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skyflychris

broken A-lines

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About 12 days ago I experienced a hard opening and looked up to find lines hanging through my front left slider grommet. It was stable, square, and steerable but had a moderate pull to the left and I could see the left side was distorted on the bottom skin. At 3,000ft I decided I would land it instead of cut away and made slow right turns avoiding pressuring the canopy on the left side. I made it to the ground, but on flaring the left side folded about 4 feet above the ground and it pulled me backwards and left. In the process I broke my wrist putting me out of commision for about 6-8 weeks. I would love to hear from anyone regarding similar incidents and what you did. Hind site is 20/20 but I still think I would have flown it instead of cut.
Ordinary's..... just not good enough today.

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It was stable, square, and steerable but had a moderate pull to the left and I could see the left side was distorted on the bottom skin.

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but on flaring the left side folded about 4 feet above the ground and it pulled me backwards and left.



When you checked for steerablility did you flare the canopy too? If it acted differently when you did, you have two options. Don't flare on landing or cutaway. I would choose the second one!

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Chris... divenswoop said basically what I'm going to say... "did you practice flare the canopy"... you said "yes", but not deeply. Okay, let me say this too first, you're walking, so you dealt with it good enough and don't let anyone get on you otherwise. Thing is though, for future reference, if presented with a similar situation, when you do your controlability checks, include a flare like you would on landing. That's obvious to you now, so enough said.

Personally, none of my mals have been due to broken lines, but my plan if presented with broken lines post opening is the first controlability check I'd do is to flare the canopy like I would for landing. As you've experienced now, if we're talking broken A-Lines there's a high likelyhood that the nose will tuck under / collapse. If my controllablity checks showed anything like that, with broken A-Lines, I'd be going reserve... just my 2 cents. Also, higher performance canopies will be less forgiving to being flown/landed with broken lines, IMO. Per your profile, you were on a canopy loaded at about 0.9:1... you may not experience as good an outcome on something more highly loaded is my opinion.

Good luck and good on you for still being here.
:)

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I've landed broken A lines twice, Stood up on a 7 cell, broke my leg (even with a great plf) on the 5 cell. [:/]

Now I just chop . . . ;)



That’s what you get for jumping a 5 cell.:P

My last cutaway was because of broken lines. 3 A's and 3 B's. I didn't ever do a controllably check, hell I didn't even release the brakes. Chopped it right away.

Unlike a round canopy a damaged ram air will almost always get worse. More than one line and any damage that involves a seam kiss it off. jmo
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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I had a broken steering line last Sunday, I tried a rear riser flare, didn’t think I could do it well enough in the gusty conditions so I chopped. Unfortunately I had a build in turn in my reserve and smashed in my knee on landing. At least you walked away from your mal ;)
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Once, I landed a 425 tandem main with a broken center A line.
It flared like a bag lock!
I vowed to never do that again!.

Back when F-111 was the fashionable fabric for mains, I tore a lot of first-generation tandem mains.
I concluded that broken A lines = instant cutaway.
Broken lower steering lines = instant cutaway.
Broken upper steering lines = time to do a control check.
Broken lines (B,C or D) in the middle of the canopy = time to do a control check.

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Thanks to all for your input. I'm pretty sure now I'll be more confident knowing what we've discussed here, and probably would ride the red handles if I ever experience that situation again. Being that it was a 7 cell, well, like it was said, I'm walking. Thanks and blue ones.
Ordinary's..... just not good enough today.

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I would love to hear from anyone regarding similar incidents and what you did.



I once had two broken A lines in the center. It was flying straight. After extensive control checks I decided to land it. I did very little flare because it felt like it could stall if slowed down. All seemed well until I pounded into the ground like a ton of bricks. It hurt a lot, but a good PLF saved me from anything more serious than a lot of bruises.

It turned out I was the only person on the DZ who thought landing it was a good idea. I guess it looked better from underneath than it did from any place else. I was disappointed in myself that I did not recognize that the decent rate was too high, but it seemed likie a good idea at the time. Next time I’d chop it if it has more than one broken line.

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