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Round Reserves

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I recently moved to Kansas City, from Texas, and am looking for somewhere to continue jumping. The first DZ that I called, Missouri River Valley Skydivers, seems like a pretty good dropzone. The one thing that I am curious about, though, is that when asking about why I should choose them, one of the reasons that they gave me is because they use round reserves on their student rigs. They told me that round reserves were safer in the event of a dual-deployment, which is commen on student jumps. The dropzone that I used to jump at (Skydive Dallas) used square reserves in all of their rigs. The staff at MRVS explained to me that I should avoid jumping at a DZ that uses square reserves on student rigs, as they are far more dangerous. Looking at their website, I came across the page linked below. So, I'm just curious, why are dual-deployments common on student jumps, and why is a round reserve better?

http://www.skydivemrvs.com/html/kansas_city_skydiving_at_misso.html

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Based on my experience I wouldn't say that 2 out was very common but i do jump at a small cessna DZ. In the 6 season s that i have been there I think i have only seen one.

there is some truth to what they are saying, ie. there is a bigger decision tree for the square square situation, but i don't know if I would go as far as to say that they are common.

Any one else?

Adrian
S.E.X. party #2

..It is far worse to live with fear, than to die confronting it.

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Ever tried to sink a round reserve into someones back garden because your main is square and you've had a bad spot/ tracked the wrong way? Shit happens.

I think rounds were great at the time, and at some point I'd actually want to jump one just for the experience,, but only in perfect condtions.

"This isn't an iron lung, people. You can actually disconnect and not die." -Dave

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They told me that round reserves were safer in the event of a dual-deployment, which is commen on student jumps.



I guess it's a better marketing plan than telling you that that they don't want to buy modern equipment. :S

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The dropzone that I used to jump at (Skydive Dallas) used square reserves in all of their rigs.



Yep. Seems to be working pretty good so far.

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The staff at MRVS explained to me that I should avoid jumping at a DZ that uses square reserves on student rigs, as they are far more dangerous.



Did you ask them why nearly all other DZ's use square reserves if they are so dangerous?

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So I checked the USPA dz directory, and found links to Skydive Kansas City in Butler ("perfect safety record") and MRVS ("more experience"). Hmmm. Is not all peace and love in the KC area?

I think you're seeing "It's a feature, not a bug!" If I had to guess, I'd say that MRVS is in the process of converting to all square reserves, but isn't there yet. Their website says their freefall rigs have square reserves.

It may be true that in a two-out situation, round & square is better than square & square. However, most student malfunctions are of the single-canopy variety: didn't like the first canopy, gonna get rid of it and try a different one.

If you have an emergency and need to use your round reserve, you still have an emergency.

Square reserve canopy control is similar to square main canopy control, so no new techniques to learn under stress. Square reserves give a greater choice of landing areas. Square reserves allow landing going forward in most wind conditions students are likely to jump in. With a round reserve, you are likely to land going backward (unless you land downwind, which is not an improvement). Round reserve landings should be done with a PLF; I haven't seen many civilian instructors capable of doing PLFs, let alone teaching them.

Bottom line: in the most likely scenarios, a square is much better than a round.

Rounds are inexpensive -- I can't get any takers at $200 for an airworthy round reserve. And rounds don't have freebags, so there's less to lose if a student has a cutaway.

Mark

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Ever tried to sink a round reserve into someones back garden because your main is square and you've had a bad spot/ tracked the wrong way? Shit happens.



Yeah, but if you're in Kansas and your only obstacle on an out is the chance of hitting a cow.... round reserves aren't a bad choice for a student.

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MRVS is located between Henrietta and Lexington, Missouri; about two or three miles to either. Skydive Kansas City is in Butler, Missouri. Not in Kansas.;)

The average wind speed in that area is about 20% greater than Florida (excluding Key West). According to data provided by the city of Henrietta, the average wind speed is greater than 10 mph (exceeding the BSR limit for students equipped with round reserves) 8 of 12 months in the year.>:( Consider also that winds at night are generally lower than during daytime.

Every airport has some obstacles around it, such as airplanes, cars, hangers, electrical lines, roads, fences, ditches, etc. MVRS is in the Missouri River valley, close enough to the river to have been flooded in 1993. Obstacles which a square-equipped jumper doesn't think twice about can be hazards to someone jumping a round.[:/]

I've used a round reserve in Kansas. It wasn't much fun, and I don't think I'd have enjoyed it any more if I'd used it in Missouri.

Mark

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I just had this conversation with a couple of DZO's who were looking at buying some of our student gear. They are adamant they are going to stick with round reserves. At first I thought it was a money thing, but I am convinced now that they really believe it is a good idea. This is similar to the SOS idea. Some DZs have gear that only has one handle to do everything in an emergency. The idea is that it simplifies EPs for the student.
If these people really think round reserves are superior then why don't they have them in their rig.
My advice is to learn at a DZ that uses square reserves. After you have your own gear you should go back to this other place; they are likely nice people, just not the best place to be a student.

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but what if you were knocked out in freefall and had an aad fire. I'd rather be unconscious under a round than a square.



And that's pretty much it right there.
If I was conscious, uninjured and had just one out, I'd rather have a square reserve, for the superior accuracy and softer landing.
If I had an injured leg, which would only be made worse with a harder landing, better with the square for the softer landing.
If I was unconscious/dazed, or had injured arms that couldn't work the brakes, or had 2 out, I think a round reserve might be better.
I think it's time for Bill Booth to design a reserve canopy that will use biometric sensors and automatically adjust its shape (square or round) to your physical condition. That would be a great patent to have.

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but what if you were knocked out in freefall and had an aad fire. I'd rather be unconscious under a round than a square.



Why?



Because a square is more dependent on positive input control by the jumper than a round is to acheive a safe landing. Squares also are often more sensitive to turbulence than rounds. And if you're unconscious or have injured arms under a square, and one of the brakes has fired on opening, and your physical condition prevents you from unstowing the other brake, you could wind up landing under a spinning canopy, possibly without the capability to even do a PLF. That could be bad news. A round doesn't require a flare or have brakes that need to be unstowed.

Edited to add: I also agree with Jarett that a downwind landing while unconscious or disabled could be worse under a square than under a round.

I prefer a square reserve's superior performance, which is why I jump one now, but round reserves gave me 2 perfectly decent landings, and I'd confidently jump one now (especially at a DZ with plenty of outs :P)

I'd welcome opinions from senior/master riggers with 20+ years in the sport on which reserve has more reliable openings in very unstable body positions, square or round?

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H-mm may be I am mot right but whether in two out situation best choice - to have both reserve and main square and same size??
Especially if you unconscious and not able to cut away?
I was learned that round reserve and square main does not work together due to the significant difference of forward speed (there was at least one fatality when unexperienced skydiver didn't chop his main IN TIME being under round reserve so the main did several spirals around his reserve and stifle it) while there is 2 potentialy landing configuration of square main and reserve (espetialy same sized).

[:/]
Why drink and drive, if you can smoke and fly?

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Ever tried to sink a round reserve into someones back garden because your main is square and you've had a bad spot/ tracked the wrong way? Shit happens.

I think rounds were great at the time, and at some point I'd actually want to jump one just for the experience,, but only in perfect condtions.



....too even reach a back yard from this DZ would be near imposible.....unles a pilot declared emeregency happened........
"America will never be destroyed from the outside,
if we falter and lose our freedoms,
it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Abraham Lincoln

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When I was preparing to write “JUMP! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy” I was planning to tell readers to avoid any DZ that uses round reserves because the only reason DZ’s used them was to save money. Several very prominent DZO’s convinced me that that there may be a safety benefit to a round when a student has two parachutes out. Their argument went like this:
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“…Think about the last time you watched a student with two squares out. You were scared for him, right? Now imagine the same situation with a square and a round. You wouldn’t be as scared, right?”...

They had a point.

Of course putting a student under a round reserve means he/she needs to know how to fly a round, and it reduces the allowable wind conditions for student jumps. The added training increases the complexity of the instruction, and the threat of landing a round adds to the fear of a student. Plus, round parachutes have inversion as an inherent malfunction, and while the overall malfunction rate of a round is very low, it is still greater than a square.

In practice, students deploying and landing reserves in conventional single parachute situations are more common than dual deployments. The most frequent cause of a dual deployment is an AAD fire, and the second most common cause is probably equipment failure. I think we can dramatically reduce AAD deployments by switching to a Cypres from an FXC, and with improved training and supervision. We can also improve equipment inspection and maintenance to reduce dual deployments from those issues.

I’ve thought long and hard about using round reserves. My conclusions are based on 25 years of jumping, a skydiving career that began on round mains and reserves, probably about 5-6 actual round reserve rides, and a current package of instructional ratings in every program recognized by USPA. I'm also a rigger. I don’t like using rounds for students. I understand the counter argument and respect most of the folks who present the case for rounds, but I’m just not willing to put students out on rounds. That’s not saying round reserves are unsafe or less safe in this context. It just means that my decision is to use squares for students.

There is an entirely different argument about the benefits of an FXC for students, and while it too might make sense in isolation, I can’t buy it at all when coupled to the argument for a round reserve. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the combination of an FXC and a round reserve is bad news, is the product of ‘old school’ thinking or a cheap DZO, has no safety benefit, and should be avoided.

As for selecting a round reserve for myself just in case I’m unconscious or injured…Not a chance. I don’t like flying or landing rounds. I like my squares. When a malfunction happens I’ll probably be low and away from the airport and I want a reserve that I can land anyplace, anytime. That’s a square. More specifically, I want a docile square. I hope I never need to land my reserve unconscious, but I know it flys well (and slow) without input as long as the toggles remain stowed. Having landed both square and round reserves, I’ll pack a square every time.
.
Tom Buchanan
Instructor Emeritus
Comm Pilot MSEL,G
Author: JUMP! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy

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I'd welcome opinions from senior/master riggers with 20+ years in the sport on which reserve has more reliable openings in very unstable body positions, square or round?



Will 15 years do?

IMO a round with a mesh skirt and a full stowage diaper, (not type one deployment). That said I wouldn't choose to jump a round again :)
_________________________________________

Nullius in Verba

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I have a bigger reserve for the reason that if I was unable to take control of the situation, I'd have some thing bigger over my head. Am I living in a dream world thinking that?
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

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... hats off to TomB, he said it better then I could have... but I'd like to add my observations in my 12ish years of jumping...

In my time... I've seen probably a handful, half a dozen, maybe, experienced jumpers get themselves into a 2-out situation, square main & square reserve. In all cases, except one, it was as a result of a low pull on their main with an almost simultaneous AAD fire. Interestingly, I have to say, I've seen this scenario with both FXC and Cypres... obviously, the low pull & Cypres fire being A LOT lower then the same with an FXC. (Aside... I haven't seen an FXC on an experienced jumper in at least 6 years.) Anyway, of those experienced jumpers that got themselves under two squares, its probably about an even split as to whether they landed both, or chopped the main... in one case, the jumper had to or would probably have died because his main and reserve went into the dreaded solo downplane. As for the one 2-out situation I recall from years and years ago that wasn't as a result of a low pull & AAD fire combo... because the jumper didn't have an AAD of any sort... that one was and still is a mystery. The jumper got under his main and his reserve "just blew". To be honest, I don't think we ever did come up with a good theory on that one; his reserve handle was still in place, like I said he didn't have an AAD installed.

Also, back in the day, when I learned to jump, I learned at a DZ that had the venerable Manta 288 mains, FXC AADs and Round Reserves with an SOS & RSL set-up in their student gear. Please note that this was just before Cypres was introduced. That set-up was used many times to successfully teach students to jump, myself included... although, I agree, that the use of a Student Cypres vs. an FXC will, should, predictably, reduce the number of AAD fires. Anyway, while I myself never had to ride a round reserve while on student status, I have seen several students, back then, have to use them. By and large, the majority that wound up under a round reserve were there after their main mal'ed and they did their emergency procedures, pulled the SOS; cutting away thier main and deploying their reserves. However, there were also a handful of students that I saw get into the 2-out situation with their square main and round reserve both out... and, if you haven't ever seen this yourself... believe me, its a lot less scary seeing a student under a sqaure and round 2-out; basiclly, the main just collapses and trails and the student comes down under the round. Predictably, as I recall, all the students that got themsevles into this 2-out, square & round, situation were because of an AAD fire.

Anyway, it is undeniable that in years gone by rounds have served sport skydiving well and that rounds continue to serve well and best in military and civilian applications (e.g. paratroopers, ejection seats, bail-out rigs, etc.). Yes, in the sport skydiving world, squares have long since replaced rounds as mains and also for the most part (99%) replaced round reserves too... this doesn't mean rounds are "bad", just "less better suited." At the same time, I wouldn't be quick to say that a DZ that still uses round reserves in their student gear is "sub-standard." Remember, the purpopse of the reserve is to get you to the ground safely and while, yes, shit happens, but in theory a student's jumpmasters / DZO has done their job to properly train the student to fly that round should they find themselves under it and also shepperded them well so they don't find themselves under that round on a really bad spot or in high winds. If by some strange twist of reality, if any of us chopped thier malfunctioning main, pulled the reserve handle and a round came out... and then we got to the ground safe... I'd say each and everyone that had such an experience would think that round was "okay" as it just saved their life... and then go looking for the person that replaced their square reserve with it, but I digress... ;) Personnally, I'm a bit more leary of FXCs then round reserves in this discussion... not that FXCs are "bad", but they are older technology that if one treats / jumps a rig with one on like it had a Cypres, you're kinda asking for it. I was always told that if you had a rig with an FXC, a good, conservative, way to keep youself out of trouble with it was to NO KIDDING be in the saddle 1500' above where it was set... this doesn't mean pulling 1500' above the setting, this means main OPEN... anyway, not to start an arguement over the merits and limits of FXC... just sharing info.

As for myself, I cannot imagine ever wanting or putting a round reserve into one of my sprot rigs. All my jumps have been done using squares and all my reserve rides (all 2 of them... knock wood) have been under square reserves. Having said that though, if I ever had to use a bail-out rig with a round, if given the choice, it would be with the biggest round I could get my hands on... 28'+!!!!
;)

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Come on!

It's 2005. Round reserve in sport is only for pilot bail out rig.

I had 3 rides on PZ-81, a triangular reserve. I would rather choose that than a round reserve.



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Do you know where I can buy a slightly-used PZ-81 for cheap?
Hee!
Hee!
I have a few jumps on Delta 2 and Paradactyl and would like to keep a Rogallo canopy around for novelty jumps.
Note: I trust Rogallos more than I trust rounds.

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Try a different angle ... by asking them how OLD their reserves are.
Square reserves started replacing round reserves for licensed jumpers circa 1986, when the acid mesh scandal hit.
Naturally, licensed jumpers tried to sell their round reserves to student operations.
I would have nothing to do with a school that issued round reserves to students .. that were sewn during the acid mesh era (1980 to 1986).
Even if those round reserves have never been jumped, dozens of pull tests and pack jobs have gradually loosened the Lo-Po fabric until it is loose enough to land like a bag lock!

The first square reserve big enough for students was the Raven 4 (280 square feet) introduced in 1983 or 1984.

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Most two-outs are caused by freefall students "sucking it down" low enough to scare an FXC 12000 AAD.
FXC Corporation recommends leaving a 1500 margin of error between the AAD firing altitude and the planned main opening (saddling out) altitude. The bottom line is, no student has a valid excuse for still being in freefall below 3,000 feet!
Fortunately, modern electronic AADs (i.e Cypres) have smaller margins of error and are gradually replacing FXCs at more progressive DZs.

In conclusion, the best way to prevent two-outs is to equip students with modern, electronic AADs and devote plenty of time to teaching altitude awareness.
Round reserves are a lame (pun intended) third-rate excuse.

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I'd welcome opinions from senior/master riggers with 20+ years in the sport on which reserve has more reliable openings in very unstable body positions, square or round?



Will 15 years do?

IMO a round with a mesh skirt and a full stowage diaper, (not type one deployment). That said I wouldn't choose to jump a round again :)


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Nice try.

Too bad only one company (GQ Security of Great Britain) tried to market a round reserve with a mesh skirt and they never sold a significant number because they were too bulky.
I would still rather be hanging under a Tempo 250 on a bad day.

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because I'd rather be going down under a round reserve. if your under a square your going downwind and it will hurt (maybe not because your knocked out) if you hit an obstacle.



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I still believe that you are better off landing a large (i.e. 250 square foot) reserve - with the brakes stowed - than any round reserve.
Hint, I worked on all phases of TSO testing for the P124A/Aviator pilot emergency parachute system containing 290 square foot, ram air canopies. On several occasions, I landed them down-wind, in the toolees, with my hands off the controls. All those landings were softer than rounds.
But what have I learned after 28 years .. well over 4,300 jumps, etc.

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