Feb 26, 2001, 12:10 PM
Post #1 of 22
OK I am posting this again because I had just started receiving useful feedback on the old forum. If any of you know of a decent site where I can read up on RSLs and their use I'd appreciate it.
So far, I have been told to disconnect in case of very high winds, two canopies out and a water landing. Given that I am not interested in CReW, I would appreciate any further advice or links to relevant articles.
RSL is just a Reserve Static Line. It connects from the main risers to the reserve ripcord. When cutting away the main the risers of the main pull the reserve as the main leaves. Personally I don't think the RSL is worth having. That's my opinion. I have had them tangle up in my 3 ring, luckly I didn't have to cut away. It's wize to disconnect in high wind, but I don't know about water. Also with the RSL it can give you a false sense of security. I have seen people cutaway and have the RSL break. I am also paranoid about having my reserve comming out to close to my main and getting entangled. There are other reasons I don't like RSL's anymore, but I don't remember them right now.
RSLs do save lives, and have very rarely contribute to fatalities ( I have heard of one on a tandem but no others). When you have a low cutaway a RSL can make the difference between a reserve ride and denting the earth. So for all the people that say RSLs are bad, they are probably just letting snap judgements get the better of them. For the record, I choose not to have a RSL, but I have thought long and hard about that. I also have 3 reserve rides and don't believe in getting stable after a cutaway.
You will find a lot of differing and very passionate opinions on the subject. I know there is some literature out there, because a few years back, after I got my rig, someone gave me some articles that were anti-rsl. Sorry that I can't tell you where they came from though. I used mine at first and only disconnected it on windy days, but then kept it disconnected all the time. Finally, I had my rigger take it off. The most compelling reason? For me, having one just complicated my decision process in the event of an emergency, and I feel comfortable with my emergency procedures. The truth is, I've never had a cut away, but I believe (hope?) that my training and survival instinct will kick in when I do. Cut away, pull the reserve, cut away, pull the reserve, cut away, pull the reserve..........
That said, RSLs can save lives, and inexperienced jumpers should use them in my opinion. Once you gain some valuable experience, it becomes a matter of personal choice.
I have taken the advice that you should have an RSL for your first 100 jumps. I have 140 in my first 6 months and I just bought new gear and I intend NOT to use one when I recieve my new rig. This is my reasoning: 1)I have remained current and have religiously practiced my emergency procedures several times before every jump. I have had one slight case of bag lock and I had no hesitation in going for my handles, in the right order and quickly! I didnt have to chop it, but I at least got over the dreaded question of "what will I do if..."? So if the sh*t does hit the fan, I feel confident that I will be ready. I will just keep good safety habits. 2)I just saw a jumper almost get his head taken off by his reserve riser when he cutaway during a spinning mal because of the quick deployment speed of his reserve. If he would have had an extra second he could have possibly gotten clear of that riser and saved himself some pain & misery. 3)Worst case scenario, you have your AAD. I know that they can malfunction, so can RSLs. So I jump like I dont have either of them on my rig. If you dont have one, get one...thats my opinion.
Either way, every jumper has their own preference. Talk to some more experienced jumpers at your DZ and you will develop your own. No matter what you choose...AADs & RSLs save lives, but they can also fail. JUMP LIKE YOU DONT HAVE ONE!!! RSLs & AADs are no substitute for safety procedures.
Something that I think should have some effect on your decision on whether or not to use an RSL, that nobody has mentioned so far, is your typical opening altitude. I normally pull at 2.5, sometimes lower. I believe that an RSL is helpful in my case. Realistically, I may not even KNOW I have a bad canopy until 1.5. If I cutaway at 1.2 or 1.3, I want that reserve out ASAP.
If I'm pulling high, I will disconnect my RSL. If I pull at, say, 6k for some canopy play, I have a bit of altitude to burn getting stable. Not that I pull that high often, but occasionally..
"3)Worst case scenario, you have your AAD. I know that they can malfunction, so can RSLs. So I jump like I dont have either of them on my rig. If you dont have one, get one...thats my opinion."
I wrote you a rather lengthy reply in the "old" forum that apparently got lost when Sangiro made the recent change. Bummer! This thinking is so scary that I have to reply again here. The RSL and AAD(CYPRES) serve two completely different purposes and one is NOT a substitute for the other! The RSL is designed to help save you in the event of a low cutaway, regardless of the reason, be it loss of altitude awareness during a malfunction, slow response to the malfunction, a hard cutaway, etc. There are times its' use is not recommended such as doing video, skysurfing, CRW, some really big ways. There are times you want to disconnect it under canopy such as landing with high ground winds, landing in water or a canopy wrap after colliding with another jumper. The RSL will NOT help you in the event of a no pull.
The AAD(CYPRES) is designed to help save you if you do not deploy your main by approximately 750' agl. Again, it does not care why. It MAY help save you in the case of a low cutaway IF you have climbed above 1500' agl before exiting the aircraft and you cut away high enough to reach a vertical descent rate of 78 mph before 130' agl and assuming your reserve canopy has time to inflate and decellerate you before impact. It may also deploy your reserve in a low pull scenario and actually endanger you with the resulting two canopy out situation. You can even "fool" it into firing at much higher than the publicized altitude of 750'. The manufacturer states that it can fire as high as 1050' and that this can be caused by a snivelling opening.
Having an AAD and/or RSL and then jumping like you don't have them is foolish. The AAD is an active decision making device. You have to be aware of what it will and won't do under various circumstances and have emergency procedures that account for the limitations of the device. The RSL is not an active device like the CYPRES, but you still must be aware of it and the circumstances you are in.
You are VERY correct about one thing though, AADs and RSLs are not a substitute for safety procedures.
I hope the additional information I have posted here is of some benefit to you. Maybe if you e-mail Sangiro, he can access and share my last post to you in this thread on the old forum. It was very similar, but maybe better done. Try this link: http://dropzone.com/gear/articles/ You will find some articles on this subject and more, that you should find informative and helpful.
I have never posted on the old forum, this is my first time...
I totally agree with everything you said, I guess that I didnt explain it as articulately as you did. But I totally agree with you what you have to say. I know people that refuse to jump with AADs or RSLs and they have their own opinions. Every jumper is ultimately responsible for themselves. The only thing that you can do is talk to other jumpers and make a decision that fits you. I am curious, what type of configuration do you have on your rig??? Do you use and RSL or Cypress?
Firstly I should say that while I'm Pro-RSL for students, I'm anti RSL for anyone off student status. My reasons for this are that there is ONLY ONE WAY to activate your reserve, that's by pulling your reserve handle! A RSL (does anyone stil call them a Stevens Lanyard?) is a mindless device. If you cut away a malfunction of sufficiently high drag then the RSL will pull your reserve pin as the main canopy departs WHETHER YOU WANT IT TO OR NOT!
Canopy entanglements (collisions) can & do happen and not just on CReW. Poor seperation on an FS or FF dive and an off heading opening and there you are in a wrap or entanglement. At this point you may not be able to disconnect your RSL, but you can't chop until you have or you're risking being tangled/wrapped but now under your reserve!
If the Cypres had been invented 15 years earlier then we wouldn't be having this discussion - The RSL would never have been developed!
Practise your reserve drills often (at least before each skydive). Try to picture yourself in a canopy collision and think about seperating the reserve pull from the cutaway for a second or two.
My bad, I confused you with skreamer with respect to the previous posting. My current rigs both have RSLs. I used to have a CYPRES in one of them until my daughter started jumping, I transferred it into her rig then. Another rig safety item worth looking into would be the hard riser inserts for the cutaway cable ends. I have a new rig on order that will have them. If I am satisfied, I will likely install them on my other rigs as well as on my daughter's.
"Firstly I should say that while I'm Pro-RSL for students, I'm anti RSL for anyone off student status. My reasons for this are that there is ONLY ONE WAY to activate your reserve, that's by pulling your reserve handle!"
Mike, I am curious, do you have a CYPRES?
"If the Cypres had been invented 15 years earlier then we wouldn't be having this discussion - The RSL would never have been developed"
They serve two very different purposes. See my previous post.
As you may have gathered it's yes to the Cypres & NO to the RSL on my rigs. I view the Cypres as my "last chance if I'm incapable of deploying for any reason but I did have a slight problem with it a few years back.
First 2-way sit-fly jump, exited in a train and it was going brilliant so my partner moved in front of me and spun me. Break-off at 4,500ft and I found myself in a FAST spin, back to earth and I COULDN'T get belly-to to deploy!!! finally got stable but LOW!! Went for main but saw alti (1,200ft) so I dumped my reserve with my other hand still on my main handle (figuring that I'd probably have both canopies out - thanks to the Cypres - if I did pull my main).
Grounded for the weekend... The only good part of the dive was that I only had a 100 yard walk to recover my freebag and my Cypres didn't actually fire!
PS. Yes the Cypres & RSL are different things that serve different functions. IMHO the Cypres solves more problems than it causes... The RSL causes more problems than it solves.
Skreamer, yes, sorry. When I reponded to SkySlut, I was mistakenly thinking that his/her post was made by you. I recalled your thread from the "old" forum. Since I was thinking it was your post, I incorrectly also attributed the comment to you. I am having a little difficulty adjusting to this new format.
IMHO the Cypres solves more problems than it causes... The RSL causes more problems than it solves.
Fair enough, but a review of the USPA fatality reports seems to indicate that while the RSL has caused some problems, it, like the CYPRES, has saved far more than it has hurt. Comparing CYPRES to RSL is like comparing apples to oranges in many senses, except they are both intended to be life saving back-up devices and should never be depended upon. As far as I know, the CYPRES has never failed to fire within its' designed operating parameters, with a resulting loss of life. It has "saved" hundreds, but has also 'misfired', that is why for a while they had the 'sleeve'. I personally witnessed one fire in an aircraft when a cell phone was being used to order a pizza.
The RSL does not enjoy as good of a record as the CYPRES and has been shown to have caused several fatalities. I might add that in at least one recent one though, it was only speculation. I also would like to add that the root cause was generally not the RSL, but a defective, overloaded, or older non-reinforced type 17 riser. The early Racer design, with the cross connector also caused some problems....an offshoot of the old Steven's Lanyard.
The RWS, about a year or two ago, introduced the Collin's Lanyard for its' tandem rigs. A failsafe RSL. Why it has not become the industry standard, I cannot fathom. If a riser fails, it ensures that the other one, and therefore both, are released, prior to reserve activation. It is not a cross connector as found on the older Racers or the Steven's system. It won't foul or choke off the reserve. I can only guess it is because the RWS seems to share your opinion that experienced jumpers should not use an RSL. They seem to have backed off on this a bit recently, as evidenced that they now offer the RSL as an option on the Vector.
SkySlut wrote ;- AADs & RSLs save lives, but they can also fail. JUMP LIKE YOU DONT HAVE ONE!!!
Bad advice. You MUST always keep in mind that you have an AAD or RSL. Ignorig the possibilities presented by mis-behaving AADs or RSLs (unlikely) could well kill you. Remember there are documented cases of CYPRES false positives (premature firings) and false negatives (didn't fire when it should have). Of the 3 well documented false positives 2 killed lots of people. One went off in a DESCENDING aircraft because no-one thought to turn the CYPRES off and it fired. The reserve PC escaped somehow and took the jumper out through the side of the aircraft thereby rendering it UN-airworthy. It crashed killing all on board. Another, in Denmark I _think_, fired in an ASCENDING aircraft. The jumper was the only fatality in that case. The third was fairly benign in that the CYPRES fired while the CYPRES equipped rig was sitting on a picnic table. Documentation of false negatives can be found in spades on the fatailities page (sorry I don't have the URL handy). It's also worth rembering that in all 3 cases the CYPRES concerned somehow managed to "get lost in the mail" upon its return to SSK....Hmmmmmmmmm.
RSLs should NEVER be taken for granted either. An RSL, in the wrong circumstances, can kill. i.e. high wind landings and CRW are two that spring to mind where I most certainly would NOT want my RSL connected.
I think that some of you have missed my point. My major point is that cypress & RSL are no substitute for Safety Procedures. That is what I mean when I say "jump like you dont have one". However, I am fully aware that there are situations where your life may depend on it to remember that you do have one. That is a whole different thread. My apologies for oversimplifying things. Rock on, be safe & have fun!!!