waiver either. If it is ok there, why not everywhere? Are Perris students better than every other DZ in the US? How many different types/sizes of canopies are people with less than 20-30 jumps going to demo anyway?

Questions?


(This post was edited by Ron on Aug 4, 2003, 2:05 PM)


apoil  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 4:32 PM
Post #22 of 91 (2494 views)
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Re: [metalslug] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Me? I luv my RSL.. wouldn't jump without it. It has saved more than it has killed. Wink

Metal reserve handles have deployed far more reserves at unwanted times (on at least one occasion resulting in a fatality) than soft ones.

Your attitude about RSL's is worrisome because it suggests that you might be comfortable knowing that it's there, rather than taking the steps to pull your handle no matter what.

Under nearly all "normal" cutaways your RSL will be activating your reserve before you actually do and kinking your cable in the process.
I'm not comfortable with that. I want to be the one pulling my reserve.

The RSL saves people who have ALREADY FUCKED UP by being so low that they can't activate their own reserve in time. It is my plan not to be one of those people and the fact that I have bet my life on it, keeps me focused.

I do jump with a CYPRES, but I'm not in love with it, I will jump without it if necessary, and if I ever need it, I will strongly consider giving up the sport.


apoil  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 4:41 PM
Post #23 of 91 (2491 views)
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Re: [Jimbo] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Plus if you have an AAD an RSL, while not totaly redundant should not be needed

How is the AAD going to help if you cutaway at 600 ft? How is the RSL going to help if you just don't pull? Ron, you know as well as anyone else (I hope) that the RSL and the AAD are two SEPARATE safety devices for two SEPARATE scenarios. I understand when I hear newbies say that don't need an RSL because they have an AAD, or that they don't need an AAD because they have an RSL, but YOU? Come on Ron!

I too was surprised to hear that from Ron.

But they are not entirely separate either.

There are situations where either, if properly functioning, will save you.

There are situations where only one, if both are properly functioning, will save you.

There are situations where neither, properly functioning will save you.
(that's going to hook someone, I know)

And there are situations where either one, if improperly functioning will kill you.

The relative probabilities of these scenarios will be debated and weighed against each other for years to come.


Jimbo  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 4:42 PM
Post #24 of 91 (2490 views)
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Re: [apoil] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Quote:
Yes, RSL's and AAD's are for two separate situations. Both are there incase you screw up.

and...

Quote:
The RSL saves people who have ALREADY FUCKED UP by being so low that they can't activate their own reserve in time.

Imagine you're flying in the pattern, being conservative, and some jackass who can't control his teeny-tiny Velocity comes screaming through your canopy. You cutaway and the RSL gets the reserve out just in time. Did you screw up?

I'm neither advocating the RSL nor lobbying against it, but sometimes I feel like we need to level the playing field. The RSL isn't just in case you screw up, I think there's at least one situation where it can and does save lives.

-
Jim


grasshopper  (D License)

Aug 4, 2003, 6:32 PM
Post #25 of 91 (2464 views)
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Re: [Jimbo] Pillow reserve handles & RSL's [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Imagine you're flying in the pattern, being conservative, and some jackass who can't control his teeny-tiny Velocity comes screaming through your canopy. You cutaway and the RSL gets the reserve out just in time. Did you screw up?

In my opinion, yes, you did screw up. if you are that low, you should pull your reserve without cutting away, just to get more fabric over your head. it worked for clem major in that exact circumstance.

besides, some people disconnect their rsl after they have a good canopy in case thet need to cut away on the ground due to wind, or a dust devil, or something else unkown. the rsl would do them no good in that situation either.


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