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MarsGirl

Would the sport, as a whole, be more or less safe if a skyhook were in every rig?

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its a good question. My 2 cents.

A skyhook, provided its rigged up properly and has no malfunction of its own, will have a reserve out quicker than an RSL. More time to deal with mal'd main and find safe landing, provided people arent purposely pulling lower and chopping lower, i.e. its not an excuse to burn pass hardecks and other safety measures, but it is there if, for whatever reason, you find yourself low as hell with no options.

I have seen, and been apart of reserve pc hesitation. Most people i have spoken with dont have res pc hes in their eps. Just the other day i saw a low cutaway from a student and the reserve pc was just bouncing around on his back for about 800 ft or so and finally the reserve opened. I believe all student rigs should have a skyhook.

Simply put, in all working parameters (RSL misrigging has caused issues/fatalaties as well) the skyhook gets it out much faster but is not ideal in some disciplines as you can imagine. My assumption is that his friends may not have had an RSL at all, and that type of cutaway takes a little while to open, especially when you throw in the res pc hesitation and low chops.

I have spoken with many HP canopy pilots and most of them fly, and have used the skyhook. General consensus is they save lives. Jimmy T just recently told me at mile hi that he believes it saved his life... he has over 20,000 jumps.

End of the day, just cause you have an airbag in your car doesnt mean you drive into a brick wall but when a brick wall suddenly appears, its great to have an airbag, but again, airbags have killed. I think at this point its safe to say that a skyhook equipped rig is a safer rig, even moreso than just an RSL, but that doesnt mean you are safe in this sport. All we can do is mitigate risks... to quote Bill Booth "the true test of a safety device is whether it saves more lives than it kills" now let the vultures chime in:o:)
Ive never jumped with an RSL because i believed I could pull my own handles and because I did not want the "feeling" of being more safe. Call it irrational, but the truth is im much more on my game knowing that at the end of the day its my ass on the line and because of that I pull much higher than most, dont try hard to fix mal'd mains, believe in the design/operation of the reserve and i dont wait to get stable to pull reserve (I chop, pull). Now however, I have have a skyhook on order after few years of deliberation... that being said, can someone please give me an instance where the skyhook has killed someone? Mind you, a few things had to go wrong before the skyhook failed, in which case it seems not having one would have been just as deadly. But I would really like to know if a properly working skyhook as killed anyone. Because to me, reserves have/do fail, with or without stable body position... line twists/line overs on reserves happen with and without RSL's/skyhooks... hell not too long ago there was a vigil found without a blade in it. Keeping the system as simple as it was in the past, I belive would have killed more people to this day given the number of jumps being made now and the types of canopies being flown. It was aparently normal to pull at 2k back in the day... 2k is my current harddeck for a mal'd main... with or without an RSL or a skyhook.

Now the moment of truth to those jumping with a skyhook... do you feel more safe??? If so that could be one of the biggest problems with the skyhook or even just an RSL. You are not safe, nothing about skydiving is safe. Stay focused and enjoy the beauty of the sport, that safety feeling is an illusion, flying with freinds and loving the good sky is not!

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"slight increase in saves who cut away too low"

Dont know if i buy that anymore. Most people who chop extremely low and are saved do not report it... but i want to discuss this a bit more with you as im not sure what insanely low is. Yesterday I was flying over some hangers (bad spot, totally my fault) canopy collapsed just as I was going for my fronts, it was turbulence... i wondered what, if any options i had... fire reserve into spinning/collapsed main, pull both handles simutaneously, canopy transfer, or just dump the reserve... few options. But at 850ft, skyhook? Dunno... id really like to hear from some of you... Ive seen many vids of insanely low saves (skyhook) and many vids of insanely low not saves (no skyhook) I just wonder if we really know the numbers of the saves is all

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I have seen, and been apart of reserve pc hesitation. Most people i have spoken with dont have res pc hes in their eps. Just the other day i saw a low cutaway from a student and the reserve pc was just bouncing around on his back for about 800 ft or so and finally the reserve opened. I believe all student rigs should have a skyhook.



I find it a bit funny that a lot of skydivers today seem to look at a MARD as a 'must have' piece of technical innovation that revolutionizes the safe deployment of their reserve...wondering how we 'old farts' ever made it without one!
:D

As we know - a Main Assisted Reserve Deployment devise simply attaches the reserves bridle to the departing main, allowing for the force created to drag the reserve deployment bag from the pack tray.

It's primary function is to pull the deployment bag off your back & then off the canopy...a mard in reality has nothing to do with how fast your reserve opens. Skyhook or not - once that deployment bag is free of the canopy itself, the reserve will open the same in either configuration.

What the MARD actually does is shorten the time it takes from an RSL cut away to the deployment bag releasing the reserve canopy ~ The difference between the two is that without a MARD in place, the time it takes for a standard RSL type deployment has become a totally arbitrary quantity.

It may in some instances be a difference of a fraction of a second and in other instances...you may impact before the reserve deployment bag ever clears the pack tray - and make no mistake, that has nothing to do with altitude.

In your comment I quoted above you make reference to a reserve pilot chute hesitation...maybe THAT'S what we should be looking hard at regarding ~ Would the sport, as a whole, be more or less safe if...

~ Back when I started jumping, we had huge floppy jumpsuits that created a vacuum/void in the airspace directly above your back..when you pulled the reserve, sometimes the pilot chute would merely lay down alongside - or in front of the pack tray.

The "EP's" for such an event were to either look back at it or sit up more vertically, thereby interrupting that void and allowing the pilot chute to catch air and begin the deployment process...teaching that 'emergency procedure' to people today won't really help much in many instances and in fact can make matters even worse in some others.

What you're seeing/describing is a poorly designed and engineered reserve container and/or reserve pilot chute that isn't allowing the drag created to pull the bag out of the tray.

That's it...nothing more.

There was a period of time years ago when the wing wars gave way to tighter faster jumpsuits, that didn't ordinarily create the void effect...most all the rigs of that era were still squarish & boxy, most of the reserve containers were two pin affairs that had flaps which blew wide open and way out of the path of the stuff folded under them.

Pilot Chute Hesitation was becoming an antiquated term along with Capewells & Jesus Strings...

THEN ~ since the skydivers were going faster, turning more points etc. the aerodynamic effects of the rig came into question...either that or since the jumpsuits were tighter the rig was more visible and needed to 'look cool'...not sure which, but for whatever reason the rigs became significantly more 'form fitting' which meant tighter and tapered.

Guess what! :o

It seems THAT'S not the most ideal shape with which to rapidly unpack a reserve...go figure. :S

To make matters even worse, in 'some' deployment instances the directional force the now tiny pilot chutes creates, now serves to hinder deployment even more by somewhat wedging the bag up into the ears of the sewn closed upper corners of the reserve tray...deployment 'instances' such as when cutting away from a bad main with an RSL - and being vertical to the relative wind.

Hate to break it to ya gang - but this 'technical advancement' some seem so enamored with...is nothing more than a 'fix' to a problem that didn't exist once upon a time.

Just like having to add a bungee cord between your legstraps because the old way of a solid piece of webbing there looked funky and wasn't 'comfortable' enough. :ph34r:

There is no question the MARD insures a more positive release of the reserve deployment bag from the container...but in the world of K.I.S.S. - wouldn't a far better approach be to redesign the the container systems so that adding an expensive piece of equipment - 'than can be rigged incorrectly' - be unnecessary?

Ask yourself, why is it that the tail is wagging the dog on this stuff..

Opening altitudes that are now encouraged are easily 1500+ above what they were years ago with the 'old style' gear people scoff at...AAD altitudes are being raised at least 300' over what was once deemed quite adequate.

And should be adequate by TSO standards...except that those standards don't apply in the 'real world' combinations of gear being utilized.




So maybe - let's look at the question ~ Would the sport, as a whole, be more or less safe if a skyhook were in every rig? ~ in a little different context...

Would the sport as a whole be more safer, if the equipment we're trusting our lives with were designed and engineered with a priority on function first - and form a far behind after thought?

Having a tiny, tight, form fitting and aerodynamic rig with sweat soaking back pads, nickel plated harness rings and your dogs name embroidered on the soft hard to grab reserve handle may make ya feel cool & look pretty...

But remember ~ the LAST thing you need at 2 grand - - - Is PRETTY GEAR! B|










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

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Ive never jumped with an RSL because i believed I could pull my own handles and because I did not want the "feeling" of being more safe. Call it irrational, but the truth is im much more on my game knowing that at the end of the day its my ass on the line and because of that I pull much higher than most, dont try hard to fix mal'd mains, believe in the design/operation of the reserve and i dont wait to get stable to pull reserve (I chop, pull)


Because to me, reserves have/do fail, with or without stable body position...




No offence meant - but I agree, you probably should be using a rig equipped with a MARD.

You weren't using an RSL because you wanted to be 'pulling your own handles' - however you weren't taking any advantage of the option of deploying rock solid stable prior to doing so.

You put 100% faith & trust in the 'design/operation of the reserve' so you would 'chop & pull' regardless of body position, type of malfunction, traffic...etc.

Which in fact is a significantly less safe method of deploying the reserve, than to just allow the RSL to do it.

You say ~ "You are not safe, nothing about skydiving is safe. Stay focused and enjoy the beauty of the sport, that safety feeling is an illusion..."


I would point out that in fact it's an 'odds game' and that 'safety feeling' is subjective & relative...but no illusion.


Certainly the gear available these days is reasonably reliable, and the uniform system of training has allowed what was once a sport reserved for dedicated enthusiasts to become appealing to the general public, through marketing as an adventurous 'hobby'.

But in the overall big picture, relying on 'idiot proof' gear instead of having a solid foundation of understanding & ability is truly not 'playing the odds' to their best possible advantage.

Fortunately 98% of the time you can get away with flawed procedures and a less than optimal performance implementing them...however that 2% is a cold hearted unforgiving bitch whose judgement is swift and final.

I find it unfathomable someone wouldn't make every effort practical & possible, to turn any odds variable from against them, to in their favor...:S

I actually know how much drag my reserve pilot chute has in comparison with other types on the market.
I know how long my reserve takes to open both at terminal & sub because I strapped on a tersh and tested it.
I know how many stitches per inch are holding the seams together & what the links are torqued at...I pack my own main thus allowing for a close though quick inspection following every deployment.

WHY?

Because it makes me 'feel safer' having personal knowledge regarding the condition and configuration of the system I'm spinning the odds wheel with.

MY 2 cents is ~ would the sport be safer if every rig had a Skyhook - I dunno...but I will flat out guarantee that the sport as whole would be significantly safer if every PERSON took the time to understand how exactly their gear works any why.

Took the time to become completely versed on all possible scenarios and the proper reaction to them, thoroughly understand not only the what but also the why.

Took the time to build an absolutely solid foundation of basic skills so that you can react without thought and correctly implement successfully every time. ~ things like being able to immediately get stable subterminal...actually knowing before hand what you would do coming over the hangar low and hitting turbulence...a two out...a broken steering line...a mid air collision & wrap...the list is long, but definitely not 'endless'.

If people actually knew their shit and had it all together at crunch time...the sport would indeed be much safer than it would be by relying on the latest piece of hardware as a crutch instead.

That said - it's not an 'either / or' type of deal, one CAN do both...and hey, that can really lean the odds in your favor.


Talk about a non illusional feeling of safety...! B|










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

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http://www.skydivemag.com/article/rsl-skyhook-or-faith

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* Preventable Deaths
Consider USPA figures: between 1999 and 2005, the following fatalities occurred:
14 skydivers jumping without RSLs died after cutting away their main and deploying their reserve too low for it to open fully
5 skydivers without RSLs died after cutting away their main and not deploying their reserve
5 skydivers without RSLs died after cutting away and deploying their reserve unstable, resulting in an entanglement with the reserve.

An RSL would have prevented most of these 24 fatalities and a Skyhook/MARD would have prevented even more. In the same time period, there were only 4 RSL-related deaths [due to entanglements], all students with fewer than 20 jumps, 2 of whom were already entangled with their main.
Source: RSL: Separating Fact from Fiction by Jim Crouch




Personally, I don't even understand what we are talking about.
On a "normal" rig, with "normal" canopy, for people flying "normal" skydives with "normal" experience, "normal" currency levels and "normal" skills, there really are no reasons not to have one.
It doesn't mean that without you're going to die, that people without it have no chance of pulling their handle, that you should not know your EPs. Most certainly good EPs are better than extra safety devices, it means just that: for the regular skydivers that does regular stuff, there is no reason not to have one.
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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Hard to believe that the person with 1000 of jumps would ask this question.

How about at least putting on normal RSL for a change???

I've seen and heard so many cases where normal RSL would've got something out.

It is a shame to go in with reserve tray fully closed.

And all of those anti-RSL people... Line-twist on reserve doesn't happen due to RSL, I've had five cutaways with RSL and I've had one linetwist on my reserve.
Bernie Sanders for President 2016

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And all of those anti-RSL people... Line-twist on reserve doesn't happen due to RSL, I've had five cutaways with RSL and I've had one line twist on my reserve.



The line twist concern isn't blamed on the RSL in and of itself...It stems from the possibility of cutting away while on your back during an extremely violent spin.

If you're spinning fast parallel to the horizon and your body position is twisted from say maybe fighting a high G pull on the release handle - or your legs & arms are nothing near symmetrical because you're busy or graying out or whatever...

...it's quite possible to be rolling on your lengthwise axis as your get spit out & away horizontally from the malfunctioning main.

There is a valid argument in those situations there is line twist being induced because to the instability factor during pilot chute launch and bag extraction.

Keep in mind that as I pointed out in an earlier post - some of the rigs being jumped today have an inherent design flaw that causes a delay extracting the bag from the pack tray...who knows what all is going on back there with the pilot chute & bridle maybe spinning like crazy as the D bag works it's way out...:S

There are Skyhook videos on the web showing an intentional cutaway during just such a malfunction & the reserve opening clean without and twists...however, I've also witnessed a similar actual skyhook chop & deployment that did have considerable line twist.

- Problem is it's impossible to discount packing techniques that may have also attributed to line twists on opening.

I'm not a so called 'anti-RSL' person, although I do not use one while performing demos...I have several reasons why, but the foremost is wanting to be stable face to earth prior to using my last bullet.

A few years back while performing at an outdoor concert I broke a riser during main deployment on a not so lightly loaded canopy.

I chopped it by the 2nd rotation but was certainly haulin' the mail both vertically and spinning horizontally - the release spit me out ass over orangutan & with all the brackets & cameras bolted to me I'm glad I had a chance to stable out before pulling silver.

I fully understand the advantages, disadvantages & limitations of the RSL & MARD - my reasoning is sound and my choice is logical 'for me'...my decision not to use an RSL absolutely demands a high level of situational awareness and strict adherence to hard decks.

I won't ever be so deep in the basement that an RSL will be the only difference / possible chance, between survival & reaching room temperature.

I have nothing against RSL's or MARD's - but when discussing gear preference, one size definitely doesn't fit all. ;)










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

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I've had three chops on Velo and JVX, and all three of them were spinning hard.

And yet no linetwist.

Only linetwist that I had on a reserve was on a very stable cutaway, my canopy was flying straight, and my mal was step-thru on a Safire 189.

I had less than 200 jumps at the time, and I forgot to arch and put my leg back before I chopped, since I was in a sitting position once I chopped I fell backwards and watch the whole deployment process, including linetwist developing.
Bernie Sanders for President 2016

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I had 14 cutaways on everything from a Papillon with Capewells to a cross braced experimental loaded 2.45

...some were streamers, some were spinners, some were blown up canopies, a broken riser, a line over, caught one on fire once.

Some of the reserves had line twists & some didn't...once I chopped a streaming Excalibur - got stable and dumped a G200 that opened with a line over. :S

My point remains the same, some people feel more comfortable stabling out face to earth prior to going silver. ;)










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

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You're a solo jumper or part of a very small group whose focus isn't turning a bunch of points on most of your skydives now. You carry a lot of crap on you on many of your jumps as well. For people saying "what's good enough for Twardo is good enough for me," remember the other variables that he's controlling.

I have about the same number of reserve rides :$, and after a couple years back in the sport I put the RSL back on my rig. It seems that experience doesn't guarantee perfect performance, so I figured I'd stack the deck in my favor.

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

You're a solo jumper or part of a very small group whose focus isn't turning a bunch of points on most of your skydives now. You carry a lot of crap on you on many of your jumps as well. For people saying "what's good enough for Twardo is good enough for me," remember the other variables that he's controlling.

I have about the same number of reserve rides :$, and after a couple years back in the sport I put the RSL back on my rig. It seems that experience doesn't guarantee perfect performance, so I figured I'd stack the deck in my favor.

Wendy P.



Good Point Wendy - I'm glad you clarified that!

I actually did put the RSL's back on my rigs a while back to have there in place when not jumping demos...I figured I would just unhook it while performing. Unfortunately that became a hassle as on my stuff the lanyard to the shackle is fairly long and there's no practical way to stow it out of the way when not in use for a dozen jumps or so in a row.

I also alter my EP's a bit when it's in place, and it was simpler just not to use it...I do finally have an AAD BTW...;)

So yes to be clear...I have NOTHING against an RSL or a MARD, they are back up devices that statistically show to be much more helpful than harmful in average scenarios.

But that said ~ it concerns me a bit when people suggest as in some comments above, that the sport would be significantly safer if everyone had the BACKUPS in place.

Yes - they may add a level...but I firmly believe that properly designed equipment and thoroughly trained operators of it - would offer a level of safety 10 times that any backup could.










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

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As an average skydiver, I would not want to jump without an RSL. I feel safer and from personal experience, know some who would most likely be alive if they had one.

I experienced a very low cutaway about a year ago with demo gear and a Skyhook probable made a significant difference in a positive outcome for several reasons.

That being said, I recently updated my gear with a new container and my feeling was, why not have the best, so I added to it a Skyhook. Seemed like the thing to do.
Dano

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Canopy collision at break-off. I was tangled in the other lines with a good canopy above my head. The other person did a clean cutaway from below but I was left with his canopy and lines wrapped all over. By the time I untangled myself from the lines I still had his torn canopy above me starting to inflate. I was afraid to land it and felt comfortable cutting away at somewhere below 1,000 feet.

It was almost like a canopy transfer and I had time to unstow my breaks and look for a place to land. There was a helicopter below me warming up!

Oh and I only had use of my right arm. My left shoulder was hit so hard during the collision that I thought it was broken. I had little use of it at the time. Later it was found to be a bad bruise.
Dano

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