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MitchSteere

Strong Release System Failure.

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Picture... http://imgur.com/a/Vfb2H

We had a release cable on a duel hawk strip its sheath a few days ago and cause a total... the sheath was old/worn/cracked at the crimp by the loop, upon release, the cable pulled out, leaving the clear plastic sheath still threw the closing loop. Instructor was in the saddle at 2,400' after dumping a reserve into a drogue and dealing with a small issue with the reserve. Student went in for a back xray after they (ironically) had a slightly rougher than normal landing in the hospital parking lot.

Gear was inspected by DZO/Rigger (historically very thorough) in march, those cables don't go bad overnight though. Packers are all fairly new and are not very heads up/aspiring riggers, meaning, they'll spot the obvious stuff, but likely never gave that cable much thought.

Just wanted to let it be known, this happened... if you're jumping strong, check your cables, and make sure your packers know what to look for.. dumping reserves into drogues isn't exactly the safest thing you can do.

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Gear checks!!! Handle each part of your gear, with bare hands to feel small signs of wear. After practice, a thorough gear check takes less than a minute even if you have to give something a second look/wiggle.

Thanks for the post and picture!

Flex pin plastic coating wears faster in the cold and with abuse (i.e. new or inefficient packers who struggle to pack efficiently to make closing the container easier, thereby putting all their physical effort into monkeying with the flex pin).

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I don't fuck around with those flex pins for this exact reason. If there is any cracks I can see or feel it gets a new one.

That being said you can't see the whole cable during a gear check. I try to make sure I am periodically checking them throughout the day before the packers close, so I can get my hands on the whole flex pin every few jumps, in addition to the every jump gear check.

What was the reserve issue, and how did the instructor like the Master 425? :ph34r::ph34r:

They work, but god damn, flying those things is like being on broadcast time delay.:|
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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DougH

What was the reserve issue, and how did the instructor like the Master 425? :ph34r::ph34r:
:|



left rear line group wanted to stay together at the cascades, looked like a tension knot or something, but it cleared.... he's had 4 reserve rides on strong gear since the beginning of last season....

twisted 3 rings (not caught during gear check) caused a total, that is, until reserve inflated and pressure was off it...

blew apart top skin

possible tension knot, no vid / pics, says line group was together in a bunch.

stripped the flex pin


we have 8 rigs and 11 mains, the mains are on a constant rotation to strong for maintenance and lines... the main that possibly had the knot, has new lines (less than 50 jumps), the first gear check mal was at a boogie, he was working for someone else, wasn't our packers.... this guy has horrible luck it seams.... he's had more tandem cutaways than all of our other TIs combined in the past 6+ years

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Are you guys pulling and cleaning cables every 30 days?
Are you inspecting mains every 25 jumps? See the Strong Dual Hawk manual.
Are you replacing flex pins at the first sign of wear?
Do your packers know where spare flex pins are stored?

Bottom line: plastic sheaths stripping off cables is known problem and a recurring problem. Years ago, all three American tandem manufacturers had problems with flex pins breaking or jamming, so they told us to replace flex pins before "X" number of jumps.

Several solo jmpers have also had difficulty extracting cutaway cables ...... same solution.

On another note: your photo shows significant fraying on the bottom of the bridle. Installing a plastic bumper on that Maillon Rapide will reduce bridle fraying by 80 percent. Again, bridle fraying should be identified during 25 jump inspections.

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Your title needs to be "Gear Maintenance Failure". Flex pins have to be completely spanked in order to slide out. You need to replace them when the first crack happens, you need to train your packers to look for the items on the 25 jump check-list, you need to perform the checklist on your gear.

Any time we pull a flex pin we see what it takes to pull the plastic off. We've never been able to to do it, even with pliers.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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DJL

Your title needs to be "Gear Maintenance Failure". Flex pins have to be completely spanked in order to slide out. You need to replace them when the first crack happens, you need to train your packers to look for the items on the 25 jump check-list, you need to perform the checklist on your gear yourself, especially when working on a high volume dz.

Any time we pull a flex pin we see what it takes to pull the plastic off. We've never been able to to do it, even with pliers.



plus: as much as I was worn out by packing all of my tandems it was the best way to ensure the rigs were in a jumpable condition. and I absolutely don't get it when TI's don't inspect the gear they work with at least once a day...
The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle

dudeist skydiver # 666

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It's just one photo but it might be enlightening to see what kind of inspection and maintenance program for tandem rigs that dz has. Tandem rigs, generally, require way more attention than our experienced skydiver gear. I've seen a couple of places that don't really pay much attention to this issue, and one or two cases that I wouldn't consider their tandem rigs airworthy. Waiting for something to break is not really the best route. I also see a few TIs that just "strap it on" and hope everything is good. I don't really get that that type of thinking...

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They do not pull and clean every 30, they do not inspect mains every 25 jumps or even keep track of jump numbers for that matter, they rely on VERY INEXPERIENCED packers to be their eyes, the main packers at both local DZs having issues are either non jumpers or very new, none of them "really" know what they're looking at, just how to fold fabric.

As a packer for many years at the DZ that had the issue, I wasn't perfect, but I caught far more than the new packers and had zero chops, cables were something I definitely kept an eye on and changed. That DZ has had a high number of tandem chops this year, another just last week, despite good intentions to be on top of things by the DZO, this area seems to be slipping away from him because of "green" staff. The mains at that DZ are on a rotation to get sent in for inspection, more of a "when one comes back, we pick the worst one and send it in" rather than going by jump numbers or time.

The staff is given all the tools they need to be successful, they just dont know what tools to use...

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MitchSteere

...they rely on VERY INEXPERIENCED packers to be their eyes, the main packers at both local DZs having issues are either non jumpers or very new, none of them "really" know what they're looking at, just how to fold fabric.



Experienced riggers need to be spending time with these packers as an ongoing program of continuing education. It's as simple as this: on windy or cloudy days when there's no packing going on, sit them down in a classroom with some pizza and go over things with them.

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Hee!
Hee!
Your comment reminds me of a DZO who offered junior packers $5 to do 25-jump inspections.
None of the riggers showed any interest for those wages. .... considering that a 25-jump inspection takes me at least of couple of hours on a Dual Hawk .... and by the time I have re-sew a few popped stitches .... I have been at it for half a day.

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I had a similar/dissimilar situation happen. The hard flexible housing worked it's way thru the nipple on the end. It then passed under the closing loop of the 1st loop (older DH's had 2) causing the container to trap the main. After releasing the drogue, I felt the container do something but, the main wasn't coming out. Hit the other release and still nothing. Hit the release so it wude go away once the reserve was let go. I always was afraid of throwing the reserve into the drogue on those things. Went head down as best I cude and hit the reserve. Got lucky and it deployed uneventfully. Damn those things are an accident waiting to happen. I paid up for my Sigmas and won't use anything else.

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thax for sharing and glad you made it
but:
what you described was covered in a safety bulletin ages (5-7 years) ago… and as stated in similar threads many times: the 25-jump inspection is here for a reason…

not intentioned to start a brandwar: any tandem system has its own limitations and benefits. the trick is to know them by heart and act accordingly :)
The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle

dudeist skydiver # 666

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That bulletin was issued because of this situation. I was told they hadn't seen that prior to it happening to me.
Agreed on the limitations of each system. Z Hills has a commendable track record with their systems. We all make our own decisions in this sport. I'm simply more comfortable with the decisions I've seen come from UPT than others.

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baronn

I had a similar/dissimilar situation happen. The hard flexible housing worked it's way thru the nipple on the end. It then passed under the closing loop of the 1st loop (older DH's had 2) causing the container to trap the main. After releasing the drogue, I felt the container do something but, the main wasn't coming out. Hit the other release and still nothing. Hit the release so it wude go away once the reserve was let go. I always was afraid of throwing the reserve into the drogue on those things. Went head down as best I cude and hit the reserve. Got lucky and it deployed uneventfully. Damn those things are an accident waiting to happen. I paid up for my Sigmas and won't use anything else.



Or you could maintain your gear. Now that you're jumping Sigmas do you never replace the closing loop?
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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DJL

***I had a similar/dissimilar situation happen. The hard flexible housing worked it's way thru the nipple on the end. It then passed under the closing loop of the 1st loop (older DH's had 2) causing the container to trap the main. After releasing the drogue, I felt the container do something but, the main wasn't coming out. Hit the other release and still nothing. Hit the release so it wude go away once the reserve was let go. I always was afraid of throwing the reserve into the drogue on those things. Went head down as best I cude and hit the reserve. Got lucky and it deployed uneventfully. Damn those things are an accident waiting to happen. I paid up for my Sigmas and won't use anything else.



Or you could maintain your gear. Now that you're jumping Sigmas do you never replace the closing loop?

ouch B|
The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle

dudeist skydiver # 666

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