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NickyCal

New helmet results in weird openings -- help!

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Hi sky friends,

Here's my story. I've flown an open faced helmet from day one, but recently splurged on a Cookie G3, prior to the upcoming winter "season" (jump when we can!). I started using it on jump 101. But, while I love it in the air, when I throw out and open, it feels like something is hitting me in the back of the head (or catching on the helmet) and I am repeatedly going into line twists! This has never ever been an issue in the past. I am trying to pay very close attention to my body position and details of the throw out, but just cannot figure out what is going on. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on what might have changed so dramatically with the switch to a closed face helmet? I am stumped -- and sick of these new twisted openings!

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NickyCal

Hi sky friends,

Here's my story. I've flown an open faced helmet from day one, but recently splurged on a Cookie G3, prior to the upcoming winter "season" (jump when we can!). I started using it on jump 101. But, while I love it in the air, when I throw out and open, it feels like something is hitting me in the back of the head (or catching on the helmet) and I am repeatedly going into line twists! This has never ever been an issue in the past. I am trying to pay very close attention to my body position and details of the throw out, but just cannot figure out what is going on. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on what might have changed so dramatically with the switch to a closed face helmet? I am stumped -- and sick of these new twisted openings!



You didn't mention your size, but I suppose it's possible that a riser is clipping your helmet. If you are particularly small/short/slender it might make that possible. I can see where if the distance from the riser to the side of the helmet is very small it could cause some interaction, especially if you don't have your head perfectly straight as the risers lift off your shoulders.


Do you leave your head turned to watch your pilot chute launch?

Do you have a large size helmet relative to the width of your shoulders?

Do you wear your chest strap extra snug, narrowing the distance between the risers and your helmet?

Does it seem that whatever is hitting your head is in the same place each time?

Are your line twists in the same direction each time?

These are all just shot in the dark questions as I have never heard of this problem happening on a regular basis.

You may also have someone film you as you deploy in place. Might be able to get the problem on video.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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Do you leave your head turned to watch your pilot chute launch?



I don't think so. And I've really been conscious of body position (and head position) since this started happening. Straight ahead, slightly looking up.


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Do you have a large size helmet relative to the width of your shoulders?



The helmet profile may be more "bubbled" than my old Benny. It is a size small, but I am a petite person with a small frame. It does probably stick out quite a bit more.

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Do you wear your chest strap extra snug, narrowing the distance between the risers and your helmet?



Yes. Very much so. Because if I don't, it strangles me on opening.

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Does it seem that whatever is hitting your head is in the same place each time?
Are your line twists in the same direction each time?



Yes and yes.

People at the DZ keep telling me that it's "all in your imagination", but that's not possible -- because it is happening! You may have hit on some key points with the different shape of the helmet and my extra snug chest strap. Maybe I do need somebody to film me at deployment and see if we can see what's going on. It's getting really frustrating and I had one set of line twists that just kept going and very nearly resulted in a cut-away. I'm not liking this.

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Based on your answers I would definitely try having your openings filmed. One other thing to try is to transition between your old helmet and your new one to see if the problem maintains the pattern.

While rare, I can see how this could be a case of risers interacting with your helmet. You may be a candidate for a Z1 or other fullface helmet that isn't quite as wide/large.

Let us know what you find out.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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I had a similar problem when changing to a new Rig. In my case I think it was due to not maintaining a proper body position throughout the opening. The issue disappeared once I focussed on maintaining a proper box position and not looking up or grabbing the risers until the opening canopy had seated me up completely.

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I seriously doubt the helmet actually has anything to do with the canopy going into twists.

Is the canopy/bag twisting up right off your back as the dbag leaves the pack tray (you can feel this but not see it) or is it spinning up during inflation?

My vote would also be to just have someone competent video your deployments a few times (not just once). Sometimes it's just bad luck... one of my Nitrons spun up on me for no reason recently... of course it had happen when I was intentionally humming it down on a bigish-way... it was probably just scared. :P
NSCR-2376, SCR-15080

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Strangles you huh? Does The chest strap move up and nearly choke you out? If so, your harness is too long.



The chest strap is much higher than on my old rig. Not to be too graphic, but the old chest strap (on my Wings) seated just below my breasts, whereas this one (new Mirage) has to be cinched right onto them. And if I don't cinch it really tightly, when I open, it comes up and chokes me around the neck. However, I'd never had issues with the line twists on this new rig, until the new helmet.

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The issue disappeared once I focussed on maintaining a proper box position and not looking up or grabbing the risers until the opening canopy had seated me up completely



And I wonder if maybe I'm doing something different with my head because of the closed face helmet??? So perhaps it is body position? But I'm really trying to focus and be careful, yet still keep getting smacked in the back of the head by what is presumably a riser. I'll be out both Sat and Sun this weekend, so will ask a friend or two nicely to get some film on my openings and maybe see what's going on. I'll report back.

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NickyCal



The chest strap is much higher than on my old rig. Not to be too graphic, but the old chest strap (on my Wings) seated just below my breasts, whereas this one (new Mirage) has to be cinched right onto them. And if I don't cinch it really tightly, when I open, it comes up and chokes me around the neck. However, I'd never had issues with the line twists on this new rig, until the new helmet.



the problem is your rig not the helmet. your rig should not choke you on or after opening.

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NickyCal

The chest strap[...]And if I don't cinch it really tightly, when I open, it comes up and chokes me around the neck.



As others are getting at, it seems like the main lift webs may be a little long. Making sure the leg straps are extra snug may help but there's a limit. Chest strap positions on rigs do vary a bit. If tightening the chest strap a lot helps, maybe that's effectively shortening everything by creating more of an "X" shape rather than "H" shape -- when looking at the harness from the front of the jumper. Plus generally holding your body in tighter, so one may be 'slumping' less within the harness on opening. So who knows, lateral length and yoke size can all be involved too.

I think by trying to cover all the points I pretty much just said, 'who knows, it could be anything' -- there's some sort of harness fit issue.

A looser harness (despite the extra tight chest strap) might allow you to unintentionally load one leg strap more than the other on opening, not as symmetrically as desired. Still, line twists are a bit of a surprise as you would be at a low wing loading at ~113 jumps. Your profile says Sabre2 150 at a low 0.83 wing load.

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dqpacker

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The chest strap is much higher than on my old rig. Not to be too graphic, but the old chest strap (on my Wings) seated just below my breasts, whereas this one (new Mirage) has to be cinched right onto them. And if I don't cinch it really tightly, when I open, it comes up and chokes me around the neck. However, I'd never had issues with the line twists on this new rig, until the new helmet.



the problem is your rig not the helmet. your rig should not choke you on or after opening.

DQ, the OP indicated the problem began when she got the new helmet, not a new rig. I could be wrong but I'm guessing she had no issues on the rig as it relates to the line twists until getting the new helmet.

Guessing of course, and you are right that the chest strap thing needs addressed.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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How about you put your chin on your breast during the actual throw of the pilot chute till you can feel that you are seated up. After checking the airspace during pull time i got used to this behaviour, with me especially because i can move my camera further away from risers and so on. But this might also avoid your risers hitting against your helmet, which i think is the case here and might cause the offheading openings. It's just an idea. Just do that for the 1.5 seconds it takes from throw to being seated up. I guess your risers are so close together because of your tight chest strap that your helmet just doesn't fit in between, especially if you got a small shoulder width too.

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NickyCal

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Is the canopy/bag twisting up right off your back as the dbag leaves the pack tray (you can feel this but not see it) or is it spinning up during inflation?



It is spinning up during inflation. After it hits the back of my head.



that's an interesting bit of information. where are you experiencing getting hit? is it on the side in the back of the head, or dead center in the back?

I wonder, because the G3 is slightly pointed in the back, if you are getting hit dead center in the back of the head, have someone film your openings and make sure to get your leg position. Maybe you're starting to backslide just as the deployment bag leaves your container, and you are sliding into it, which could easily cause it to start spinning.

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Sooooooo, nine jumps this weekend and it didn't happen, not even once. I have no idea. Hopefully, whatever "it" was has ended. I'm guessing some odd body position. Not sure why changing helmets affected my body position on opening, but it must have. Being very conscious of position with each throw-out seems to have remedied the problem.

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