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mbohu

emergency procedures--keeping handles

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AtrusBatleth

***Excuse my ignorance, but what makes a reserve pillow harder to use? Is it different from the cutaway pillow? I found the cutaway pillow very easy to use, even in AFF. I did notice the cutaway only has Velcro on one side and I presumed a reserve pillow would be the same?



Yes a reserve pillow is the same (at least it is on my rig). A cutaway pillow may have been easy to use on the ground in AFF. In a real malfunction you have your body weight, which may be multiplied if it is a spinning malfunction. The 3 ring system is supposed to help with that, but maybe it was assembled improperly, or the cables are contaminated with sand and grit, and now you have a hard pull. That is why some students are taught the "both hands on cutaway handle" EPs. If that's the case, after cutting away when the gear shifts it is going to be difficult to grab the reserve handle in a high stress situation so a D ring will be easier to grab than a pillow handle (all you need is to hook it with your thumb).

Okay, I can see those points for a student. However, any licensed jumper should know how to check his 3-ring for correct assembly and keep sand out of his cables and keep them maintained. However, I still am not understanding how reserve pillows are so complicated that you should need a D license to operate one as Blis suggested, even more so if you jump with an RSL and pull at a conservative altitude. Has there been many accidents involving reserve pillows?

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During a more complicated reserve deployment situation like a broken hand/arm, dislocated shoulder or not fully conscious... a d-ring can be "activated" with a single finger or anything going through it, much easier than a pillow, which needs to be grabbed, peeled, and pulled with more precision.

It's a trade off between avoiding premature deployments and easy to deploy reserve. Both can kill you, but the premature deployment situation, you're mostly protecting yourself against other people's mistakes, which is a harder variable to control. A small D-Ring is a choice for some free-fliers who don't feel comfortable with the pillow.

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So: I talked to quite a few instructors and experienced jumpers, who all seem to agree that a loop type or D-Style handle is not a good idea in that discipline.



I think it is funny that freeflyers in effect admit they are not able to avoid grabbing handles. Reminds me of "combat rules" RW jumps where grips would be taken no matter what. Good thing I don't do that FF stuff, I don't want to jump with people that are that grabby! :D

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I don't know of a single person at any of the DZs I've been at who bought (or jump) a rig with anything but soft handles. Maybe that's different where you are.



That is really unusual. I have a loop cutaway and low profile D handle reserve that only sticks out from the harness half as much as a standard D.
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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daffes

During a more complicated reserve deployment situation like a broken hand/arm, dislocated shoulder or not fully conscious... a d-ring can be "activated" with a single finger or anything going through it, much easier than a pillow, which needs to be grabbed, peeled, and pulled with more precision.

It's a trade off between avoiding premature deployments and easy to deploy reserve. Both can kill you, but the premature deployment situation, you're mostly protecting yourself against other people's mistakes, which is a harder variable to control. A small D-Ring is a choice for some free-fliers who don't feel comfortable with the pillow.



This is pretty much it. Also I personally jump in a fairly cold climate, meaning there will be extra layers of clothes, thick gloves, frozen helmets and alike. All this means that I'll rather have something I can find and pull without visual and/or frozen fingers...

Also if your freeflying buddies are such a big liability you cant trust them not to go for your handles or they are bumping you a lot in the air you should really take a moment and think whether you want to jump with those people...

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gb1

Don't forget, if trimming cutaway cables, make sure side opposite RSL is shorter. If you have RSL on both sides, get rid of it.



Agreed. Cable length is critical.

However its not simply a matter of snipping the ends off with a pair of sidecutters, easy as that is. You don't want burred ends on the cable, able to snag the loop. That could make things interesting in a chop.

Its something you should leave to your rigger.
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I don't remember the manufacturer, but I just saw an older man with a new rig that had soft, fabric cutaway and reserve handles -- they were made of material similar to pillows but were small loops, smaller than a metal d-ring. He bought them because his hands were weaker grip-wise and he could put a thumb through them to pull them whereas he couldn't do the same thing with traditional pillows.

Might be worth looking into if you want the easy-to-activate benefit of a ring but also more protection against handles being pulled accidentally? Even if grip strength isn't a problem?

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mzr36

I don't remember the manufacturer, but I just saw an older man with a new rig that had soft, fabric cutaway and reserve handles -- they were made of material similar to pillows but were small loops, smaller than a metal d-ring. He bought them because his hands were weaker grip-wise and he could put a thumb through them to pull them whereas he couldn't do the same thing with traditional pillows.

Might be worth looking into if you want the easy-to-activate benefit of a ring but also more protection against handles being pulled accidentally? Even if grip strength isn't a problem?



We used to call those Stewart handles.

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One of the things I did was to repeat the following in my mind over and over again, even when not jumping. It trains your mind to act instinctively.

RIGHT - RELEASE
LEFT - LIVE

I'm also a firm believer in handles that have a color that sticks out. I've seen rigs with a royal blue harness and royal blue cutaway handle. God forbid his jumpsuit is royal blue too. And for those who have two soft handles, it makes sense to have them different and contrasting (from the rig and jumpsuit) colors. For example, a yellow cutaway and red reserve handle. Yellow and red are universal warning colors.
What's right isn't always popular and what's popular isn't always right.

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HPC

For example, a yellow cutaway and red reserve handle. Yellow and red are universal warning colors.



See, that's confusing to me. If I were to guess a handle based soly on it's color, I'd guess the yellow would be the reserve and the red would be the cutaway. The only rig I have seen that uses red for the reserve are the Sigma tandem rigs. In every other case, every sport jumper at my DZ that I've seen who uses a red handle on their rig uses it to annotate the cutaway. All of the stock rigs I've seen have a red cutaway from the factory and all the rental and student rigs I've seen also have a red cutaway. That makes more sense to me. Red typically means emergency/ danger, in which the cutaway makes more sense to be red. Pull the red handle at 100' and you're dead.

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That was just an example. The gist of the post is that the two handles are different colors and colors that stand out from the harness and jumpsuit. I've seen rigs in which both handles were the same color.
But to clarify the example I gave, yellow is a lower level warning and red a higher level one. Even with traffic signals yellow comes before red. You have to cutaway before you can pull the reserve. It all depends on the individual's mindset and how they think. I prefer to think red-reserve as both begin with "re". But that's how I think. You don't want colors that are the same as everyone else if there are other colors that your mind would process easier. That's why rigs give options. Reserve pillow, or loop, or metal handle? It's a matter of individual preference. And don't worry about the color when it comes to resell because those components can be easily replaced by a new owner.
What's right isn't always popular and what's popular isn't always right.

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What is it like trying to pull a soft handle reserve with your right hand? It seems like it could be a problem.


My own gear won't be here til May but I'll be in Arizona for safety day and I'll be doing a lot of testing and practicing.

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