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mirage62

+3,300 jumps and I made a dumb ass mistake

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I’m hesitant to post this, mainly I’m not sure if it really has any value but after reflection I going to share for what it is worth.

I have +3,300 jumps, have been jumping +17 years, currently I jump a 165 Pilot, I land far from the crowds and can’t recall the last time I spun my canopy 360. Basically I would define myself as a very careful skydiver.

A month ago I really screwed up.

I was open in the saddle around 2,800 feet, pop my brakes and found that I had a tension knot on my left raiser. I attempted to untie it but ultimately was unsuccessful. I decided to land it because I could control it, it was square and I could flair it, the wind was blowing pretty good to. I was also confidant that I would be just fine because I had done it before. I wasn’t worried about the cost of a repack or finding my gear.

I elected to fly to the student area to have more room, which I did. The long and short of the story is that my raiser was slipping through my gloved hand. It would slip a little and I would tighten my grip a little and pull down a bit more. I didn’t really realize I was doing this, by the time I was down to about 20 feet my arm was WAY down the raiser and I didn’t have the leverage to pull down any further and didn’t have the height to release and re-grip.

The result was the canopy started a slow but accelerating turn. I wish I could report that a great PLF saved the day….. but truthfully my not being broke up was just dumb luck. If the canopy had gone just a bit more I would have landed on the asphalt.

I think this a nothing more than my experience working against me. I had done this before, I hadn’t really thought out what could go wrong. In my earlier days I would have cut it away immediately.

Btw, plenty of us know people that have landed with a tension knot, I’m not saying you can’t that is your call, I’m not writing this to debate what someone should do – for me I should have cut the fucker away…. I’d been jumping again in a hour.

So don’t let your experience work against you!
Kevin Keenan is my hero, a double FUP, he does so much with so little

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Thanks for sharing. Can you explain what you mean by a 'tension knot on your left riser'? Do you mean that the brake line was knotted around the riser such that you couldn't use the left toggle? That appears to be the case based on your explanation of using the riser only on the left side.

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mirage62



The long and short of the story is that my raiser was slipping through my gloved hand. It would slip a little and I would tighten my grip a little and pull down a bit more. I didn’t really realize I was doing this, by the time I was down to about 20 feet my arm was WAY down the raiser and I didn’t have the leverage to pull down any further and didn’t have the height to release and re-grip.



Just to clarify you were going to flare with rear risers but your hand had slipped all the way down without you realising. This prevented you from countering the turn and ended in landing under a banking canopy?

To me this reads that you were pulling on the riser that had the tension knot (left riser). This would make the canopy turn faster to the left. If it was the right riser that was slipping, was your toggle in your hand and could you have not used that to keep the wing level?

I have seen people land with an asymmetric flare when one toggle was jammed

Not trying to knock your method, just trying to understand what happened and how to prevent it.

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Thanks for sharing that. I've landed with tied off brake lines and been okay. Heck of a PLF.

I also ended up on crutches landing a 5 cell canopy with single broken A line. Right at treetop level I knew I had royally screwed up. A really good PLF kept the injuries to a minimum. That made me vow to never land a broken line again.

I have twice had the brake line knotted off at the keeper. It was very easy just to grab the line itself above the keeper and fly/flare the canopy. Something to keep in mind should you ever find yourself in that situation.

But when in doubt, hell yes, chop and pull reserve. B|

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I was pulling on the right raiser, I should have tried the right toggle, but went to the right raiser....

"Just to clarify you were going to flare with rear risers but your hand had slipped all the way down without you realising."

Yep, sounds dumb, was dumb. I believe that my grip on the raiser wasn't that high to begain with and as I flew it was a very small amount I came down. In the end the real problem was that I didn't feel I could regrip the raiser as low as I was to the ground. Literally very close when I ran out of leverage. Point was I didn't realize I had a problem till it was to late. Dumb I know it, but things seemed ok until the LAST moment.

"I have seen people land with an asymmetric flare when one toggle was jammed"

Yep, I've done it before :P

As to prevention:

1. The rig was packed at the 222 ways, I hadn't been getting good opening for the entire event. I should state now that I haven't packed in probably 7 years and am in no way blaming the packer - EXCEPT - on the ground under inspection the brake lines were way way twisted up THAT WAS MY FAULT but at my local dz my packers take care of that. That easily could have cause the line to wrap up.

2. I focused on unwrapping the toggle from the raiser, I thought that once that was done it would be free. Problem was there was another knot above the slider. As dumb as this might seem I was wearing a very old helmet with the lens scatched badly, plus I don't see well up close. This cost me some time and perhaps I would have seen the other knots??

Thats about all I can say. It was a DA move that has given me plenty of though and that in itself may be worth the soreness.......

Be safe.
Kevin Keenan is my hero, a double FUP, he does so much with so little

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mirage62

I was pulling on the right raiser, I should have tried the right toggle, but went to the right raiser....

"Just to clarify you were going to flare with rear risers but your hand had slipped all the way down without you realising."

Yep, sounds dumb, was dumb. I believe that my grip on the raiser wasn't that high to begain with and as I flew it was a very small amount I came down. In the end the real problem was that I didn't feel I could regrip the raiser as low as I was to the ground. Literally very close when I ran out of leverage. Point was I didn't realize I had a problem till it was to late. Dumb I know it, but things seemed ok until the LAST moment.

"I have seen people land with an asymmetric flare when one toggle was jammed"

Yep, I've done it before :P

As to prevention:

1. The rig was packed at the 222 ways, I hadn't been getting good opening for the entire event. I should state now that I haven't packed in probably 7 years and am in no way blaming the packer - EXCEPT - on the ground under inspection the brake lines were way way twisted up THAT WAS MY FAULT but at my local dz my packers take care of that. That easily could have cause the line to wrap up.

2. I focused on unwrapping the toggle from the raiser, I thought that once that was done it would be free. Problem was there was another knot above the slider. As dumb as this might seem I was wearing a very old helmet with the lens scatched badly, plus I don't see well up close. This cost me some time and perhaps I would have seen the other knots??

Thats about all I can say. It was a DA move that has given me plenty of though and that in itself may be worth the soreness.......

Be safe.



I dont think riser has an a... just saying I hate it when I spell incorrectly
BASE 1519

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DHemer

To me this reads that you were pulling on the riser that had the tension knot (left riser). This would make the canopy turn faster to the left. If it was the right riser that was slipping, was your toggle in your hand and could you have not used that to keep the wing level?

I have seen people land with an asymmetric flare when one toggle was jammed



I'm struggling a litttle. Do you mean "flare with one riser and the free toggle"?

If so, I wouldn't recommend that. Next time you're up high, seek the stall point when pulling down your rear risers. Compare that with the stall point of the toggles. Then try to 'flare' (still up high of course); first with your toggles, then with your risers and finally with one toggle and one rear riser.

The differences in the necessary input between riser and toggle are huge. This goes for the distance you have to pull your arms down, the amount of force necessary AND for the abruptness of the input you require.
Then factor in that your average jumper (including me) has little to no experience landing on rear risers in a best case scenario.....

So, if it was me I'd just cut the damn thing away.
OP, this is not directed at you specifically; just a general observation. :)
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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Baksteen


I'm struggling a litttle. Do you mean "flare with one riser and the free toggle"?



I haven't seen others mention that much as a viable option, but I don't mind the idea of doing that.

I'll still recommend in general to chop if one isn't comfortable, and a symmetrical rear riser landing as the next option. (This is assuming the one brake is hung up at the brakes free position, not at the brakes set position.)

But one can also do a riser and toggle. Flare with the toggle and counter with the riser to fly straight. Little different than using a rear riser to counter a popped toggle on opening. Pull as needed to keep it straight.

I did it once at about 2.0 wing loading on a crossbraced canopy and it felt completely natural. I slid the landing in, but I would have too had I been flaring only on rears.

So I think it is an acceptable option, IF one is already comfortable 'on rears'.

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JohnMitchell

Thanks for sharing that. I've landed with tied off brake lines and been okay. Heck of a PLF.

I also ended up on crutches landing a 5 cell canopy with single broken A line. Right at treetop level I knew I had royally screwed up. A really good PLF kept the injuries to a minimum. That made me vow to never land a broken line again.

I have twice had the brake line knotted off at the keeper. It was very easy just to grab the line itself above the keeper and fly/flare the canopy. Something to keep in mind should you ever find yourself in that situation.

But when in doubt, hell yes, chop and pull reserve. B|



Friend of mine used to jump a Pegasus back in the 80's. He broke lines on it enough times that after the first 2 or 3 cutaways, he just started holding one of the risers to compensate for it so he wouldn't have to pay for the reserve repack. :D :S It was a big old one though...
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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BillyVance



Friend of mine used to jump a Pegasus back in the 80's. He broke lines on it enough times that after the first 2 or 3 cutaways, he just started holding one of the risers to compensate for it so he wouldn't have to pay for the reserve repack. :D :S It was a big old one though...

I was trying to save the hassle of a repack when I got hurt. :S:D:D

I had a friend with a Pegaboat during that era that had a 50% malfunction rate. Luckily he was a very fast rigger, repacking his own reserve many times trying to sort that thing out. :D

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I wasn't flaring with a toggle and riser.

My leasson and point was (for me) the proper action should have been to cut it away when I could not clear the tension knot.

Also, for me, it isn't that you can't land with a tension knot, that you can't land with a toggle and rear riser....or the fact that I can't spell. :P

It's that I let my comfort and complacency lured me into a situation that could have very easily cause me great bodily damage or death.

Be careful out there guys
Kevin Keenan is my hero, a double FUP, he does so much with so little

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Years ago I cut away a tension knot malfunction. I try to look for the root of the problem whenever I can. I learned about twisted up brake lines as a cause. I learned how to stow my toggles without letting them go and I also run my brake lines and get rid of any twists at the end of a weekend of jumping. Most packers won't have the time to straighten out brake lines, especially if, they're working a busy event.

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WOW, I had EXACTLY the same experience as you did, I cut away because I only got a fraction of your jumps. So the whole landing with my rear risers only occurred to me for a split of a second, then I told myself: forget it, checked my altimeter and cut away. A couple of my friends got similar experiences: looks like you should really be careful with your toggles and lines.....

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