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Cayce

Landed a Tension Knot

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Okay, so this weekend I had an interesting landing. I did a high hop and pop from 5k, pitched around 3k, in the saddle at 2.5k. Did a control check, turns, flare, visual of the chute, all good. Start to set up for the DZ and get into a landing pattern. At around 1,800 I realize that I've made a few left hand turns and the break line has felt like it was catching at the same place on the turns. I check it out a little more and I see a tension knot that is binding up maybe 2-3 inches of line and the knot bumps as it passes through the guide ring when I flare to about my chest. I mess with the knot, no way it's coming out. I do another controllability check and figure that I can land with this glitch. I just have to make sure that as I use the toggles I lead my right toggle by a few inches to make up the difference. If the line snaps, further binds, lets go, I can always land on rear risers. I practice a few on heading flares to get the lead figured out and set up for final on the approach. Landed fine with a good flare, no worries.

So here's what I take away from this one. First I didn't do as complete a controllability check on initial opening as I should have. Because of that I was already past my decision altitude (2k) when I found the problem. Even still I would have chopped had it been binding something like a foot of break line, but at two inches I didn't even notice the heading pulling left at all, with the funky winds we had yesterday it could have been any number of steering issues. So I elected to land it figuring that the possible escalation of the problem could only be to break a line, further bind it, or the knot lets go and it returns to normal. Either of which would only affect me on final in the last 50ft, so I was primed to bail to rear risers in a heartbeat if anything went wrong.

Finally I think the causes could have been related to a few things. I have gotten out of the habit of untwisting my break lines on a daily basis, something I will be religious about from now on. So my break lines had many twists before the incident. Also, I didn't pack last weekend before going home at night so I just daisy chained my lines and squished my rig and chute in my gear bag. So after a week of daisy chained lines with twisted break lines the excess between the d-bag and the risers looked like spaghetti sitting in my container tray. Usually it just coils in all nice, but this time it was having a bad hair day and the lines looked all squirrelly while I was packing.

So, to summarize, more thorough controllability check, daily break line untwisting, and make sure to pack after sunset load... Anyone else have any observations?

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daily break line untwisting


If you're going to do that religiously, this might not be that helpful, but I've found that if I reattach my toggles to the risers as soon as I land (before I drop them and allow them to spin), and make sure I don't put any twists in while setting the brakes when packing, I never have any twists in my brake lines. About every 5 pack jobs I'll walk them down to make sure, but I never find more than one rotation. Getting into this habit takes the "I wonder?" factor out of the equation, if you know what I mean. I'm glad your mal didn't get any worse and you landed it okay. It's not a bad idea to visually check your lines (especially your steering lines) as soon as you're open and in clear airspace. I had a half-hitch in my lower steering line once and it took longer for me to recognize it than it should have due to my poor habits. I learned, because it got pretty interesting clearing it before my hard deck.

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Now that's the strange thing. I do exactly as you describe and stoe my toggles upon landing, making sure not to twist the lines. Yet I keep accumulating twisted break lines. I don't see how they get twisted up so much.

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