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Performing Actual Cutaways for Training

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First, I am new/untrained and I am not waiting very well for the local DZs to open up again so I can start training.

Sooo  Here’s a crazy idea… Perhaps because I’m ex military but I want to perform actual cutaways and reserve rides at least annually if not right before the reserve is due a re-pack. I want to know what it feels like, what to expect and how the reserve canopy flies differently then the main.

Stupid idea??  What am I missing??

Tim

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you can have a reserve hooked up as a main to see how it flys. I wouldn’t chop a good canopy just because my reserve was due though adding completely unnecessary risk. some dzs use a hanging harness on the ground. much less risk of falling to your death

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3 hours ago, tstar said:

First, I am new/untrained and I am not waiting very well for the local DZs to open up again so I can start training.

Sooo  Here’s a crazy idea… Perhaps because I’m ex military but I want to perform actual cutaways and reserve rides at least annually if not right before the reserve is due a re-pack. I want to know what it feels like, what to expect and how the reserve canopy flies differently then the main.

Stupid idea??  What am I missing??

Tim

you need a third parachute attached to legally do that.  not a good idea though, you can lose your freebag and pilot chute. 

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4 hours ago, tstar said:

Stupid idea??  What am I missing??

 

Yeah not very practical. It just gets complex.   (Just like this reply did for me...)

In theory if there were a DZ with tons of funding (eg military) you could be lent a reserve canopy set up to use as a main. "You have a Smart 150 in your rig? Well, we have a PD 143 set up here, that would at least be similar."  There would be complexities because a reserve doesn't normally have the deployment bag attached. (So you need a specially built reserve, or static lining the jump, or removable deployment system, or someone else chasing the d-bag.)

Sometimes there are big boogies where manufacturers bring reserves set up to be tried out as mains, but then you need to be around such a big skydiving event.

But if you want to actually cut away from a parachute, then you need a 3rd canopy, a reserve, on the system. You can have the reserve to test in its proper place on your back -- which makes putting a real reserve on your belly more complex, especially to have it fully legal. Or you could have the reserve to test on you belly, which keeps your 'last reserve' in your rig as normal, but then the deployment for the test canopy won't be like a real reserve.

Either way, having 3 canopies makes the gear and handles and procedures and crap that your wearing more complex and less suited to a newbie. Maybe more dangerous than a real cutaway after a mal!

(There was even a World Champion doing a stunt jump for a commercial about 25 years ago, with 3 canopies, who screwed up the order he pulled stuff and died.  An unusual case but 3 canopies does get complex.)

And even if you set up everything to cutaway to a reserve to test flying it, there won't be nearly the same stress level as if you were having an actual malfunction. So then ideally you'd at least do something like pop one toggle on the main to get yourself spinning around before cutting away.

Reserves do fly a little different than the ZP canopies people are used to today. A small F-111 style canopy will tend to have a shorter, sharper flare motion, not a long gradual flare motion. It used to be that people were used to F-111 style canopies from their student days, but now they don't get that. So I do get a little concerned about newer jumpers these days knowing how to properly flare their reserve. At least people learn that they should do practice flares under their reserve when actually flying it after a malfunction.

All in all, it gets complex. So in the sport it is considered reasonable to just spend one's time practicing on the ground. Hanging harnesses are good, handle checks on all jumps are good. And you don't buy a reserve that is way smaller than what you are used to jumping as a main.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, pchapman said:

All in all, it gets complex. So in the sport it is considered reasonable to just spend one's time practicing on the ground. Hanging harnesses are good, handle checks on all jumps are good. And you don't buy a reserve that is way smaller than what you are used to jumping as a main.

This, a thousand times this. This is a case where visualization is very effective. By visualizing the entire chain of cutaway, you begin to eliminate from possibilities things that you might spend time thinking about in a real malfunction.

I have an embarrassing number of reserve rides, from experimenting on my gear, and from the old days when malfunctions were just more common. The "practice" of actually deploying my reserve has added nothing to my ability to do so and to control it, and that's what really counts.

Wendy P.

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8 hours ago, sfzombie13 said:

you need a third parachute attached to legally do that.  not a good idea though, you can lose your freebag and pilot chute. 

I don't think it's legally required, but it's definitely a good practice.

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25 minutes ago, nwt said:

I don't think it's legally required, but it's definitely a good practice.

We argued this last month.

You are required to have one more parachute that you plan to use. 


The regs are written poorly, but that's what they are supposed to say, and that's what the FAA will enforce...

If you get caught.

Intentional cutaways require a third parachute. Commonly called a 'tertiary' setup, commonly referred to as a 'tersh'.


I can't remember which mfg it was that required a cut away to get a TI rating, but if a candidate didn't have one for real, they had to do one on a 'tersh' rig. 
UPT used to have one on the boogie circuit, used to demonstrate the skyhook. 

Beginners were NOT allowed to try it (C-license, IIRC). 

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8 hours ago, pchapman said:

(There was even a World Champion doing a stunt jump for a commercial about 25 years ago, with 3 canopies, who screwed up the order he pulled stuff and died.  An unusual case but 3 canopies does get complex.)

 

Song related. Really. (Listen carefully.)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmev6cSMOOw

 

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6 hours ago, wolfriverjoe said:

We argued this last month.

You are required to have one more parachute that you plan to use. 


The regs are written poorly, but that's what they are supposed to say, and that's what the FAA will enforce...

If you get caught.

Intentional cutaways require a third parachute. Commonly called a 'tertiary' setup, commonly referred to as a 'tersh'.


I can't remember which mfg it was that required a cut away to get a TI rating, but if a candidate didn't have one for real, they had to do one on a 'tersh' rig. 
UPT used to have one on the boogie circuit, used to demonstrate the skyhook. 

Beginners were NOT allowed to try it (C-license, IIRC). 

We argued something related to this, and concluded that two parachutes are required. I don't think we ever concluded that you couldn't intentionally cut away one of them. I could be mis-remembering though.

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Well... Again, thank you everyone! And a double thank you pchapman for taking the  time to explain in such detail!!! Another education!! So one always has to have a reserve chute, the main would be unusable (unless you could cutaway the reserve) so yeah a third...

I hadn't thought about losing my main, that would be a bummer. We need tracking devices put on them...

I will definitely attempt to borrow a like reserve to use as a main a few times to at least get a feel for the flight characteristics of it... We practiced religiously with our backup weapons in the service, it seems logical to me that we should do the same with our backup canopy, no?

I might have one helluva line twist every now and again though (like every six months... j/k!)... ;-)

Tim

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PD, Icarus, and Parachute Systems all have "bowling score" boxes for 40 packs/25 jumps before factory inspection/permeability check. 

Aerodyne allows 40 packs/10 jumps before a permeability check, but doesn't have a way to record except maybe on the data card. 

PdF allows 40 packs/25 jumps, but no marking on the canopy. 

Precision and Flight Concepts do not specify.

I don't know about ParaTec.

These are not life limits.  Most canopies can be returned to service after inspection and permeability test.

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Also remember that 1980s vintage reserves were barely designed to land softly at a wing-loading of 1 pound per square foot. Mainly because no one was jumping mains loaded more heavily than that.

Parachutes de France were the first to introduce modern zero porosity fabic that yielded consistent landings until canopies had more than a thousand jumps. Performance Deigns was the first American company to introduce ZP fabirc and they soon developed a series of reserves designed to land softly at similar wing-loadings to their mains. That shift occurred circa 1990.

IOW If you jump an old reserve (pre 1990), you are not very bright and ...er ... should pay up your medical insurance.

All the older 7-cell, F-111 fabric reserves fly like 1980s vintage mains, considerably different than modern mains.

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18 hours ago, mark said:

PD, Icarus, and Parachute Systems all have "bowling score" boxes for 40 packs/25 jumps before factory inspection/permeability check. 

I stand corrected, I haven't seen any Icarus or Parachute Systems reserves, I have checked the Icarus (NZ) reserve manual and the Icarus (World) manuals, they both have the checkboxes, couldn't find a manual for the decelerator. People around here mostly jump Smart, Techno, and PD stuff, so I didn't really have that much contact with Icarus reserves. You learn something every day :)  

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Never mind the finer points of law and manufacturers' instructions. We only expect reserves to last about 20 years, 25 deployments and 40 repacks. After that they need a factory inspection before returning to service. Those standards were written by Performance Designs almost 30 years ago. PD eventually dropped the requirement for tensile testing because they saw little difference in strength over a 20 or 25 year period, however they were patching too many reserves that tore when improperly tensile tested.

Some European countries insist that all reserves retire after 20 years in service. This allows a Polish parachute dealer to resell 21 year old reserves to Americans, whose laws are not as rigid.

The only exception should be for "closet queens" that have spend the bulk of their live hiding in a closet and rarely jumped. The reduced wear-and-tear from so few jumps might mean that they are still airworthy more than 20 years after manufacture.

However, if reserves were made before the internet became fashionable, it may be difficult for younger riggers to access older Service Bulletins. Therefor, no rigger should be required to pack a reserve older than himself or herself.

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That was my sarcastic opinion of round reserves built during the acid-mesh-era of the 1980s. All that tensile-testing and bromcreasol green testing were only short term measures to get skydivers back in the air ... IOW ... not ground an entire sport.

As soon as the acid-mesh problem became known, busy skydivers traded their round reserves for square reserves and sales of round reserves plummeted to the point that Square One refused to sell new round reserves by the mid-1990s.

During the 1980s, plenty of manufacturers introduced square reserves mad of F-111 fabric but never intended to be loaded more than 1 pound per square foot.

Circa 1990, Performance Designs introduced the first reserves designed to be loaded more than 1:1. Most subsequent designs - from other manufacturers - can be safely loaded more than 1:1 provided the user has plenty of experience on similarly-loaded mains.

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