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Westerly

EPs: Look up before pulling reserve?

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Bob_Church

*** No.

One second can be the difference between life and death.

There is a reason EPs are taught the way they are. Stick to that, it gives you your best chance of survival.



I know I'm getting into heresy here but I've always pulled my cutaway then went to my reserve. I've never done the one hand on each handle thing and I've never understood any advantage to it but plenty of disadvantages.
But then I've never looked at a handle. I took Pat Works' advice and practiced until I knew where they were. On my fourth malfunction I'm convinced I'd have bounced if I hadn't broken two rules. One, never cut away a total. But I did and when the reserve launched the main released. It wrapped around the reserve but the risers were disconnected to they just sort of wound that way too and were tossed aside. It left some pretty good burns on the reserve but I was ok. The second was looking at the handles. I was going through a grand and head down terminal. If I'd had to tear my eyes off the ground to find my handles I'd have gone in. No two ways about it.
As it was while my mind was being overloaded at the sight of treetops flying away from each other my hands pulled my R2s then the reserve.

Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow. Reserve opening shock is highly likely to dump the main d-bag out and if it's not cut away it will unstow all the lines as it falls away and then tangle with tension and cause a problem. If it's cut away it will fall away with risers and lines together and not reach any line stretch. Even if it entangles it won't have any force and won't affect the inflated reserve. A friend of mine has only just got back in the air after having this exact scenario which had him in a wheelchair for almost a year. He pitched his reserve with a PCIT without chopping and the reserve opening shock dumped his main which inflated and tangled around his foot. The asymmetry of the pull on his body sent his reserve into twists from which there was no recovery possible.

It's simple. Execute your EPs exactly as you've learned and practiced and don't try to rethink the decades of accumulated experience and knowledge when you have a mal. Any advice to the contrary is bad advice.
"Now, why do witches burn?"
"...because they're made of... wood?"
"Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?"
"Build a bridge out of her."

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lomcovak

****** No.

One second can be the difference between life and death.

There is a reason EPs are taught the way they are. Stick to that, it gives you your best chance of survival.



I know I'm getting into heresy here but I've always pulled my cutaway then went to my reserve. I've never done the one hand on each handle thing and I've never understood any advantage to it but plenty of disadvantages.
But then I've never looked at a handle. I took Pat Works' advice and practiced until I knew where they were. On my fourth malfunction I'm convinced I'd have bounced if I hadn't broken two rules. One, never cut away a total. But I did and when the reserve launched the main released. It wrapped around the reserve but the risers were disconnected to they just sort of wound that way too and were tossed aside. It left some pretty good burns on the reserve but I was ok. The second was looking at the handles. I was going through a grand and head down terminal. If I'd had to tear my eyes off the ground to find my handles I'd have gone in. No two ways about it.
As it was while my mind was being overloaded at the sight of treetops flying away from each other my hands pulled my R2s then the reserve.

Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow. Reserve opening shock is highly likely to dump the main d-bag out and if it's not cut away it will unstow all the lines as it falls away and then tangle with tension and cause a problem. If it's cut away it will fall away with risers and lines together and not reach any line stretch. Even if it entangles it won't have any force and won't affect the inflated reserve. A friend of mine has only just got back in the air after having this exact scenario which had him in a wheelchair for almost a year. He pitched his reserve with a PCIT without chopping and the reserve opening shock dumped his main which inflated and tangled around his foot. The asymmetry of the pull on his body sent his reserve into twists from which there was no recovery possible.

It's simple. Execute your EPs exactly as you've learned and practiced and don't try to rethink the decades of accumulated experience and knowledge when you have a mal. Any advice to the contrary is bad advice.

Well, if I recall right the SIM does state that dumping the reserve without cutting away is an approved way to handle a PCIT. Also, I am curious how easy it would be to cut away an uninflated canopy at low speed anyway. The riser covers easily can hold up an uninflated canopy. If you hang your rig off the ground, pull your cutaway handle and then pull the pin on the container, the d bag will fall out and the riser covers will support the canopy even while cut away. Do you think this would be a problem in the air?

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lomcovak

****** No.

One second can be the difference between life and death.

There is a reason EPs are taught the way they are. Stick to that, it gives you your best chance of survival.



I know I'm getting into heresy here but I've always pulled my cutaway then went to my reserve. I've never done the one hand on each handle thing and I've never understood any advantage to it but plenty of disadvantages.
But then I've never looked at a handle. I took Pat Works' advice and practiced until I knew where they were. On my fourth malfunction I'm convinced I'd have bounced if I hadn't broken two rules. One, never cut away a total. But I did and when the reserve launched the main released. It wrapped around the reserve but the risers were disconnected to they just sort of wound that way too and were tossed aside. It left some pretty good burns on the reserve but I was ok. The second was looking at the handles. I was going through a grand and head down terminal. If I'd had to tear my eyes off the ground to find my handles I'd have gone in. No two ways about it.
As it was while my mind was being overloaded at the sight of treetops flying away from each other my hands pulled my R2s then the reserve.

Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow. Reserve opening shock is highly likely to dump the main d-bag out and if it's not cut away it will unstow all the lines as it falls away and then tangle with tension and cause a problem. If it's cut away it will fall away with risers and lines together and not reach any line stretch. Even if it entangles it won't have any force and won't affect the inflated reserve. A friend of mine has only just got back in the air after having this exact scenario which had him in a wheelchair for almost a year. He pitched his reserve with a PCIT without chopping and the reserve opening shock dumped his main which inflated and tangled around his foot. The asymmetry of the pull on his body sent his reserve into twists from which there was no recovery possible.

It's simple. Execute your EPs exactly as you've learned and practiced and don't try to rethink the decades of accumulated experience and knowledge when you have a mal. Any advice to the contrary is bad advice.

I don’t think you should be so confident about that. I am
Aware of at least one case of a PCIT to reserve deployment where the reserve did not fully inflate, but the shock did let the main out. Two partially inflated canopies saved the guy’s life. Had he chopped his PCIT he would have died.

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benlangfeld

********* No.

One second can be the difference between life and death.

There is a reason EPs are taught the way they are. Stick to that, it gives you your best chance of survival.



I know I'm getting into heresy here but I've always pulled my cutaway then went to my reserve. I've never done the one hand on each handle thing and I've never understood any advantage to it but plenty of disadvantages.
But then I've never looked at a handle. I took Pat Works' advice and practiced until I knew where they were. On my fourth malfunction I'm convinced I'd have bounced if I hadn't broken two rules. One, never cut away a total. But I did and when the reserve launched the main released. It wrapped around the reserve but the risers were disconnected to they just sort of wound that way too and were tossed aside. It left some pretty good burns on the reserve but I was ok. The second was looking at the handles. I was going through a grand and head down terminal. If I'd had to tear my eyes off the ground to find my handles I'd have gone in. No two ways about it.
As it was while my mind was being overloaded at the sight of treetops flying away from each other my hands pulled my R2s then the reserve.

Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow. Reserve opening shock is highly likely to dump the main d-bag out and if it's not cut away it will unstow all the lines as it falls away and then tangle with tension and cause a problem. If it's cut away it will fall away with risers and lines together and not reach any line stretch. Even if it entangles it won't have any force and won't affect the inflated reserve. A friend of mine has only just got back in the air after having this exact scenario which had him in a wheelchair for almost a year. He pitched his reserve with a PCIT without chopping and the reserve opening shock dumped his main which inflated and tangled around his foot. The asymmetry of the pull on his body sent his reserve into twists from which there was no recovery possible.

It's simple. Execute your EPs exactly as you've learned and practiced and don't try to rethink the decades of accumulated experience and knowledge when you have a mal. Any advice to the contrary is bad advice.

I don’t think you should be so confident about that. I am
Aware of at least one case of a PCIT to reserve deployment where the reserve did not fully inflate, but the shock did let the main out. Two partially inflated canopies saved the guy’s life. Had he chopped his PCIT he would have died.

How does a reserve not fully inflate? You're saying the reserve had a mal as well?

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billvon

>How does a reserve not fully inflate?

All the same ways a main doesn't fully inflate. Tension knots. Lineover. Massive line twist. Canopy damage.


Should that mean you would also recommend not cutting away a PCIT? It's against what I've learned and training videos...

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Mike McGowan (famous videographer) has a video out there where he cut away a pc-in-tow and his main came out and entangled his reserve but unfortunately since the risers were cut away they were out of reach and he could not grab them or affect them. There have been cases each way where cutting away or not cutting away would have been better.

I do have a friend though who would be dead if he had cutaway a total. This was probably 20 years ago. Big guy, 50 jumps or so. Had his pc handle squished down into his pouch and could not get it out. Rookie so probably went a bit head low as he was fumbling for it. Gave up and dumped his reserve. It broke 2-3 lines on it (it was a 250ish of some sort). He unstowed his brakes and his reserve collapsed and started streamering. He then got REALLY motivated to find the main handle and did and he got it out and landed the main with a streamered reserve. If he had cutaway the main he would have died.

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faulknerwn

There have been cases each way where cutting away or not cutting away would have been better.



There don't seem to be many examples of how not cutting away the main first made the situation worse. There are a lot of examples of the opposite.

My own rule is that unless there is tension on the main risers, I go straight to reserve. I can't think of a single good reason to do a preemptive cutaway that doesn't have the immediate effect of detaching the main in a somewhat predictable fashion (i.e. there is tension on the risers and you have some idea of the direction in which the main will go when that tension is released).

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Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow.



You should not be so sure of your advice. It is wrong to portray the choice as so clear.

If the main deploys simultaneously and is already cut away, everything still has to be pulled up and past as the reserve is also deploying. If it is cutaway first, then the loose risers will not just go straight up, they will be flapping around as they go up, with the possibility of snagging the main (it has happened), especially if you have an RSL shackle that will be attached to a riser. If the main container only opens up after the reserve opening shock, then it will fall harmlessly down instead of up, and of course can be chopped with no concern at that time.

The PD/army testing concluded that not cutting away was better. You can argue that the canopies used do not represent your situation, but we don't have other testing data, just actual experiences
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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"Always cut away a total. "

That tactic has kept me alive. Also, Pat Works' advice to build muscle memory of your handles and procedures. If you have to look you'll be in big trouble if you get low. Ground rush is downright mesmerizing.

But the main thing is to select how you're going to do it then practice it until your body will do it for you.

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EPs for this situation have been debated for a long time. There is a rigid behavior school of thought that thinks there can be only one procedure, which is to pull both handles because that is what they have trained to do. There are those who consider themselves heads up enough to make a quick decision even under pressure.

I've never been there. But if I am I hope I will be heads up enough to keep my main attached where it can still do me some good if I need it. Always keep as many options as you can.

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gowlerk

EPs for this situation have been debated for a long time. There is a rigid behavior school of thought that thinks there can be only one procedure, which is to pull both handles because that is what they have trained to do. There are those who consider themselves heads up enough to make a quick decision even under pressure.

I've never been there. But if I am I hope I will be heads up enough to keep my main attached where it can still do me some good if I need it. Always keep as many options as you can.



In my opinion, and that's all it is, my opinion, this reflects one of the most dangerous situations in skydiving. A lack of confidence in your reserve. It manifests itself in many ways and all of them bad, like giving that trashed main one more second because, well, what if my reserve doesn't open, then impacting during line stretch because you needed half a second more than that extra second left.
I am absolutely confident that my reserve will work or I wouldn't leave the plane.
But like I said, that's just me.

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Bob_Church

***EPs for this situation have been debated for a long time. There is a rigid behavior school of thought that thinks there can be only one procedure, which is to pull both handles because that is what they have trained to do. There are those who consider themselves heads up enough to make a quick decision even under pressure.

I've never been there. But if I am I hope I will be heads up enough to keep my main attached where it can still do me some good if I need it. Always keep as many options as you can.



In my opinion, and that's all it is, my opinion, this reflects one of the most dangerous situations in skydiving. A lack of confidence in your reserve. It manifests itself in many ways and all of them bad, like giving that trashed main one more second because, well, what if my reserve doesn't open, then impacting during line stretch because you needed half a second more than that extra second left.
I am absolutely confident that my reserve will work or I wouldn't leave the plane.
But like I said, that's just me.

Like I said, this is an old debate. But as a rigger, and the main rigger on my DZ, and the rigger for most of my skydiving friends, and the rigger who packs our tandem reserves, I can assure you I do not lack confidence in my reserve. I just know that reserve p/c and or bridles can entangle with a PCIT. Or other parts of a departing main. If mine does I prefer to have more options.

I am not telling you or anyone else what to do in this situation.

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gowlerk

******EPs for this situation have been debated for a long time. There is a rigid behavior school of thought that thinks there can be only one procedure, which is to pull both handles because that is what they have trained to do. There are those who consider themselves heads up enough to make a quick decision even under pressure.

I've never been there. But if I am I hope I will be heads up enough to keep my main attached where it can still do me some good if I need it. Always keep as many options as you can.



In my opinion, and that's all it is, my opinion, this reflects one of the most dangerous situations in skydiving. A lack of confidence in your reserve. It manifests itself in many ways and all of them bad, like giving that trashed main one more second because, well, what if my reserve doesn't open, then impacting during line stretch because you needed half a second more than that extra second left.
I am absolutely confident that my reserve will work or I wouldn't leave the plane.
But like I said, that's just me.

Like I said, this is an old debate. But as a rigger, and the main rigger on my DZ, and the rigger for most of my skydiving friends, and the rigger who packs our tandem reserves, I can assure you I do not lack confidence in my reserve. I just know that reserve p/c and or bridles can entangle with a PCIT. Or other parts of a departing main. If mine does I prefer to have more options.

I am not telling you or anyone else what to do in this situation.

PCITs are a very different animal from a total, which is what I was referring to. On my fourth reserve I managed to somehow pack a total on a ripcord deploy. In my defense, not that it matters, the rig had been loaned to me and when I said I didn't know how to pack a square or that type of container they handed me a manual.
I believe I crammed the pilot chute between the main bag and the reserve so as soon as I dumped the reserve the main came out and twisted all the way around the reserve. People on the ground that I was done, but the cutaway risers kept twisting around too and it cleared, though with some nasty burns on the reserve.
But as for PCITs I'm in the same boat in that I hope I never have one.

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Going back to the original question, do you think it is a good idea to look up after grabbing your handles but before pulling them for the simple fact that it will encourage you to arch better?

The Australian Parachute Federation's Cutaway EP videos show the students being taught to pull the cutaway and reserve, then immediately look up and arch. Would it make more sense to look up and arch before pulling your handles since there is a strong chance that by the time you pull the reserve handle and start to look up to arch, the reserve will already be out?

Example: https://youtu.be/YD1we-F9-3c?t=58s

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lomcovak

****** No.

One second can be the difference between life and death.

There is a reason EPs are taught the way they are. Stick to that, it gives you your best chance of survival.



I know I'm getting into heresy here but I've always pulled my cutaway then went to my reserve. I've never done the one hand on each handle thing and I've never understood any advantage to it but plenty of disadvantages.
But then I've never looked at a handle. I took Pat Works' advice and practiced until I knew where they were. On my fourth malfunction I'm convinced I'd have bounced if I hadn't broken two rules. One, never cut away a total. But I did and when the reserve launched the main released. It wrapped around the reserve but the risers were disconnected to they just sort of wound that way too and were tossed aside. It left some pretty good burns on the reserve but I was ok. The second was looking at the handles. I was going through a grand and head down terminal. If I'd had to tear my eyes off the ground to find my handles I'd have gone in. No two ways about it.
As it was while my mind was being overloaded at the sight of treetops flying away from each other my hands pulled my R2s then the reserve.

Always cut away a total. Always cut away a pilot-chute in tow. Reserve opening shock is highly likely to dump the main d-bag out and if it's not cut away it will unstow all the lines as it falls away and then tangle with tension and cause a problem. If it's cut away it will fall away with risers and lines together and not reach any line stretch. Even if it entangles it won't have any force and won't affect the inflated reserve. A friend of mine has only just got back in the air after having this exact scenario which had him in a wheelchair for almost a year. He pitched his reserve with a PCIT without chopping and the reserve opening shock dumped his main which inflated and tangled around his foot. The asymmetry of the pull on his body sent his reserve into twists from which there was no recovery possible.

It's simple. Execute your EPs exactly as you've learned and practiced and don't try to rethink the decades of accumulated experience and knowledge when you have a mal. Any advice to the contrary is bad advice.

Why did your friend have a PC in tow? Also, are you an instructor or involved in student training in a professional manner?

I asked because the answer can be relevant to why you would or wouldn't do this. Is the PC deflated, is the bridle misrouted? If it's not a deflated PC that it's most likely that the bridle is wrapped around a flap and in that case it's not going to come out. Beyond allegories we're past the days where a properly deployed PC wouldn't extract a properly packed main.

Regardless of what you decide that decision should be made when you're on the ground.

I do not cut away because I understand that if a PC can't pull the main off of my back then there is something much more severe going on. Next, in both situations you have the risk of the main deploying or extracting from the tray and entangling with the reserve BUT if it's cut away you can't do anything about that. If you have not cut it away you can still attempt to clear the entanglement until you've decided that the only way to change the configuration is to cut away the main on the logic that something else is better that something that's going to kill you anyway.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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Bob_Church

A lack of confidence in your reserve.



It's not a lack of confidence in a reserve that people have.

It's a lack of confidence in how a main will potentially deploy in an untested and continually changeable scenario - in the deployment system itself in a particular configuration.

If a cutaway main would always clear a deploying reserve there would be many fewer people suggesting keeping it, but it seems to entangle frequently enough that it causes this debate.

I've thought for a while that it's pretty much a 50/50. Do whatever comes to you and hope you get lucky, but of course we can't teach that.
Prevention is FAR the best option.

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Going back to the original question, do you think it is a good idea to look up after grabbing your handles but before pulling them for the simple fact that it will encourage you to arch better?


Depends on the method. That might work for one hand per handle, but would be dangerous on the two hands per handle method.

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billvon

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Going back to the original question, do you think it is a good idea to look up after grabbing your handles but before pulling them for the simple fact that it will encourage you to arch better?


Depends on the method. That might work for one hand per handle, but would be dangerous on the two hands per handle method.

In this case, it would be one per handle.

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"The Australian Parachute Federation's Cutaway EP videos show the students being taught to pull the cutaway and reserve, then immediately look up and arch. Would it make more sense to look up and arch before pulling your handles since there is a strong chance that by the time you pull the reserve handle and start to look up to arch, the reserve will already be out? "

If you're training students then you will have no way of knowing their altitude if and when they need their EP. Therefore I'd always go with pull the handles first.

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