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LearningTOfly

Packing and Malfunctions

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I'll start off by saying that I'm fairly inexperienced at the falling out of the plane part of skydiving... packing, on the other hand, I am quite proficient at. I worked at a packer at a local DZ this summer, while I was too young to jump, so I have a bit of backround. When it comes to jumping I have two SLs and a Tandem... so that's a start... but anyways, my question to all the experienced guys and girls out there:

How much does packing contribute to whether a canopy opens properly or not? I know that some people 'trash pack' and that, and while I've never witnessed firsthand, I 'm assuming that most of them do not require a chop. I've seen others mal, even after being packed by a packer who has a proven technique... or at least a good record.

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Generally speaking, packing is what can cause a canopy to malfunction. Other then a canopy that breaks on opening or one that is highly effected by body position, just about everything else is packing related...that and the "shit happens sometimes" factor as well.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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Line order & line tension are the two primary components of a good pack job.

A trash pack will work. Most of the time, people ensure the lines are running straight to their designated place. Canopies often taken on a certain "memory" and over time a good shake, visual check and a proper wrap wll allow the canopy to open.

Having said that, I don't trash pack. But I have placed a round canopy in a grocery sack, "S" folded the lines on the top of the grocery bag and someone jumped it (they were doing the intentional cutaway) for their Strong rating) and it worked fine.

I still do a proper pro-pack. But most of all; ensure that line order & line tension is correct. Especially on my tandems.

Have about 150 to go to hit 1,500 jumps with no reserve rides. ;)

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Hey Night- I know what you mean when you talk about line tension, but what do you mean by line order? Are you refering to the stows, the flaking? I wanna make sure to pay attention to this the next time I pack, if it has gotten you through 1350 jumps without a chop. Thx

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but what do you mean by line order?



The lines cascade to their proper attachment points with no interference from other lines or material. Kinda like what you look at when you're pro-packing. "A's" all going to the right place, B's, C's, D's, stabilizer clear, no material between lines, etc.

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I know packing is very important on tandem systems. Every tandem master has at least 500 jumps, and because of the drogue, everybody is in roughly the same body position on deployment. Yet some DZ's go thousands of jumps between malfunctions and others can't seem to go 200 between chops. Same equipment...same body position...wildly different malfunction rates. What else can it be but packing?

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There are five major steps to every pack job:

1. lines straight
2. brakes stowed
3. slider ALL the way up
4. rubber bands tight
5. bridle routing


1. by "lines straight" I mean doing a 4-line check, then keeping the steering lines center rear as you stuff it in the bag. Many people lose track of their steering lines part way through the pack job, then wonder why they experienced a line-over or tension knot.

2. "brakes set" is another step that people often mess-up. I have stopped dozens of people who stowed their brakes ABOVE the guide rings. If I had not stopped them, they would have been surprised at opening time when a brake "fired" for some mysterious reason.
DUOH! It was never stowed to begin with!

3. Most people push the "slider ALL the way up" early in their pack jobs, but some of them lose control of it while bagging the canopy.

4. "rubber bands tight" is a recurring problem caused by installing replacement rubber bands that are too large for the lines. This can cause line dump, bag strip, slider strip and a dozen different types of disorganized deployments.

5. route your bridle according to your container manufacturer's instructions. Take that extra couple of minutes to - heaven forbid! - read the manual!

One other variable - especially on smaller & faster canopies - is body position. If your shoulders are uneven during deployment, you dramatically increase the chances of a turn, which can lead to line twists and line twists on smaller canopies can get so violent that the only solution is to cutaway.

My pet peeve is people who religiously devote a half-hour to flaking their bottom skins (minor point) but do not have a clue where their slider is in the completed pack job (major point)!
Hee! Hee!

Trash packing is perfectly acceptable, provided you pay attention at the five major steps I just mentioned.

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Rigger Rob,

For those with cockable pilot chutes...would remembering to cock them be on your list??

Besides that, I like your list.

edited for clarity

kristen
swooo #3 MB #3587 P.M.S. #66
"so let go, jump in...what're you waiting for? it's all right 'cause there's beauty in the breakdown"

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I'll just say this...at the risk of embarassment...I had 3, count em' THREE malfunctions in my first 100 jumps. See, I seemed to think that you could just shove it in the bag, or "trash pack" it and everything would be fine...I was under the misguided belief that they are just "designed to open"....Uhh yeah...and well, that's only true to a small extent. After chop #3 (and the DZ-wide assertion that I was going to be the next fatality{nice, huh?}), I decided to take a packing course. The guys (and girls) at Lake Wales were a huge, HUGE help. I realized right away that malfunctions are mostly a result of piss-poor packing skills. Obviously, there are other un-forseen things like line quality, material failures, body position, crew wraps, etc. that cause malfunctions, but with proper care, regular rigger inspections, and proper flying skills, the risk is greatly minimized.
My biggest advice to newbies out there is to take as much packing advice as you can get, and avoid someone's latest, greatest packing method...stick to the proven techniques and your chances of a malfunction will drop significantly.:)

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For my own canopy, I quarter the slider, clear the stabalizers and brake lines, give it a shake and wrap it up.

I think if you keep the lines in the middle, the fabric on the outside and slider against the stops, it will open properly. Good, who knows, but properly. Also getting it out of the container properly helps also.

Johnny
--"This ain't no book club, we're all gonna die!"
Mike Rome

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Okay, so I'm about to order my first rig, and all this packing talk has got me thinking.

Does the manual the comes with the new chute have a step by step guide to packing it? (so I can have some handy reference)

I'd consider myself fairly ignorant to packing. I was real quickly taught how to do it, and I forget 90%. Obviously, I'm going to take a packing course...but should I take it now while I'm waiting for it, or do y'all think it'd be better spent once I get my chute so I can practice and practice and practice while it's still in my head?

Thanks!
-Alex

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I'd consider myself fairly ignorant to packing. I was real quickly taught how to do it, and I forget 90%. Obviously, I'm going to take a packing course...but should I take it now while I'm waiting for it, or do y'all think it'd be better spent once I get my chute so I can practice and practice and practice while it's still in my head?



Take the packing course NOW.. and continue to pack as much as you can. that way when you get your own canopy you will already be proficient. Pack other peoples canopys for them.. with their supervision.. just get good at it.

It is also easier to pack older canopys with a few jumps on them so you will be ahead of the game when you get your brand new slippery as snot canopy that is a pain in the but to get all folded and stuffed into the bag.

When I started jumping under rounds I learned how to pack right from my very fisrt student jump and my packing excellence was the direct cause of my first two cutaways on my Papillion.( first one was on my 5th sport jump friggin steering lines crown lines and centerlines...ARRRGGGGHHH)[:/]

GAWD I love the newer equipment.. here in my second childhood/second jumping lifetime

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