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ninjagogo12

Packing Nightmare

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Hi all, so on Friday i did a packing course at the DZ as its a requirement to be able to pack / fault find etc to obtain the B licenece, its like a dark art, it took me 6 hours to pack a chute and even then i wouldn't let anyone in the world jump it, the hardest part was doing the S folds and getting it into the d-bag, i know its going to take lots of practice to become proficient at it but has anyone got any tips to help along the way at all.
Cheers.

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Performance Designs do some very helpful videos on parachute packing. Google them and have a good look. You may not have your own rig for a while, which again presents a problem because hired equipment is generally packed by DZ staff. Ask if you can pack your hired rig after each jump and then have the DZ packer pull it apart and critique your packing before they do the proper packjob. You'll obviously make fewer jumps but the benefit is that you will be able to practice your packing as well as iron out your bad practices on the ground rather than at terminal velocity on your own rig. (so you'll probably get in more jumps in the long run).

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Biggest tip is to pack an old canopy into a bag that bigger than the smallest that will fit the canopy.

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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There are so many different tips/techniques you'll hear along the way, and in my experience, most were more of a hindrance than a help as it just over complicated an otherwise simple task.

I'm assuming you're ok with the basics (running your lines, quartering your slider, cocking pilot chute etc)


The S-Fold got me (and probably most new jumpers) for ages too, I was too concerned with making it exactly the same size as the d-bag - which I later found was basically impossible.

The common theme with all the different techniques you'll see and hear is to be gentle with it, don't apply much pressure as it will just explode out the opposite side. Less is more, relax, etc :)
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Well, first off - Practice, practice, practice. It does get easier over time. Don't sit around shooting the breeze or goofing off on your phone during weather/wind holds. Work on packing. Since you seem to have the most trouble bagging it (which isn't at all unusual), just do that. Bag it and stow the lines on the locking stows. Pull it out to the 'cocoon' stage and bag it again.

Second off, newer canopies are a stone cold bitch to pack. If you can find an old, ragged out F1-11 canopy to practice with, it will be a lot easier to master the basics. Not too many of those around anymore, though.

Watch how the packers do it. One of the most basic tips that took me a long time to figure out/find out was to not 'put the canopy in the bag', but instead, 'pull the bag around the canopy'. It's a subtle difference, but one that makes a huge difference in effort.
Controlling the S-folded canopy is also important. Use whatever you have available. Knees, elbows, boobs (if you are a girl), your face, whatever.

As was suggested above, try to find a rig where the canopy is not the biggest that will fit into the bag.

I have jumped some seriously fugly pack jobs. They all opened just fine. I was told early on that packing is somewhere between 70% and 80% psychological. A certain amount of neatness is necessary, but much of it is for your own comfort and peace of mind. It's a modern ram-air canopy. It wants to open and fly.

Last, there's really no 'magic trick' to packing. There's some technique to it, but most of it is practice. Everyone goes through this.
On the plus side, after you are able to pack proficiently, getting sleeping bags, car covers, tents, ect back into their stow bag will become very easy. You might even be able to fold a fitted sheet.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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ninjagogo12

Hi all, so on Friday i did a packing course at the DZ as its a requirement to be able to pack / fault find etc to obtain the B licenece, its like a dark art, it took me 6 hours to pack a chute and even then i wouldn't let anyone in the world jump it, the hardest part was doing the S folds and getting it into the d-bag, i know its going to take lots of practice to become proficient at it but has anyone got any tips to help along the way at all.
Cheers.



I'd always knelt at the base of the canopy, where the slider ends up, and squeezed the air upwards. With ZP I know kneel on the top of the canopy and push the air downwards, then pin the bottom of it and start S folding.
And I never try to pack on surfaces like vinyl flooring. The 'teeth' of carpet or grass help keep the canopy under control and cuts down on the S folded canopy's habit of spreading out sideways.

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Bob_Church



I'd always knelt at the base of the canopy, where the slider ends up, and squeezed the air upwards. With ZP I know kneel on the top of the canopy and push the air downwards, then pin the bottom of it and start S folding.
And I never try to pack on surfaces like vinyl flooring. The 'teeth' of carpet or grass help keep the canopy under control and cuts down on the S folded canopy's habit of spreading out sideways.



Great advice to give a newbie Bob, working on your fatality count?
Replying to: Re: Stall On Jump Run Emergency Procedure? by billvon

If the plane is unrecoverable then exiting is a very very good idea.

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One of the most basic tips that took me a long time to figure out/find out was to not 'put the canopy in the bag', but instead, 'pull the bag around the canopy'. It's a subtle difference, but one that makes a huge difference in effort.

This!!!!
"You don't get many warnings in this sport before you get damaged"

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DBCOOPER

***

I'd always knelt at the base of the canopy, where the slider ends up, and squeezed the air upwards. With ZP I know kneel on the top of the canopy and push the air downwards, then pin the bottom of it and start S folding.
And I never try to pack on surfaces like vinyl flooring. The 'teeth' of carpet or grass help keep the canopy under control and cuts down on the S folded canopy's habit of spreading out sideways.



Great advice to give a newbie Bob, working on your fatality count?

Does this make any sense to anybody? Is it pushing the air down and out of the canopy, or not using vinyl that you consider lethal?

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No, Bob it doesn't make sense to anyone that your telling a newbie that is having a problem learning to pack, your convoluted way of packing, and that you think that is helping them.
Replying to: Re: Stall On Jump Run Emergency Procedure? by billvon

If the plane is unrecoverable then exiting is a very very good idea.

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DBCOOPER

No, Bob it doesn't make sense to anyone that your telling a newbie that is having a problem learning to pack, your convoluted way of packing, and that you think that is helping them.



The only difference in the way I pack is that I push the air down out of the canopy rather than up into it. I'm surprised that anyone who isn't jumping F-111 still does it the other way.

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Bob_Church

***No, Bob it doesn't make sense to anyone that your telling a newbie that is having a problem learning to pack, your convoluted way of packing, and that you think that is helping them.



The only difference in the way I pack is that I push the air down out of the canopy rather than up into it. I'm surprised that anyone who isn't jumping F-111 still does it the other way.

Wouldn't this essentially destroy all of the flakes?

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LeeroyJenkins

******No, Bob it doesn't make sense to anyone that your telling a newbie that is having a problem learning to pack, your convoluted way of packing, and that you think that is helping them.



The only difference in the way I pack is that I push the air down out of the canopy rather than up into it. I'm surprised that anyone who isn't jumping F-111 still does it the other way.

Wouldn't this essentially destroy all of the flakes?

No. You flake out the canopy and lay it down. Then you tuck the sides in until it's the shape of a cigar. Then, as I was taught, you put your knees on the base of this tube and use your arms to squeegee the air to the top.
That's the normal way, or at least the way I was taught and how I see others packing.
But for ZP pushing the air up doesn't make sense. I kneel on the top of the canopy, and squeeze the air down towards the other end where it's open. Once I've worked my way down to their I block it with my knee to keep the canopy from reinflating and S fold it. Your weight keeps any of the canopy from moving in exactly the same way as when you push the air upwards.
Once you've formed the canopy into a cigar shape how do you get the air out of it?

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Bob_Church

*********No, Bob it doesn't make sense to anyone that your telling a newbie that is having a problem learning to pack, your convoluted way of packing, and that you think that is helping them.



The only difference in the way I pack is that I push the air down out of the canopy rather than up into it. I'm surprised that anyone who isn't jumping F-111 still does it the other way.

Wouldn't this essentially destroy all of the flakes?

No. You flake out the canopy and lay it down. Then you tuck the sides in until it's the shape of a cigar. Then, as I was taught, you put your knees on the base of this tube and use your arms to squeegee the air to the top.
That's the normal way, or at least the way I was taught and how I see others packing.
But for ZP pushing the air up doesn't make sense. I kneel on the top of the canopy, and squeeze the air down towards the other end where it's open. Once I've worked my way down to their I block it with my knee to keep the canopy from reinflating and S fold it. Your weight keeps any of the canopy from moving in exactly the same way as when you push the air upwards.
Once you've formed the canopy into a cigar shape how do you get the air out of it?

This sounds slightly terrifying to me. Isn't the whole point of bringing the tail up and rolling it closed that the other end isn't open? The technique you're advising sounds like a recipe for a hard opening to me. Happy to be corrected, though.

To the OP, sorry for adding to an already off-topic discussion. My advice would be: if one technique is taking you hours, ask another professional packer (i.e. someone qualified to pack other people's rigs, not just a DZ know-it-all) for their technique. In my experience there are almost as many ways to deal with the S-fold as there are skydivers, and someone else's technique might work better for you.

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I use the rolled canopy for pushup practice -- I control the bottom with my knees, and slowly lower myself down, chest first, to do exactly that -- push the air gently out the (controlled) bottom. That's where the holes are.

I have a new canopy right now, still in the cursing stage.

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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wmw999

I use the rolled canopy for pushup practice -- I control the bottom with my knees, and slowly lower myself down, chest first, to do exactly that -- push the air gently out the (controlled) bottom. That's where the holes are.

I have a new canopy right now, still in the cursing stage.

Wendy P.



This sounds like what I'm doing, apologies if not. The only difference from my packing and the standard one is that I push the air from the top down and out the bottom. Once I'm at the bottom and pin it with my knees I then S fold it the same as anyone else. Pushing the air up into the canopy with ZP material just doesn't make sense to me and is so difficult that it ends up messing up the flakes.

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"This sounds slightly terrifying to me. Isn't the whole point of bringing the tail up and rolling it closed that the other end isn't open? The technique you're advising sounds like a recipe for a hard opening to me. Happy to be corrected, though. "

This is what I do. The only difference is that I push the air from the top of the canopy out the bottom. Once the air is squeezed out I proceed the same as ever.

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Bob_Church

***I use the rolled canopy for pushup practice -- I control the bottom with my knees, and slowly lower myself down, chest first, to do exactly that -- push the air gently out the (controlled) bottom. That's where the holes are.

I have a new canopy right now, still in the cursing stage.

Wendy P.




This sounds like what I'm doing, apologies if not. The only difference from my packing and the standard one is that I push the air from the top down and out the bottom. Once I'm at the bottom and pin it with my knees I then S fold it the same as anyone else. Pushing the air up into the canopy with ZP material just doesn't make sense to me and is so difficult that it ends up messing up the flakes.


When the air balloons up the canopy it does that at the bottom where all your lines and slider are neatly arranged.

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LeeroyJenkins

******I use the rolled canopy for pushup practice -- I control the bottom with my knees, and slowly lower myself down, chest first, to do exactly that -- push the air gently out the (controlled) bottom. That's where the holes are.

I have a new canopy right now, still in the cursing stage.

Wendy P.




This sounds like what I'm doing, apologies if not. The only difference from my packing and the standard one is that I push the air from the top down and out the bottom. Once I'm at the bottom and pin it with my knees I then S fold it the same as anyone else. Pushing the air up into the canopy with ZP material just doesn't make sense to me and is so difficult that it ends up messing up the flakes.


When the air balloons up the canopy it does that at the bottom where all your lines and slider are neatly arranged.

I'm not sure what you're saying. If you look at this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIB6XQ3bpJk

and go to the 12:18 mark the difference is that I lie down the other direction. I squeeze the air out of the bottom, then block the bottom with my left arm then turn and block it with my knee. Everything stays neatly in place and I get much more air out of it that way. Maybe it's a height thing. I'm 5'4" and jump a 210 but lying on it the way he does leaves air in the top.

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ninjagogo12

Hi all, so on Friday i did a packing course at the DZ as its a requirement to be able to pack / fault find etc to obtain the B licenece, its like a dark art, it took me 6 hours to pack a chute and even then i wouldn't let anyone in the world jump it, the hardest part was doing the S folds and getting it into the d-bag, i know its going to take lots of practice to become proficient at it but has anyone got any tips to help along the way at all.
Cheers.



I have no idea where some of the interpretations of what I wrote came from but please ignore anything that I wrote or the followups. I can't figure the stuff out myself and I don't want you screwing up your packing with it.

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Bob_Church

*********I use the rolled canopy for pushup practice -- I control the bottom with my knees, and slowly lower myself down, chest first, to do exactly that -- push the air gently out the (controlled) bottom. That's where the holes are.

I have a new canopy right now, still in the cursing stage.

Wendy P.






This sounds like what I'm doing, apologies if not. The only difference from my packing and the standard one is that I push the air from the top down and out the bottom. Once I'm at the bottom and pin it with my knees I then S fold it the same as anyone else. Pushing the air up into the canopy with ZP material just doesn't make sense to me and is so difficult that it ends up messing up the flakes.


When the air balloons up the canopy it does that at the bottom where all your lines and slider are neatly arranged.

I'm not sure what you're saying. If you look at this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIB6XQ3bpJk

and go to the 12:18 mark the difference is that I lie down the other direction. I squeeze the air out of the bottom, then block the bottom with my left arm then turn and block it with my knee. Everything stays neatly in place and I get much more air out of it that way. Maybe it's a height thing. I'm 5'4" and jump a 210 but lying on it the way he does leaves air in the top.

Yes, so when the canopy balloons up on the slider side all the flaking is negated and the slider probably moves around too. It makes even less sense when you realize you are shoving air further into the tail as opposed to away from the tail and towards the nose.

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"Yes, so when the canopy balloons up on the slider side all the flaking is negated and the slider probably moves around too. It makes even less sense when you realize you are shoving air further into the tail as opposed to away from the tail and towards the nose. "

Strange, it's never done that for me in hundreds of pack jobs, but if that's your experience then what can I say.

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>Is it pushing the air down and out of the canopy, or not using vinyl that you consider lethal?

Pushing the air down and out of the canopy.

One of the more dangerous things you can do is pack a canopy with the slider partly down. By pushing air out of the canopy starting at the top, it is easy to make that happen. Yes, there are plenty of mitigations you can use to prevent this - control with your hands, weights, having the canopy hanging - but they are easy for new packers to mess up.

One of the more foolproof ways of making sure the slider stays under control is getting the lines and slider in the center of a bundle of fabric from the tail, then putting your knee on it and keeping it on it. In that position it's very difficult to dislodge the slider - but it does encourage you to press upwards to get the air out of the canopy. (It still mostly comes out through the tail.) On small canopies you can get high enough to press out starting from the top, but for larger canopies (i.e. the kind new packers pack) you can't - so you pretty much have to start from the bottom.

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Bob_Church

"Yes, so when the canopy balloons up on the slider side all the flaking is negated and the slider probably moves around too. It makes even less sense when you realize you are shoving air further into the tail as opposed to away from the tail and towards the nose. "

Strange, it's never done that for me in hundreds of pack jobs, but if that's your experience then what can I say.




Thank you for verifying that nothing you say regarding packing should be taken seriously.

To OP: Do not push the air towards the bottom. Slider control is one of the most important aspects to packing. Get with you DZ packers and they will show you the way. Also don't stress too much about the top skin, it really doesn't matter.

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