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Westerly

Longest anyone's gone without a cutaway?

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The other day one of the camera guys on my load mentioned he had a bit under 8000 jumps and only two cutaways. I know another guy who's been jumping 30 years and said he has never had a cutaway on a sport rig, (two on a tandem though) which seems absolutely remarkable considering he doesn't pack himself (at least not on the day we were jumping). I knew a few other guys who have gone over 1000 jumps and never had a cutaway. Not sure if it's true or not, but I've heard the story of a DZO who has 5000 jumps and zero cutaways...

On the other hand, I know a few sport jumpers who jump highly-loaded, crossbrased canopies and have had more than one cut away in just one month. One instructor I know has had almost 30 cutaways...

So how long is the longest you've ever seen someone go without a cutaway, and on the other side of things, what is the greatest number of cutaways you've ever seen someone claim?

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Westerly

The other day one of the camera guys on my load mentioned he had a bit under 8000 jumps and only two cutaways. I know another guy who's been jumping 30 years and said he has never had a cutaway on a sport rig, (two on a tandem though) which seems absolutely remarkable considering he doesn't pack himself (at least not on the day we were jumping). I knew a few other guys who have gone over 1000 jumps and never had a cutaway. Not sure if it's true or not, but I've heard the story of a DZO who has 5000 jumps and zero cutaways...They called her cutaway queen in Titusville late 1990's. Had a bunch in her first 100 jumps.

On the other hand, I know a few sport jumpers who jump highly-loaded, crossbrased canopies and have had more than one cut away in just one month. One instructor I know has had almost 30 cutaways...

So how long is the longest you've ever seen someone go without a cutaway, and on the other side of things, what is the greatest number of cutaways you've ever seen someone claim?


I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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I have just under four thousand and no sport cutaways (due to malfunction) one intentional with a third canopy and 4 tandem cutaways. Had my first tandem cutaway on jump 1,783 The intentional was on jump 500, so I could start the strong tandem course.

There is a guy at my home dz that has over 12,000 that has one cutaway on a tandem and that was probably atleast 8-9000 jumps ago

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On the other hand, I know a few sport jumpers who jump highly-loaded, crossbrased (sic) canopies and have had more than one cut away in just one month.



Saw two cutaways on one day. And he packed for himself and was very particular about the way he did it.
Shit happens. And it usually happens because of physics.

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Some people are cutaway magnets. One such guy, experienced people would watch him pack, and just shrug, “yup I can see why he cuts away a lot”.

A single cutaway in a thousand or two jumps doesn’t mean anything diagnostically useful. Someone cutting away several times in a few thousand jumps has something going on. It could be packing technique, maintenance problems, or experimental or particularly edgy gear.

People commonly want something to blame every malfunction on, but not every malfunction has a blame-able factor. Remember, you are throwing a wad of fabric and strings into a turbulent, high speed air flow. Shit’s gonna happen.

The reverse scenario, is worth considering too...for uncommon events (cutaways for people who have none of the aforementioned risk multipliers) there will be cases of people going much longer than average between events. That doesn’t mean (necessarily) that they have anything special going for them other than the luck of the draw.

-- Jeff
My Skydiving History

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34 years. However, admittedly, for 22 of those years, I didn't even look at a parachute. ;)
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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Jerry Towner had more cutaways than everyone else I know combined. He would grab a fistful of lines and growl as he shoved them, fist and all, through the rubber bands. One time he paid a rigger to swap his reserve, he was switching things around. This was now his secondary rig for Bridge Day. First, he said, the rigger said something about how it had been over three years. Then he laughed really loud when describing how the rigger discovered that he'd had two water jumps since then. The rigger had to dig caked dried mud and mold out of his links and lines.
That's why I laughed when they said "an aad may have prevented this fatality."

It's number 26 here

http://www.skydivingfatalities.info/search.asp?MinDate=1%2F1%2F1997&MaxDate=31%2F12%2F1997&Country=US&CountryOp=%3D

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I think that has so much to do with the care and attention to detail on the packing mats. Over 37 years I have seen great packing operations and so many others that simply allow the "I always do it this way.." or "It does not make any difference..." attitudes, which then reflects the work being done.

Not slamming packers in any way, but it is almost always an individual, maybe two, but generally working under a culture of 'lack of quality control' or the understanding of how to even implement a QC system.

It's like looking at all the little defects in the house I bought, which was built by a local builder. "If they spent 5 more minutes on xxxxx, they could have done it right." I see this all the time, and it frustrates me because it is simply unecessary

There are systems that work, and there are processes that work. Not always what the manufacturer says, but that is a great place to start. And when you find a place that has no cutaways in 15000 jumps, that is impressive.

It is worth flying there and spending a weekend to watch, study, film and learn what they do, and then bring that home, and 'force' everyone to follow that like gospel.

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tkhayes

I think that has so much to do with the care and attention to detail on the packing mats. Over 37 years I have seen great packing operations and so many others that simply allow the "I always do it this way.." or "It does not make any difference..." attitudes, which then reflects the work being done.

Not slamming packers in any way, but it is almost always an individual, maybe two, but generally working under a culture of 'lack of quality control' or the understanding of how to even implement a QC system.

It's like looking at all the little defects in the house I bought, which was built by a local builder. "If they spent 5 more minutes on xxxxx, they could have done it right." I see this all the time, and it frustrates me because it is simply unecessary

There are systems that work, and there are processes that work. Not always what the manufacturer says, but that is a great place to start. And when you find a place that has no cutaways in 15000 jumps, that is impressive.

It is worth flying there and spending a weekend to watch, study, film and learn what they do, and then bring that home, and 'force' everyone to follow that like gospel.



The problem is when you start throwing money into the mix the priority can go from doing the job right to doing it as profitably as possible. Packers are not compensated on quality, they are compensated on quantity, so it's to their advantage to get as many pack jobs done as fast as possible. That's why I pack myself. Not to say all packers suck, many are great, but not all are. If you add to the fact that 'working under supervision of an FAA senior rigger' in some cases just means there is someone with their riggers ticket employed at the company, then that means no supervision and no quality control. That leads to employees setting their own personal standard with no accountability.

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Almost 24 years, about 2,550 jumps since my last cutaway.

First cutaway was on jump 40, 01.April.1995, brand new J3 + brand new PD 210 + Tempo 170 reserve. I haven't seen my Tempo fly since then. Most beautiful sight when I did, though.

At least 6 jumps during which I should've cut the main away instead of dealing with nasty line twists or CRW gone wrong, two stuck pilot chute pulls that were cleared on second try (leg pocket vs BOC now). Better judgment now, I would cut away/dump the reserve without over thinking it now.

Blue skies!

pr3d
Eugenio, home: Bay Area Skydiving, CA USA

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I have done 2400 jumps since 1978 and never cutaway. I landed twice under a torn canopy, but each time, it was playable.
It's not that I am philosophically opposed to cutting away, it's just that I had time to analyse and test the situation.
Most of what I do is accuracy or instructor jumps, with some RW. Both my canopies operate with a reasonable load (1.1 for my Pulse 210, 0.77 for the Zero). And I always, always open belly flying, so I have never found myself in a crappy situation.
I'm not crowing about the performance. It seems to me a cutaway situation starts with something that went wrong, compounded by choice factors such as wing load or way of packing. If you pack soundly and always open face down, there's no reason to to cutaway.

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elreg

I landed twice under a torn canopy, but each time, it was playable.
[...]
If you pack soundly and always open face down, there's no reason to to cutaway.



I couldn't disagree more with your last statement. Particularly when considering the first sentence. You are basically saying that a torn canopy is not a reason to cut away. What the hell?

I understand that with a Zero loaded at 0.77 a rip on a cell is survivable. Now, imagine a novice jumper with a regular canopy reading this, being afraid of cutting away, and having a torn canopy. Does it sound like reasonable advice to you? I can't believe an instructor wrote that.

BTW: Who doesn't open with their belly to earth?

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elreg

If you pack soundly and always open face down, there's no reason to to cutaway.



You can be the best packer in the history of the sport and still open a ball of crap above your head. Packing well does not guarantee anything. Likewise, having a malfunction (depending on the mal) does not mean your packing automatically sucked either. Sometimes malfunctions just happen and no matter how well you pack you can never guarantee they wont happen no matter what you do during the packing process. On rare occasion, reserve parachutes have malfunctioned before. Safe to say most reserves are packed very well.

Also, some disciplines and canopies are far more likely to require a cutaway than others. Opening in line twists on a highly loaded, crossbrased canopy can cause rapid spins leading to a cutaway whereas that is not nearly as likely to happen on a lightly loaded square canopy.

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