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chuckakers

Reserve handle - ring or pillow and why?

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I've had many conversations about this one with responses ranging from thoughtful to ridiculous.

Why did you choose the type of reserve handle you use, and why?

Safety, peer pressure, cool factor, fashion - nothing is off limits.

Go.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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I love the idea of getting my hand solidly on/in the reserve handle. Just love it.
So... ring.
Every fight is a food fight if you're a cannibal

Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man. - Anthony Burgess

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First rig (used Wings) came with a low-profile D handle, and I liked the fit/feel in my hand and saw no reason to change it. I've since ordered two custom rigs, and I've gone with a similar style offered by Infinity for both rigs (which they call the "mini hell wedge"). It's smaller than the standard D ring but still "rounded." I like it because it's a bit less of a snag hazard than a full sized D ring, but still big enough that it's super easy for me to hook a single finger or thumb in there.

I choose it because if I'm down to my last chance I like the idea that I can pull the handle with just one digit if things have really gone to shit.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Pillow due to this

I fully appreciate the D handle though.. my last rig had one. I had a few practice drills with my new rig (Wings W8) and I have to say the first time I tried the velcro was really really sticky and even peeling it was tough.

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I had a chop without rsl-spinning mal and got tossed when I chopped. Someone on the ground asked me later if I waited to get stable. Nope! I was looking at that handle when I chopped and it was no where near where I expected it after. It took a few grabs to ahold of it and it felt SOOOOO GOOOOD when I got my hand in it. So for me it will always be a D handle.

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I like the low profile handle that is the standard height, but sticks out from the webbing much less (see pic). I don't see the advantage to the mini hell wedge compared to this unless there isn't much vertical room on the rig as might be the case for a very short person.

[inline bothhandles.jpg]
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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Trev_S

Forgive my noobie question - I understand the arguments for the d ring in terms of easy to grab even with a single digit but how come this argument is not also applied to the cutaway handle?



Risk balance, I guess.
Since we are talking about the cutaway handle, we want to reduce the risk of chopping your canopy when you least expect, the soft handle reduced this risk, thinking that if you have to chop you still have time to go for it.
With the reserve handle, we wasted our time, we want to go for a quick reach.

Personally, at the moment I use D-rings, but I'm thinking if it's worth switching them for soft handles, I haven't decided yet.
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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My first rig (that I had for 1000 jumps or so) had a D-ring and I really liked having it for exactly the reasons everyone else has stated. However, when I ordered a custom rig I went to a pillow, for 2 reasons:

1, I've now had 4 cutaways and had 0 problem with my pillow cutaway handle on any of them. It was easy to find and easy to pull, which has made me far less nervous about having a pillow for my reserve handle.

2, I got tired of my D-ring handle always wanting to pop out and become a floating handle. It was a combination of older gear and a wingsuit that liked to put pressure on the handle at weird angles, but my preference for an easy-to-pull handle changed into worry about an easy-to-dislodge one.

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Pull force on a cutaway handle is usually much less than a reserve ripcord once both ar out of the pocket/off the velcro. And while there is a intended legal maximum many rig's pull forces are higher than that maximum.

Your cutaway handle is almost always in the same place because your hanging/spinning under your main. Your reserve handle, both for a total and a cutaway can move and be in different places. I seen people with their hand on there reserve when they cutaway let go and have to hunt for it.

Your ripcord handle coming out of the pocket was a problem for YOUR rig and should have been fixed. Most never come out of the pockets.




The go pro video in an above post is a reason not to wear a go pro, not to change your last chance to live.:S
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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Trev_S

Forgive my noobie question - I understand the arguments for the d ring in terms of easy to grab even with a single digit but how come this argument is not also applied to the cutaway handle?



Some of us do like such a handle (see pic of my loop handle). Some even use a D-ring for the cutaway, but having the same look and feel is a drawback for dual D-ring handles. The loop cutaway is definitely more likely to be snagged, but it can be put into use very quickly.

Decades ago the guy with the big beard thought that a relatively heavy handle (metal D-ring) on the cutaway side might result in an inadvertent cutaway with a floating handle. The relatively large forces required to activate a reserve are consistent, compared to the cutaway side which is easy to pull before deployment.

I've never had a problems with any D-handle not staying well seated in the pocket.

[inline small_d_ring_and_loop_cutaway.jpg]
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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Ring.

The only argument I've ever heard that's even remotely in favour of a pillow is a lessened snag hazard and that can be mitigated without losing the benefits of a ring - mainly by not jumping with fucktards who get all grabby on exit or who have stuff hanging off them.

I believe it's mainly a fashion thing, with the excuse of snag hazard being used to justify having 2 pillows.

That said, there's no good reason for mini rings other than fashion, and I have those on my rigs... :|

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That's definitely an excellent point (and why it's always good to do an occasional handle check under canopy), but I meant more the actual grip/leverage on the handle itself. The floating issue was definitely the result of the rig, though just last weekend I had to help a buddy reseat his D-ring handle after he geared up.

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councilman24

The go pro video in an above post is a reason not to wear a go pro, not to change your last chance to live.:S



I wholeheartedly agree which is why I don't wear a go pro.

I did a few dummy pulls of the soft pillow handle on the ground with my rigger just before repack. The first time I found it quite hard to unpeel but subsequent goes found it easier. Prior to buying the rigs, having thought about this, I came to the conclusion that downsides of having a pad (harder to grab hold of than a D handle, change of drills to 'unpeel', less positive pull) were not enough to outweigh the risks of other peoples go pros, thumbs or other appurtenances pulling the handle and me end up having my reserve wrapped around the tail of the plane. YMMV, of course. :)

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Quote

I did a few dummy pulls of the soft pillow handle on the ground with my rigger just before repack. The first time I found it quite hard to unpeel but subsequent goes found it easier.



I don't want to have to unpeel my reserve. The D handle works like a dull knife to separate the velcro in peel mode during the pull. But I'm an old fart. The first soft reserve handle I saw was in 1980 and did NOT have any slack built into the cable. They didn't know how to do that then. And it was the SAME color as the cutaway handle. And both were earth tones. The days of bounce and blend. Just didn't look like a good idea. I have that rig now as a water training rig.

But your first dummy pull peel WAS easier. Why? Because as part of your gear check you probably run your fingers over the velcro pressing it together. The more you do this the tighter the grip and the harder the peel. The subsequent times you stuck it on and maybe ran you fingers over it once, not 50 or a 100 times. The force was less to peel it free. This applies to d handles also. We learned this on students when every JM would press the velcro together gearing up each student. Eventually the extraction force was pretty high. Either resist the urge to press the velcro together with each gear check or pull it loose every so often.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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yoink

Ring.

The only argument I've ever heard that's even remotely in favour of a pillow is a lessened snag hazard and that can be mitigated without losing the benefits of a ring - mainly by not jumping with fucktards who get all grabby on exit or who have stuff hanging off them.

I believe it's mainly a fashion thing, with the excuse of snag hazard being used to justify having 2 pillows.

That said, there's no good reason for mini rings other than fashion, and I have those on my rigs... :|



The video posted above proves your point perfectly. Protecting your handles is AFF lvl 1 shit. However most Open division FS skydivers use 2 pillows, mainly due to a lot of vertical work, its easy for a foot or rig to dislodge a ring. All of my rigs except my first one have had small rings. I have heard people say they have no problem pulling a pillow, however I challenge people to have their left hand get pinched/smashed on an exit, then have to pull that pillow during an emergency procedure.

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Pillow because that's what the rig had when I bought it. I would have preferred a ring but did some harness drills with a pillow handle before jumping it to be comfortable with it.

I have more issue with some cutaway handles on rental rigs that are skinny/hard to grab and sit flat against your chest

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We have no idea what kind of malfunction we can expect. After freefall collision or in another very stressful situation the unification (red pillow, metal D handle) can save our life.
It is sad, but I think that skydivers have usually only one good groudn preparation for EP - during AFF course.
Pillow for reserve it's for me one of dangerous directrions in the equipment evolution. When fashion and look is more important than thinking about critical situations

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Ring.

I like the fact that my two handles look and feel so different. It's not a huge preference (the possibility of confusion seems small); I'd be fairly happy with a pillow as well. But why not have them different, since I can?

Less big, but I lean towards the arguments of people who want to be able to get a reserve out with a digit. Again it's a tiny chance, but since the choice is available, why not take it?

The cutaway handle being a pad is not subject to the same argument IMO. If all you have is a flailing finger or two available, I'm not sure cutting away is going to be what saves you unless you are one of those people experimenting with canopies at 3:1 and up.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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JackC1

I very often have to climb out and around the door onto the camera step and I didn't fancy snagging a D handle on the airframe dumping my reserve over the tail of the aircraft, so I opted for a pillow.



Ring. Although I like the loop type too. All I ever do is climb around on camera steps, no reason at all to change to a pillow IMO :S

ciel bleu,
Saskia

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Word on the street about the pillow also included gear confusion. When it came out, many piggyback rigs still had two ripcords, one on the right for the main, and one on the left for the reserve. Cutting away involved detaching the main using hardware at your shoulders.

So making the cutaway handle something very different from the norm made it clear what kind of rig you were using (also good for brand identification early:)
I use a ring because it came with the rig, and it's easy to pull with either hand. And my cutaway pillow is quite lumpy, making it easy to identify and peel.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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