Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
cutaway procedure for two pads with camera?



Dec 13, 2001, 5:10 AM
Post #1 of 7 (1610 views)
cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? Can't Post


Like many freefliers, my rig has a pad for the cutaway and a pad for the reserve.

I am just about to start jumping camera and prior to this my cutaway drill has been to "break" both pads upwards and then "punch right, punch left".

When I start jumping camera, I intend introducing a slight delay after cutting away in order to ensure that if the departing main canopy snags on my camera I can cutaway my helmet before deploying my reserve. This also means that I won't be able to break the left pad until I know that I don't have to cutaway my helmet (which takes two hands). If I broke both pads at the same time, then cutaway, then found that I had to cutaway my helmet - I'd have to "drop" my already broken left pad and I don't fancy having it flapping around everywhere...

My drill will therefore be:

1. break right pad
2. punch right pad
<< brief pause to ensure that main has not snagged >>
3. break left pad
4. punch left pad

Obviously this is a longer sequence than just breaking both pads and punching right then left. I understand, of course, that this is a by-product of jumping camera and that there is additional risk.

So, questions:

* Is the sequence I have described OK? Is this what other people do?

* Having never had a cutaway, I am interested to know when cutting away from a mal, when you cutaway do you tend to pitch forwards - i.e. belly to earth - or backwards, or just fall straight down? I appreciate that this could well be different in each individual scenario - I am just interested in hearing examples.

* Does the clean air (if the main has slowed descent somewhat before the cutaway) make it hard to "get stable" after a cutaway? Are there any problems with deploying my reserve if I was in a back to earth position after cutting away?

* I have read about people getting into wraps with either their canopy or lines after cutting away. Is this only likely to happen with spinning mals / elliptical canopies?

Many thanks in advance,


wildblue  (D 26027)

Dec 13, 2001, 7:52 AM
Post #2 of 7 (1563 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

Flying camera = higher deployment & higher decision altitude.
With that said
Why does your camera helmet take two hands to get rid of? Can you simplify it at all?
I do agree with this idea of not ripping the pad until you're ready for it, your handles are already going to not be where you expect them to be (ever touch your handles under canopy? A lot higher on your body than when you're on the ground)
Keep snag points on your helmet/camera to a minimum. Tapes up gaps and whatnot.
If you have a partial mal, yes, it's going to take you a second to have any wind to fly on. Don't let that stop you from getting your reserve out there. Deploying your reserve on your back is better than not deploying at all. But hey, take your time, you have the rest of your life to work it out. Wink
In a total mal, you'll still have that wind, but you're likely to get unstable after the cutaway, and you're still moving at a good clip towards the planet.

Personally, I'll get a hand on both handles, cut away, try to stay aware of where my helmet is and the risers/lines are going. I have debated on if falling backwards away from my main would help keep the camera away from "stuff" ... jury's still out on that one. If something does get snagged, I can get rid of my helmet with one hand. Put "losing $2,000" into your drills on the ground: "Punch right, mutter obscenities, toss helmet, punch left"

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag

aufreefly  (A 35174)

Dec 13, 2001, 8:10 AM
Post #3 of 7 (1559 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

Never even thought of practicing ditching the camera during my cutaway sequence. I think that I will start doing that and share it with all of the people at my DZ. Good advice!

michael hunt (yes, that is my real name...and i've heard them all)


Dec 13, 2001, 8:59 AM
Post #4 of 7 (1544 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

yes, I have read that a higher deployment + decision altitude is advised when jumping camera, but all the camera people I know pull at 3K like everyone else at my DZ...

My camera helmet is pretty snag free I think. The only two snag points would probably be the chin strap and the camera lens itself (which sticks out slightly from the body of the helmet).

I *may* be able to cut away my helmet with one hand, it's just got a standard plastic clip buckle on the chin cup like most helmets do, but I feel like if I wanted to cut it away I would instinctively reach up with both hands to do it and that's why I don't watch to peel my reserve pad first!


Dec 13, 2001, 9:20 AM
Post #5 of 7 (1538 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not a camera flier, but everything I've read from camera fliers incudes the importance of being willing to ditch your equipment and being able to do it fast. Most recommend a quick release system which you can do one handed.

In order to avoid entanglement probs after cutting away, wouldn't it be a good idea to hit the quick release, cut away, make sure everything has cleared and then pop reserve?

If you release the helmet first, the helmet will be gone with the main in the event of an entanglement and stay with you if the cutaway was clean. Also, if it's "pre" released, you won't lose precious altitude dealing with all the nastiness that a helmet/cutaway main entanglement would entail.

Camera people?

"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
Dec 13, 2001, 9:43 AM
Post #6 of 7 (1534 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wildblue came up with a pretty cool single point release system for the Bonehead and Nvertigo chin cups. I'll let him write about the details, but its simple to do and well worth the time!

I want to touch the sky, I want to fly so high ~ Sonique

wildblue  (D 26027)

Dec 13, 2001, 12:51 PM
Post #7 of 7 (1511 views)
Re: cutaway procedure for two pads with camera? [In reply to] Can't Post

a) At least with my helmet, initiating a quick release leaves my chin-cup flipping in the breeze. Major snag factor. Add to that, the helmet may not stay where I think it's going to.

b) I don't want to waste the 1/2 second it takes to do 'just in case' - especially if it takes more than 1/2 second for some reason, and I get preoccupied with it

c) I don't want $2,000 worth of equipment loose on my head. Yes, I am willing to lose it if it means saving my life, but until that point, I'd like to hang onto it.

Phree - ya, maybe one of these day's I'll post some pictures. I haven't decided if I should replace the bottle opener or not. It worked good in a pinch, and if I ever have to use it, at least I can down a beer to mourn the loss of my camera.

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag

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