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melathechamp

Reserve pilot chute stuck

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My rig is up for a repack, so i decided to pull the reserve for fun at home. I could hear the pop of the pilot chute coming out, but noticed that it didn`t leave the container. Turned out the bottom of the pilot chute was stuck inside the reserve container, and wasn`t coming out easily. It didn`t take very much force to pull it out, but doubt it would extract in freefall (and definitely not after a low speed malfunction), especially with the difficulty of inflating so close to the rig. Also, I believe I twisted the PC a little when the rig was on the ground, making it easier to pull out. I want to believe I would be able to manually pull it out in an emergency, but I am not sure. It definitely shook me up.

Luckily, my dad got it on video and I will upload it later today after work. Until then, have anyone had the same happened to them, ground or air?

My rig is a Mirage G4 M7 with a Spectre 210 and a PDR 218.

I will show the video to the rigger when I hand in the rig later today (not the same rigger btw!).

Cheers

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It can happen when the closing loop is too long or not very slick and it locks the flaps closed with the pressure of the loop jamming in the grommets.

Show the video to your rigger and see what they say about it.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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No, that's not the same at all.

I would investigate that fully, there seems to be something locking the base of the RPC to the container, maybe a closing loop routed funny thru the larks head knot or maybe closed wrong are all I can think of off the top of my head.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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I think he may be talking about something else. It sounds like the base of the PC was stuck. This can happen some times. It you've got a molar style bag and tight side flaps the bag can get squeezed inwards trapping coils of the spring. After 120 now 180 days The canopy can be a brick. Stiff enough to not want to let go of the spring. A little work with the paddle as you close the side flaps can go a long way towards preventing this. Show it to your rigger. Try not to disturb it too much so He can see what was going on.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

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theonlyski

It can happen when the closing loop is too long or not very slick and it locks the flaps closed with the pressure of the loop jamming in the grommets.



This usually only happens with the AAD cutter fire (located between the reserve PC and freebag, or below the freebag).

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I will discuss it with my rigger, and have him look at it closely. I am not familiar with how a reserve and the RPC is packed, but it actually seemed like the bottom of the RPC got stuck between the side flaps. What is the sub flap that should prevent this?

Dont know if it matters, but the repack cycle here in norway is actually a year and not 6 months.

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I fully support the idea of you pulling your reserve when its time for a repack. And it's great you got it on video. But this is why you should do it in front of your rigger.

You may want to have a different rigger look at it. That PC seemed to be very securely captured. Hopefully it still is. But being that solid makes me think a rigger error but I can't quite sort it out. Unless they put the PC under the first flap instead of on top. Then what Lee said about the molar bag would apply. The side flaps are not capturing the PC.

Here is another example but was captured by the side flaps but for different reason. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d39xqpKPX_w This was due to the steel flingers in the side flaps of the Quasar. This was done in front of a rigger (me) and the video is the second time it did it. This resulted in the Quasar recall 6 years ago.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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It's not stuck on the side flaps, you can clearly see that in the vid. The RPC is suppose to sit on top of the #1 flap which has a stiffener inside of it and serves as a launching plate and prevents the spring from sinking into , and possibly damaging the freebag and reserve. It is possible, but not likely that is was packed with the #1 flap under the freebag and the spring just sitting on top of the freebag, allowing it to be trapped in the valley formed by the molar shape of the bag. If so this would be a gross error.

The other possibility is that somehow the closing loop is wrapped around the base of the bridle inhibiting but not preventing the RPC from leaving.

Edit to say that Terry's scenario with the #1 flap on top is even more likely.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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councilman24

I fully support the idea of you pulling your reserve when its time for a repack. And it's great you got it on video. But this is why you should do it in front of your rigger.

You may want to have a different rigger look at it. That PC seemed to be very securely captured. Hopefully it still is. But being that solid makes me think a rigger error but I can't quite sort it out. Unless they put the PC under the first flap instead of on top. Then what Lee said about the molar bag would apply. The side flaps are not capturing the PC...



Definitely worth repeating, with emphasis added!!

OP - Correct me if I'm wrong, but your added quote (paraphrase) that "it took a little twisting to pull it/get it clear" indicates to me that you went even further - to take this off your back and then manually fully extract/clear this lock? ...WHY??. HUGE MISTAKE!! :S [:/]

At your experience level, now effectively diagnosing what actually caused/was causing this - is lost; and as you are even already seeing in here - by just watching the video (at least you did that much ...even if it was originally intended to only "entertain" yourself) all is left is guesswork/speculation. :o

Good for you for wanting to learn your gear - but to (effectively) do that - you need to do this in front of someone else who themselves already actually knows gear... i.e. YOUR RIGGER! Not just members of your whuffo family. [:/]

Hopefully now, you are still able somehow, to get full / accurate diagnosis.
coitus non circum - Moab Stone

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That has happened to 2 Russians skydivers on Mirage systems years ago when they had pulled low on a jump to discover after landing that their AADs had fired but without any extraction of the reserve pilot chute. At the time, the AAD cutter on Mirage was still located just above the packed reserve freebag. That incident prompted Mirage to change the position of the cutter for placing it above the pilot chute crown which make the remaining of the loop shorter. The incident was, if my memory is good, attributed to a too loose closing loop. When the closing loop is cut, the reserve flaps spread out making the closing routing being a zigzag which can jam the flaps and the pilot chute. That is why, a tigh closing loop is always better. Now, if the rig has been packed in the Spring in dry air, in the Summertime, humidity and heat can lose the closing loop due to less static elecricity which makes the reserve packed volume decreasing.
Another possible consideration is the rigger who packed the reserve. He has to stick closely with the manufacturer's directives for flap sequence, pilot chute material set up and the setting of the bridle. That should avoid that very embarrassing situation.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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Not if the closing loop is tight enough and the manufacturer's directives are closely observed for flap sequence, pilot chute material and bridle set up. Many years ago, after the Russians problem with Mirage, I have performed a test on my Vector III, I put a flat cutting knife under the reserve floor with a pull cord attached to it. I had then the maximum closing loop length remaining. I closed the reserve container and performed a pull. The pilot chute jumped 5 ft high. This test has been published on Skydiving Magazine including pictures of the launch.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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So i spoke to my rigger, and it seems my previous "rigger" did some major errors. It was then told to me that he lost his rigger license a while back, after repeatedly packing reserves wrong!

I will try to explain, based on what the rigger said:

First of all, he put all of the bridle on top of the #1 flap, instead of some under and some on top. Do not know if this caused anything, but it was pointed out as a mistake.

Most importantly, he basically packed my reserve as it was a wings or javelin. He divided the reserve on each side, and put the pilot chute in the middle (see freebag in photo 0877 and 0872). This caused the #1 flap to fold and trap the bottom ring of the RPC (see the shape of the flap in photo 0875 and 0878). It is my understanding that the flap is supposed to lay flat on an evenly distributed freebag.

He said the RPC would might come out in a high speed mal, but would for sure take a long time in a low speed mal. Who knows...

I trust this new rigger, and I will definitely not use a rigger again without getting some references and verification he knows what he's doing.

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You are totally right. I will definitely pop the reserve in front of a rigger next time.

As you said, I did extract the pilot chute, but very carefully. I left everything else in place, inluding the entire bridle and freebag.

I was able to show and explain to him what happened, and luckily we figured out what caused it.

Anyway, lesson learned!

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I've seen an instance where the plastic re-enforcement on the #1 flap of a mirage was bent to all hell... happens when riggers don't read how much fabric should be in the Molar Ears of the freebag for the G3 vs the G4.


Is your #1 flap bent? Cracked? Etc?
Woot Woot!

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This is an interesting case.

The rigger might even have thought he was doing a really good job to get the pilot chute well seated.

(I'm not sure of loop length but the rig looked quite reasonable on the video before the pin was pulled.)

We know that Mirages, after the cutter relocation ontop of the PC, and especially if also having the older non-dished PC cap, tend to be a bit bulgy with the top flap not as flush and flat as many would like. For many rigs, there are tricks riggers use to try to improve the pack job distribution, which don't always exactly match what the manual says. I've even seen rigs come factory packed in ways different from the manual.

So there he goes and tries a different form of bulk distribution to make the rig close better, with a shorter loop, and finds out an unintended consequence -- The pilot chute base seating down too low, with the edges of flap 1 curling over it.

So while he may have lost his license for other things, and clearly packed the bridle unlike any other Mirage, I think the pilot chute error can't just be dismissed as "He didn't follow the manual". It is as something a little more complex than that. Some rigging experience was lacking, to see the potential for a problem, when adjustments were made to the bulk distribution described in the manual.

The edges of those Mirage flaps #1 that cover the freebag, do tend to fold and get in the way.

Simply sweeping the edges of flap 1 outward while bringing the side flaps inward might well have avoided the problem, despite the deep well in the center. Or perhaps in this case, the well was too deep (because he went apparently quite extreme on adjusting bulk distribution) and the flap had to bend excessively. It isn't uncommon for a rigger to need to keep something like a bridle in place while the next flap is pulled across and closed, so good rigging observation would have caught that the edges of the flap were not lying flat but were folding into the PC. (Although it wouldn't fix any long term cracking that might happen.)



(Hell, if we all followed manuals exactly, there might be trapped Mirage G3 reserve pilot chutes everywhere. For years and years, and even now, the manual skips the stop on what to do with the pilot chute fabric after a 'tube' is created! One can kind of guess from the photos, follow typical rigging practices, or copy from the later G4, but there are zero instructions. See Figure 30+ in the G3 manual.)

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I can confirm that this rigger lost his riggers license one year ago and his is not operational as a rigger anymore.

We also know that the rigger was using packing tools - a packing device with a T-bar - and this makes it possible to use a lot more force then recommended to close the container. We also know that he did not follow the manual and this is the case for at least three other rapported cases in Norway (the same rigger).
So RTFM people :P

And to "melathechamp": Your new rigger is absolutly trustworthy :)

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melathechamp

Thanks for the info. I have been speaking to the head of his dropzone, and a report is being written. I have also been told that all rigs packed by this person will most likely be grounded.

Good to hear I'm in good hands now!:)



Why were they not grounded the minute he lost his riggers license?
With one year repacktime and he lost his license a year ago that means most of his packjobs (or perhaps all) are already repacked now.

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