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chuckakers

Reserve handle - ring or pillow and why?

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Ring. Unambiguous shape and feel. Easier (IMO) to find in a tumbling panic. Higher snag hazard but worth it when you balance all the risks and benefits.

I don't ever expect to have a hard reserve pull with modern gear I but had a VERY VERY hard 4 pin main pull on an old unextended surplus container back in the late 60s, a DZ rental rig. I absolutely needed that ring and both hands to get the pins extracted. Couldn't have applied enough pull force with a pillow.

Have done 2 cutaways. I liked having a ring to pull. Easy to see, identify, grab and pull.

I've seen heads up smart jumpers with reserve pillows so obviously there are differences of opinion.

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Here's a post of mine from 2003, when this issue first came up. It is just as true today:

"Again, if pillows are so bad, why are they used as cutaway handles on 99% of the rigs out there?"

Although I designed the "soft pillow" handle for the 3-ring release in the first place, I won't get into the discussion (too much) about whether it makes a good reserve handle for freeflyers. Most decisions in skydiving are tradeoffs, and this is certainly one of them. However, I do think a pillow makes a better cutaway handle than a reserve handle, simply because, where the pillow is in a cutaway situation, is much different from where it is in a reserve pull situation. Think about it. In almost all situations where a cutaway is needed, you're hanging from your main risers, and your main lift web, where your cutaway pillow sits, is pulled up and away from your body, so your cutaway pillow is literally right in front of your nose. Now think of where your reserve handle is in a total malfunction. It's down below your armpit, tucked tightly against your body, maybe even UNDER the webbing, and more than a little bit hard to see, especially if you're wearing a full face helmet. Now think how much a reserve pillow handle feels like your harness, or a fold in your jumpsuit, especially if you're wearing gloves. Now picture yourself low, out of time, and in desperate need of a reserve handle that you can't see or feel. Aren't you glad you bought that Cypres?

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Ring. ~ No question & really there is no logical debate.


My D-ring curves in contoured to my rib cage - it's by far less of an actual snag hazard than the pillow on my right side.

Your EP drills should show that a sweeping hand hooking a thumb, making a fist as you finish the sweep punching out...is far faster and smoother than a feel & peel.

Fast is what you are looking for at reserve time right? Isn't that why everyone loves their skyhook? Doesn't it simply make better sense to go with faster on BOTH ends of the reserve?

I'm old and busted but I'll put a C-note against anyone with a pillow on quick draw contests!

Using snag as justification for utilizing a harder to pull handle is dangerously flawed logic...simply change the manner you're physically encountering the hazard. It's called situational awareness and it's what ya use to stay alive here.

Don't drag your handles across the door frame and you won't have a problem. Don't jump with people who aren't smart enough or skilled enough to stay off your handles.

If you choose to opt for form over function that's fine, I don't have a problem with it... But don't try to justify it by convincing yourself it's in some way safer. It's just not, and as is proven in this discussion others may buy into that BS not fully understand the whole thing.

Pillows became popular through marketing... They're cheaper to make but cost the customer the same... They're different so once upon a time it showed cool factor. If you can agree speed in all aspects of reserve deployment is critically important - then why choose something demonstrably slower?

New isn't always better from the end user standpoint... I sure don't recall a bunch of people complaining about snagging D's before the pillows came out - but isn't 'safety' a great marketing tool to sell ya on something cheaper to make? Even if the reason is more of a justification after the fact - wouldn't sell a lotta pillows with 'it makes me more profit and looks different than your fathers handle' in the full page ads.

It's your last bullet - use it wisely. Sure would suck to have 2 seconds to save your ass... But NEED 2.1










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Damn GoPros!

http://parachutistonline.com/safety_training/keep_an_eye_out/dislodged-reserve-ripcord-handle

I guess taking grips on exit is a bad idea, too. Also doing railroad exits with someone's feet under your arms, or any other exits with someone's hands on your harness, so AFF is probably out. In fact, most free-flying, since hands and feet can easily get too close to the handles, let's just all stick to teaching via static line and belly-flying with no more than two people.

I use a pillow reserve handle and after my reserve ride, I'll never go back. I made the mistake of jumping with summer gloves in the winter and after a 20 minute ride to altitude in a plane with no heat (>:() and another minute in freefall, my hands were too numb to find my pilot chute.

After falling too low, I went for my reserve handle. Fortunately I could see it, so I didn't need to feel for it, and even with numb fingers I could grab it and squeeze hard enough to not lose it. The pillow being not a rigid piece of metal did not slip around under my numb fingers, and I didn't need to completely wrap my fingers around a thin piece of metal to ensure it didn't slip out - something I might not have been able to do given the cold. It took no effort to pull, nor did I lose the handle after I pulled.

I doubt I would have been able to wrap my fingers around a D-ring enough to get a good grip, but a simple pinch was all the effort I needed with the pillow handle.

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I don't want to get too deep into this. But as someone else with a lot of knowledge said, it's a trade off. When you are making your argument, don't confuse your total malfunction, (caused by your incorrect gear choice) with your harness still in place, against what may happen in a situation with a rapidly spinning malfunctioned canopy. You could possibly find that the pillow is another incorrect gear choice at that time.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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Absolutely I did it to myself. But that's my experience: Even with near-frostbitten hands, I could still easily curl my hand into an "n" and squeeze the pillow enough to pull it, where I might not have been able to curl my fingers any further to fully grip a ring, or even move my thumb enough to slip it through one.

And, while there are a lot of people with a lot of knowledge saying X, there are also a lot of people saying "I'm used to the ring" "I usually jump with the ring" "I always used a ring before" therefore X. A lot of those people are also saying the pillow is harder to grip and pull, and I disagree based on my experience. I've never pulled a D-ring reserve, but I can't imagine it would be any easier to pull than the pillow.

As to finding it, well, that's why I do my EPs 3-4 times every time I put on my rig.

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MikeBIBOM

Damn GoPros!

http://parachutistonline.com/safety_training/keep_an_eye_out/dislodged-reserve-ripcord-handle

I guess taking grips on exit is a bad idea, too. Also doing railroad exits with someone's feet under your arms, or any other exits with someone's hands on your harness, so AFF is probably out. In fact, most free-flying, since hands and feet can easily get too close to the handles, let's just all stick to teaching via static line and belly-flying with no more than two people.

I use a pillow reserve handle and after my reserve ride, I'll never go back. I made the mistake of jumping with summer gloves in the winter and after a 20 minute ride to altitude in a plane with no heat (>:() and another minute in freefall, my hands were too numb to find my pilot chute.

After falling too low, I went for my reserve handle. Fortunately I could see it, so I didn't need to feel for it, and even with numb fingers I could grab it and squeeze hard enough to not lose it. The pillow being not a rigid piece of metal did not slip around under my numb fingers, and I didn't need to completely wrap my fingers around a thin piece of metal to ensure it didn't slip out - something I might not have been able to do given the cold. It took no effort to pull, nor did I lose the handle after I pulled.

I doubt I would have been able to wrap my fingers around a D-ring enough to get a good grip, but a simple pinch was all the effort I needed with the pillow handle.



I don't think you were taught the fast way to use a D handle... I have 14 reserve rides and only once did I put all my fingers through the handle.

Hook your thumb through the ring and punch out, it'll work every time even with broken fingers.

You CAN even get a reserve using just the little finger on your right hand. Never had to do it in freefall but tried it in practice and it works...pillow pinky pulling doesn't.

You listed several types of dives that you believe require a pillow to be safe...they all are done every day by people using D ring reserve handles. If it was truly an issue I'm pretty sure we'd have heard by now.

Again... It's a personal choice and that's fine, but this conversation comes up often & I've never heard a scientific type comparison that in anyway would lead me to believe a pillow is safer than a D ring handle.

The best answer I can come up with is let's stand side by side and on 'go' deploy ~ BTDT and so far the soft pillow has always lost.

That's really all the proof that I need.

Ymmv










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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To me what you are saying is that people with a lot of experience are biased. But you've had one experience, so you could not be biased. You are basing your opinion on one anecdote.

Quote

I've never pulled a D-ring reserve, but I can't imagine it would be any easier to pull than the pillow.



Like I said, it's a trade off. But the trade off is between the security of a handle that is harder to snag, and one that is easier to pull. Your imagination is just that.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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I'm glad your kewl with your pillow and know more than a dozen people 10 to 30 times your experience.:S Your situation is exactly the time you should have a ring. No gripping required for a d handle.

Never mind, you know it all and I'm wasting electrons. And I'm glad every newbie has a go pro sticking out of their head. Gave me lots of examples of what not to do for safety day.;)
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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Quote

I could still easily curl my hand into an "n" and squeeze the pillow enough to pull it, where I might not have been able to curl my fingers any further to fully grip a ring, or even move my thumb enough to slip it through one.



It is not necessary to grip a metal handle ripcord. If you are able to curl you hand as you say, then I can't see how it would not be possible to put a thumb or even an entire hand through a metal ripcord handle which would allow it to be pulled.

It is great that you were able to pull in your cold situation, but your reasoning why a metal handle would be worse doesn't make sense.
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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MikeBIBOM

I made the mistake of jumping with summer gloves in the winter and after a 20 minute ride to altitude in a plane with no heat (>:() and another minute in freefall, my hands were too numb to find my pilot chute.



I'm no expert by any means, but a ride back down in the plane would have been the smart option in this case. As for a pillow being easier than a D-Ring in these circumstances, I don't see how - stuff your thumb through the ring and pull. Maybe I'm just used to them, but being used to good ole fashioned tried and tested d-rings on the likes of T-10s with very little time to pull the handle make me want to stay with a handle. In fact, I'd rather have a handle instead of a cutaway pillow too

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>I mean, are you literally telling me my experience doesn't count?

I think it can be a mistake to assume to rely on single instances of one's experiences, since they can easily be anomalies.

For example, I've jumped canopies ranging in size from 520 to 89 square feet. All my injuries have been on canopies 190 square feet and larger. It would be a mistake for me to therefore tell new jumpers "hey, the smaller the canopy you jump, the safer you are - so get off that 190 as soon as you can!"

>If that one video of a gopro hooking a d-ring is a great example of why people
>shouldn't use gopros, then the other videos or articles I've read of accidental pulls
>must be great examples of why people shouldn't do the other types of dives.

Well:

1) If it happens often enough, then yes, it _is_ a good argument to not do those types of dives. Dives where fairly violent contact is common are more dangerous no matter what kind of gear you use.

2) In general, if you don't need your reserve and it is deployed, you are OK. If you do need your reserve and you cannot deploy it you are dead. Thus a harder to pull handle has more dire consequences than an easier to pull handle, although of course the ideal is no mistakes either way.

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MikeBIBOM

***I'm glad your kewl with your pillow and know more than a dozen people 10 to 30 times your experience.:S Your situation is exactly the time you should have a ring. No gripping required for a d handle.



I'm glad that you're so experienced that you know that when I recount my experience of how easy it was to pull the pillow in a stressful situation with non-functioning hands in a thread labelled "ring or pillow and why", I really mean "I know it all". I didn't know the thread was called "let's all decide the best one and then argue with anybody who disagrees". I mean, are you literally telling me my experience doesn't count? That I should have had a d-ring in that situation? I didn't have a D-ring, I had a pillow, and it worked perfectly.

Maybe it was my opening statement that confused you. That didn't actually have anything to do with d-rings. Let me say it more straight-forwardly: If that one video of a gopro hooking a d-ring is a great example of why people shouldn't use gopros, then the other videos or articles I've read of accidental pulls must be great examples of why people shouldn't do the other types of dives. But they're not. Attitude, awareness, practice and repetition are more important than the specific equipment.


Your expierence is valid - for exactly what it is, a one time event that can't realistically be used as a comparison because you didn't try deploying under similar circumstances with a metal D ring

You say you doubt you would have been able to utilize a ring handle... But you don't know that as fact & since it appears you aren't familiar with HOW to use a D ring, your conclusion is frankly meaningless.

I'm not capping on you here - your choice is your choice and I personally don't care... However, when you justify that choice by throwing out what amounts to absurd examples - I gotta call you on it & present the opposing view.

Hopefully someone with less expierence than you & me might be able to make a more educated choice when they have the option.

Nearly all aspects of this sport are an 'odds game'...

Odds are you will go your whole career in the sport and not have a problem because of your choice in handles... But...that's not a 100% gaureente. And it's been my expierence than when one thing goes against you it's usually in combination with one or more other things that weren't expected.

My philosophy is better your odds in every possible and practical aspect... You never know when that extra point or two in the realm of odds in your favor may make the difference.

IF that extra margin however slight isn't important to you - that's your call. But better to call it what it is than make a case for the decision that's not factually accurate, and just may encourage someone else to follow it - believing they're adding to their odds of survival when the contrary is true.

Bottom line - in any real world circumstances I have seen or heard of - a solid ring reserve handle is better as it's faster to use and easier to find.

Better by how much is obviously the arguable point - if whatever that actual value is...isn't of concern to an individual-
That's kewl.

We all make personal choices which effect our 'odds' of survival.


Ya gotta admit, when even Mr. Booth leans toward the better safety aspects of the solid D ring... There just might be some validity there.










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Ring because it's metal and shiny and cool! Take that, mini Barbie doll pillow!

I like the ring because of a few reasons already stated.
1. It can be pulled without use of your fingers.
2. The termination ball can be checked as often as you like.
3. Part of my pre-flight check is to push and pull the silver cable through the ring and housing to feel for smooth movement. You can't do that with a (most) pillow handles.
4.havent had to use it yet, but when repacking it, the difference in feel of the pull initially is cleaner feeling not having to fight the Velcro, before punching. I'll let you know how I feel about it when I have to use it in flight.
I was that kid jumping out if his tree house with a bed sheet. My dad wouldn't let me use the ladder to try the roof...

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cbjetboy

Ring on both of my rigs. It is your last bullet...I wanna be able to pull it with a pinkie if I have to.



Exactly. I figure I can "quick-draw" in a pinch with either hand.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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