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Baksteen

Pros and cons of different types of reserve ripcords

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This thread is inspired by my seeing my very first Spectra reserve ripcord last weekend.
Searching for this stuff just finds a bunch of old threads.

1) What are the pros and cons of a steel cable versus a spectra cable? Who would benefit and who would not?

2) What are the pros and cons of a D-ring steel reserve handle versus a reserve pillow? Who would benefit and who would not?

3) While we're at it, what are the pros and cons of a (soft) D-ring cutaway versus a cutaway pillow? Who would benefit and who would not?
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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Spectra ripcord have a bungee in them to help with the floating ripcord if the handle becomes dislodged. The problem is the bungee only lasts a few seasons before it stretches out and isn't really effective anymore. The spectra that is not inside the housing is exposed to sunlight will begin to fade and weaken. I have already had to replace a few spectra ripcord because of wear. I've never had to replace a metal one due to wear. The spectra is easy to replace and basically breaks down into 3 parts. The handle, the pin, and the spectra part. The spectra ones are easy to replace and can be handy if you have a bent pin. Although I have only seen them with the fat upt pin and have never seen a bent upt pin. Basically I think the pros and cons are a wash. The pros are a lot better for upt cause they are cheaper to make.

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The pros are a lot better for upt cause they are cheaper to make.




As far as I know only UPT uses Spectra ripcords. No one else seems to think they are superior, and I agree with that assessment. They will supply a steel cable ripcord with a new rig, but only if you request one. I would request one. And order a Skyhook too. ( If you order without the Skyhook they would supply a steel cable ripcord with a terminal pin. The Spectra ripcord can only work with the marine eye pin)
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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Has anyone measured the difference between the pull force at the pin vs. at the handle with a steel ripcord on the Vector? With Spectra (post-PSB yellow label), the difference is 8-10 lbs. On my rig, it usually takes around 10 lbs to move the pin directly, and just under 20 lbs to pull the handle. I'm curious how this compares to a steel ripcord.

My previous Spectra ripcord, which I replaced even though it wasn't covered by the PSB, added 23.2 lbs (10.5 at the pin, 33.7 at the handle). Reported this to UPT, but nothing came out of that discussion.

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Funny you should ask about that. The Vector 2 manual had a strong suggestion that you try to keep it at no more than 12 lbs. Now that they have Spectra ripcords I've heard they are not as concerned about that. And that they no longer consider a static pull test as valid. The only valid way to measure now is to take a run at it and completely extract the pin. Of course no one does that because then you would have to reclose it.

Steel on steel has far less friction. Ask a railroader.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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Hi Ken,

Quote

The Spectra ripcord can only work with the marine eye pin



This is true as currently configured. However, the idea of a fabric/cording ripcord has been around since the 80's.

The Handbury Rig used a Dacron ripcord going to two pull-out pins ( the reserve container was a 2-pin similar to the original Wonderhog ).

The current UPT design is patented so one must enter into a licensing agreement to use their design.

Jerry Baumchen

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The current UPT design is patented so one must enter into a licensing agreement to use their design.




I've never seen one offered on a Javelin or an Icon. Even though they do license the Skyhook. You'd think they would go together.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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JerryBaumchen

Hi Ken,

Quote

The Spectra ripcord can only work with the marine eye pin



This is true as currently configured. However, the idea of a fabric/cording ripcord has been around since the 80's.

The Handbury Rig used a Dacron ripcord going to two pull-out pins ( the reserve container was a 2-pin similar to the original Wonderhog ).

The current UPT design is patented so one must enter into a licensing agreement to use their design.

Jerry Baumchen



I would very much like to be able to use the beefier pin instead of what I consider to be pathetically weak (too easy to bend) standard ripcord pin.

If that means that using a spectra or whatever material "cable" would be the way to make that possible (to be able to attach to the UPT pin), I'd do it for sure, even if it meant having to watch out for wear or UV damage and replace it every few years or whatever.

I don't expect Velocity Sports to be too interested in allowing such a non-standard setup on my rig. Maybe it would be worth asking? What do you think? I also don't expect that a master rigger would think they can adapt it, do you agree?
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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skydiverek

From the inventor about Spectra ripcord:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1J_zE3eFdw


.



As real life experience has shown, appart from him saying it's 50% less expensive everything else he mentioned where marketing lies.
It's cheaper but inferior in every aspect with the exception of floating handles.
But yay for innovation :S:S
-------------------------------------------------------

To absent friends

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I didn't see any comments about the cutaway handle so I thought I'd chime in here. You asked about a soft D Ring vs Pillow. I assume you are talking about a soft handle made of webbing with cutaway cable material sewn inside and I have seen a few of these. I have arthritis and it makes gripping a pillow very difficult for me and I didn't like the feel of the soft loop with cable inside so I had a metal low profile D cutaway handle made for my rig and it worked out well.

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Hi Cliff,

Quote

do you agree?



40 yrs ago, I would have said, 'Go for it.'

Nowadays I tend to be more conservative.

I am not an attorney & my son does not practice with patents in any manner. It is my 'understanding' that an individual can make and use anything that has a patent FOR THEMSELVES ONLY. If you were to copy & sell something with a patent, that is where you cross the line.

You, as an engineer ( as I am ) have this little problem of; 'I can do that.' Well, sometimes that is a false bravado. Not that you cannot do; it is just that a reasonable amount of testing is still a lot of time & money.

As above: 'Go for it.'

:P

Jerry Baumchen

PS) 'I can do that.' is the real reason as to how/why I designed & built an AAD back in the mid-'60's.

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It's cheaper but inferior in every aspect with the exception of floating handles.
But yay for innovation :S:S



Aw, come on, that typical length ripcord cable weighs slightly more that half an ounce. (3/32" 7*7 stainless = 1.6 lbs per 100 ft) The Spectra and bungee can't be nearly as much.
So a jumper is going to be maybe 1/4 to 1/2 ounce lighter, clearly a big improvement! :P

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I see the low-profile metal D-ring or soft loop ripcord with CRW-dogs occasionally, mostly as a way to prevent the ripcord being dislodged during wraps. It's bad enough if your cutaway pillow gets ripped out (I've seen that happen once), but a multitude as worse when your reserve is activated while you're still working yourself out of a wrap/entanglement.

Personally, I think pillow-type reserve ripcords are a fashion fad more than anything. I cannot think of any serious advantage they have over old-fashioned D-ring handle.

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I don't expect Velocity Sports to be too interested in allowing such a non-standard setup on my rig. Maybe it would be worth asking? What do you think? I also don't expect that a master rigger would think they can adapt it, do you agree?



When you change that pin don't forget to add the much larger diameter housing to allow for it.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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The pin doesn’t go through even the big housing. The big housing is needed for the eye on the steel cable.
But you k ow that.

This is one of my dislikes of the system. The pin can act as a ripcord stop if it doesn't rotate out of the eye. If you're old enough to remember why ripcord stops were bad in the 70's you'll understand.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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councilman24

The pin doesn’t go through even the big housing. The big housing is needed for the eye on the steel cable.
But you k ow that.

This is one of my dislikes of the system. The pin can act as a ripcord stop if it doesn't rotate out of the eye. If you're old enough to remember why ripcord stops were bad in the 70's you'll understand.



I typed before thinking that one through. Not thinking of all the possibilities is the main problem with modifying gear. But yes, you will need the big housing to push the spectra ripcord through as well.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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Reminds me of a customer who jumped a Vector 2 with an RSL and "6" pin similar to Tandem Vectors.
When his main spun up, he cutaway and followed through with his steel reserve ripcord ......... er ........... he tried to follow through with his reserve ripcord. Since the first tug did not remove the ripcord cable from the spiral housing, he tugged again. By the fourth tug, he was getting desperate!
Then he looked up to see a fully-inflated Micro Raven 150 overhead!
Hah!
Hah!
Moral of the story: a Sigma pin can jam sideways to the mouth of the metal housing. No big deal, because the pin is out of the Cypres loop and the reserve pilot-chute is long gone!

On another note: RWS/UPT has installed at least 4 different thicknesses of slightly-curved reserve ripcord pins (aka Sigma or 6 pins). The first "6" pin was made of stainless steel wire and brazed to close the loop. A few other manufacturers (e.g. Parachutes de France) have copied the early "6" pin.
Most subsequent pins are made of sheet stainless steel. The first few Sigma pins were thin and cold stamped from sheet steel. Later "6" pins were stamped from thicker sheets of stainless steel. The most recent Sigma pin is forged and thicker than earlier pins.

If a customer wanted a replacement ripcord for his Vector, Micron or Sigma, I would order the most recent version of Sigma pin from UPT.

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gowlerk

As far as I know only UPT uses Spectra ripcords.



Parachute System does too, at least on the Vortexes that come with a Skyhook. Ripcord choice is not included on the order form, and I haven't tried requesting it, though I assume you could still get a steel one.
"Skydivers are highly emotional people. They get all excited about their magical black box full of mysterious life saving forces."

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riggerrob

Reminds me of a customer who jumped a Vector 2 with an RSL and "6" pin similar to Tandem Vectors.
When his main spun up, he cutaway and followed through with his steel reserve ripcord ......... er ........... he tried to follow through with his reserve ripcord. Since the first tug did not remove the ripcord cable from the spiral housing, he tugged again. By the fourth tug, he was getting desperate!
Then he looked up to see a fully-inflated Micro Raven 150 overhead!
Hah!
Hah!
Moral of the story: a Sigma pin can jam sideways to the mouth of the metal housing. No big deal, because the pin is out of the Cypres loop and the reserve pilot-chute is long gone!
.



No big deal until some has a hard pull, hits the end of the cable and thinks "its just the pin hitting the housing and stops pulling, with the pin still in the loop. For others this was the problem and end of ripcord stops that allowed old time jumpers to pull their main ripcord and then let go of it.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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riggerrob

Reminds me of a customer who jumped a Vector 2 with an RSL and "6" pin similar to Tandem Vectors.
When his main spun up, he cutaway and followed through with his steel reserve ripcord ......... er ........... he tried to follow through with his reserve ripcord. Since the first tug did not remove the ripcord cable from the spiral housing, he tugged again. By the fourth tug, he was getting desperate!
Then he looked up to see a fully-inflated Micro Raven 150 overhead!
Hah!
Hah!
Moral of the story: a Sigma pin can jam sideways to the mouth of the metal housing. No big deal, because the pin is out of the Cypres loop and the reserve pilot-chute is long gone!

On another note: RWS/UPT has installed at least 4 different thicknesses of slightly-curved reserve ripcord pins (aka Sigma or 6 pins). The first "6" pin was made of stainless steel wire and brazed to close the loop. A few other manufacturers (e.g. Parachutes de France) have copied the early "6" pin.
Most subsequent pins are made of sheet stainless steel. The first few Sigma pins were thin and cold stamped from sheet steel. Later "6" pins were stamped from thicker sheets of stainless steel. The most recent Sigma pin is forged and thicker than earlier pins.

If a customer wanted a replacement ripcord for his Vector, Micron or Sigma, I would order the most recent version of Sigma pin from UPT.




I had this happen on my very first cutaway. I was doing testing, and shit didnt go as planned and had an rds malfunction and no rsl or skyhook hooked up. It has a skyhook but i wasnt using it... I chopped and pulled reserve and it came out and then stopped.... I just remember thinking, shit, shit, while really cranking on it and voila, im looking at my reserve and let my handle just hang.... then it dawned on me what was happening.... i was just hoping it wouldnt dislodge and my reserve handle fall out, never to be seen again. I chased down my shit and had it packed up by the end of the day... I was able to repeat it on the ground the same day as i repacked my reserve...

Very disconcerting, but now im fully aware of it and oh well. The little velcro holder is supposed to tilt the pin when being pulled manually so the eye in the cable can slip off and clear, but it doesnt always work that way, especially when the handle is quite literally punched....
I was that kid jumping out if his tree house with a bed sheet. My dad wouldn't let me use the ladder to try the roof...

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Very disconcerting, but now im fully aware of it and oh well. The little velcro holder is supposed to tilt the pin when being pulled manually so the eye in the cable can slip off and clear, but it doesnt always work that way, especially when the handle is quite literally punched....



I went to a steel ripcord with marine eye for this exact reason. Seems like the steel marine eye has less friction and lets go of the pin when it rotates at the velcro. 14 repacks and practice pulls have not seen the pin jam on the hard housing once. I've had other rigs with the spectra ripcord always jam if you do a fast and realistic practice pull.

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..............................................................................................
2) What are the pros and cons of a D-ring steel reserve handle versus a reserve pillow? .......................................................................

Steel D ripcord handles as best for grumpy, old, grey-bearded POPs who learned (primacy of learning) how to pull shiny reserve handles when they were young and beautiful and please don't waste your time telling them anything new! Huuummmpppfff!
For example, 37 years ago, I pulled a metal reserve ripcord handle and lived. All my rigs have had metal ripcord handles. The minimum standard (that I am comfortable with) are the fabric loop reserve handles installed on Sigmas. I like handles that I can stick a thumb through. Too much frostbite and a bit of arthritis make me wonder if I could pull a pillow reserve ripcord on a cold day. Metal handles are easy to find by feel even when your goggles fog up.

A disadvantage is that sometimes your buddies pull loop handles accidentally during linked exits.

Pillow reserve handles look best on ten-way speed-star competitors where rough-and-tumble exits increase the risk of accidental deployment.

.................................................................................................."
3) While we're at it, what are the pros and cons of a (soft) D-ring cutaway versus a cutaway pillow? Who would benefit and who would not?
..................................................................................................

OTOH release handles need to be lighter - to reduce accidental releases - because release pull forces are rarely more than the effort to peel Velcro.
A different "feel" adds tactile feedback during high stress malfunctions. If you want a loop release handle, then buy a handle that lays flat on your chest - to reduce the risk of accidental deployment. For solo rigs, I prefer the rubber-coated, pillow, release handles installed on Voodoo Curv.

"Pocketed" release handles on Strong tandems are better, but my favourite release handles are the fabric loops installed on Sigmas. Tandem reserve and release handles are less likely to snag accidentally because they are protected by students' shoulders.

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