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JayCam

First really bad experience

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Ok so today I go to my drop zone and get ready for my second five second freefall. Fine fine put on my gear and get in the plane go up to 4200 feet and set up my exit.

I dont arch enough (instructor says not at all) and went completely unstable. After around three seconds I realised I wasnt gonna be able to stabalise so I pulled... on my back.

So the canopy goes up between my legs and the left risers twist round my left arm. To make things worse there are line twists from the risers to the canopy.

Start spiralling faster and faster with this incredible pain in my left arm where the circulation has been completely cut off. I dare not touch the toggles coz thats sure to make things worse.

Try my hardest to kick out the twists but its not going to happen they seem to be twisting as soon as I can get them out due to my spiraling...

Safety training kicks in... go for the cut away pad.

Look locate got it... peel... pull... nope.

The damn thing wouldnt come out. I am a big guy and I can pull damn hard but it just wasnt coming out. So here I really start to freak out.

So Im spinning really fast by now and the pain in my left arm is really really bad. I think if i dont get these twists out im going to die checked the altimeter was at about 2500 feet so I thought I had time to do something wasnt going to give up lol.

Used all my strength to pull the risers apart and kicked like my life depended on it which it probably did lol.

Eventually I got them out but I still couldnt control the canopy as one of my arms was tangled through the risers and shoulder strap.

The pain was really bad by now so was not thinking clearly and tried again at the reserve at about 800 feet before I realised this was a stupid idea as I would not get the reserve open in time and my arm was going to get ripped off when I feel away from the risers. Luckily I still couldnt get it out anyway.

So im in another situation now heading towards a load of trees and cannot steer the canopy. Eventually i get it heading away from the trees by pulling the right hand side risers.

So i took both toggles in my right hand and managed to steer like that since the twists were out. Flared the gigantic manta as hard as I could with one hand and JUST missed a barbed wire fence and a six foot deep ditch.

Landed really fast but luckily in a muddy and soft feild slid and tumbled a few feet realised I wasnt dead and fought out of the rig and waved I was ok.

When I saw m instructer he just asked "why didnt you chop"? lol "I TRIED!!!" says I.

After getting a severe talking to about my lack of spread I got put back on dummy pulls.

God damn.

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Yeah I guess it aint funny but Im either going to laugh at how lucky I was or be shit scared for ages. I dont know why it wouldnt cut away. I just pulled as hard as I could which as I said is quite hard and it wouldnt come out. I think it might have got twisted or something as I kind of backflipped through the risers on opening if you know what I mean. I dont know too much about how the reserve system actually works. I was pretty surprised that it wouldnt come away and was somewhat angry at someone (dont know who, but whoevers fault it was, maybe mine) because if i had been able to cut away it would have been fine.

God knows. But that pretty worrying anyway.

J

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I dont arch enough (instructor says not at all) and went completely unstable. After around three seconds I realised I wasnt gonna be able to stabalise so I pulled... on my back.



I want to disclaim this by saying that I'm just fresh out of student status myself with 54 jumps, but what was the rush on the pull? When I did my first hop and pop, my instructor made it a point to tell me "at 4,000 feet, you have 15 seconds before you need to get your main out." You're not traveling at terminal until after 8 seconds of freefall. He told me I should pull at 5 seconds, but ONLY if i was stable, and that if i wasn't, to take a breath and ARCH HARD...

My hop and pop went great, but I attribute it to how calm and prepaired (through education) i was for the jump.

Do you feel that your instructor made sure you knew that you had a little more time than most students think, and how important being stable while deploying was?

My instructors drilled and drilled and drilled these things into my head while on the ground, and I'm glad they did; because I have yet to have any bad experiences.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Yeah a couple of dudes helped me with the rig since my left arm wasnt working too well. I didnt see them as I had to leave the DZ but they said they were gonna hang some weights in the harness and pull the cutaway. Ill no doubt find out sooner or later if it worked or not. I dont care what the outcome is though it DIDNT work when i tried it!

J

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Hey Mr17Hz,

Yeah my instructor made it very clear that I had at least 10 seconds worth of freefall he assured me that if he was following me out he would do a 15 second from 4200.

The thing is I wasnt THAT unstable at 3 seconds so I just pulled but I must have been more unstable than I thought because I was definately upside down when I saw the pilot chute.

In retrospect I definately would have arched hard and waited it out but I guess i didnt think. |That would have been much better coz on all of my other jumps I have been perfectly stable. I was perfectly stable for about 7 seconds on my last 5 seconds (yeah got an annoyed look from my instructor for that one).

Yeah next time I am just gonna arch harder. Gues I didnt think and I was a little nervous cos it had been three weeks since my last jump due to an injury on that jump. Not bad but bad enought that I couldnt jump.

J

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I had to leave the DZ but they said they were gonna hang some weights in the harness and pull the cutaway. Ill no doubt find out sooner or later if it worked or not. I dont care what the outcome is though it DIDNT work when i tried it!


You don't CARE what the outcome is??

You had a problem that almost killed you and you dont care to know what happened and what you could have possibly done to prevent it??

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I dont arch enough (instructor says not at all) and went completely unstable. After around three seconds I realised I wasnt gonna be able to stabalise so I pulled... on my back.



I want to disclaim this by saying that I'm just fresh out of student status myself with 54 jumps, but what was the rush on the pull? When I did my first hop and pop, my instructor made it a point to tell me "at 4,000 feet, you have 15 seconds before you need to get your main out." You're not traveling at terminal until after 8 seconds of freefall. He told me I should pull at 5 seconds, but ONLY if i was stable, and that if i wasn't, to take a breath and ARCH HARD...

My hop and pop went great, but I attribute it to how calm and prepaired (through education) i was for the jump.

Do you feel that your instructor made sure you knew that you had a little more time than most students think, and how important being stable while deploying was?

My instructors drilled and drilled and drilled these things into my head while on the ground, and I'm glad they did; because I have yet to have any bad experiences.



Yeah definately not. My instructor was great made everything very clear. I knew how bad it is to pull unstable, my friend did it recently and got hit on the back of the head by the main in its bag. I knew that. My own bad technique and judgment.

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I had to leave the DZ but they said they were gonna hang some weights in the harness and pull the cutaway. Ill no doubt find out sooner or later if it worked or not. I dont care what the outcome is though it DIDNT work when i tried it!


You don't CARE what the outcome is??

You had a problem that almost killed you and you dont care to know what happened and what you could have possibly done to prevent it??



No thats not what I mean. I hope they do figure out whats wrong with that rig. But chances are it might cut away easily since it wont be twisted and there will be less weight on it. What I mean is that if they tell me "but the cutaway worked fine" then I dont want to hear it. Because it definately did not.

J

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I understand that you may be trying to lighten up this situation, but I do not believe you should. Your arm was trapped in the risers (lets just say that you were able to cut away now you have ball of crap hooked to your arM which will surely have got tangle up in your reserve). I understand you are a newbie but you are lucky to be alive and I really think you should take pause and reflex on the chain of decisions that got you into that situation. We all make mistakes but it seems to me that you (at least here) should take this mistake to heart and really ask yourself a lot of questions instead of just brushing it off.
Kirk

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Hey Talonsky (and others)

No please dont think that I am taking this lightly. I understand fully how lucky I was. I spent a good amount of time talking through it with my instructor and going through it in my head. Dont think I am going strap into another rig and make the same mistakes. I understand and respec the nature of this sport. Sorry if I sounded naiive and irrisponsible. Still quite shakey and not thinking too well. So try not to judge what I say too harshly lol.

And I have removed the lol from the title!

J

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Its kind of troubling that you laugh when you say my life was probley on the line. I hope this is just your own way of dealing with it. Your life was on the line, shouldnt make jokes. Your life is always on the line, when jumping from an airplane, but through education you can help make the chances of death much less, I am to new to go into anything about why it happened or what not all I know is that I hope some more experienced people come on this thread and give advice but I also hope you stop laughing at the fact you made a mistake and almost died. If it would have been me I would have hung around to see them try the cutaway... skydiving is mechanics, if you dont learn then how the hell can you expect to be safe in this sport?
Sudsy Fist: i don't think i'd ever say this
Sudsy Fist: but you're looking damn sudsydoable in this

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See above post. Yeah Ill definately find out if it worked but i had to go and get my arm sorted out and get out of my skydiving gear. Was pretty shaken by it please AGAIN i DO NOT want to sound like im some irrisponsible idiot.Maybe a bit late but cut me some slack im still shitting myself lol

J

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I understand that you may be trying to lighten up this situation, but I do not believe you should. Your arm was trapped in the risers (lets just say that you were able to cut away now you have ball of crap hooked to your are which will surely have got tangle up in your reserve). I understand you are a newbie but you are lucky to be alive and I really think you should take pause and reflex on the chain of decisions that got you into that situation. We all make mistakes but it seems to me that you (at least here) should take this mistake to heart and really ask yourself a lot of questions instead of just brushing it off.
Kirk



what he said.

Also, remember that issues with gear are useful to dig into, not just for your own benefit, but if it unveils something more serious, it might be something other jumpers are not aware of.

Although highly unlikely, when gear fails, there is a very slim possibility that it's due to an issue at manufacture point. This can affect other jumpers - i can think of 2 such issues that i have had to have checked on my own gear since i started jumping that others had found on identical gear during normal jumping. Slim a chance of this happening is, always do your best to find out exactly went wrong in your situation and if it was gear related, as it can save lives.
Finally, if this is not gear related, why did your EP's not work as planned? What could have helped, with hindsight? Have you spoken to instructors to work this out and planned out in your head how to deal with a similar situation should it occur again?

"Skydiving is a door"
Happythoughts

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Yeah. My instructor says that I probably did the right thing to pull early in the situation I was in. However I now appreciate that once u have the main chopped you only have one more chance. If im in a situtation again you bet im going to do everything I can to get the main working before i cut away.

Another thing. If the main had suddenyl cut away at like 200 feet I would have been screwed so i havnt really figured out if that was the right thing to do. I guess I had no way of knowing that the cut away wasnt going to work.

I have seen people cut away on this model of rig before so I dont think its a manufacturing problem. BUT if it jammed as a result of me twisting it with my newbie bad technique then shouldnt they make rigs which still work even if u twist them a crazy amount?

Who knows, I am still going through this in my head. Havnt quite got rid of the weird shock feeling.

J

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Dont shit yourself, thats just gross...

In all seriousness I see why you were doing the lols , lets us know when you find out if it worked.



Thanks, nice to hear that im not infact being an imbicile. lol I hope we know the other comment isnt to be taken literally!

J

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As a relative newbie, I really don't want to give out advice or anything like that, however, here's my take on it. The excess cutaway cable is stowed inside the risers themselves. Without hard inserts, the risers can twist up and bind the cable so that you cannot pull it out. Hard inserts maintain space around the excess cutaway cable even with high pressure on the risers so that the cable can be cleared even in severe linetwists (or with the risers twisted around your arm in your case.) Maybe someone with more experience can explain this more clearly.

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Let me just say.... Good Job.

You kept your head in a bad situation and you're alive and walking around today because you did. You're asking questions and accepting criticism about what happened and what might have led up to what happened.

Good on ya. :)

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It's often said that any fatality or serious injury is the result of several mistakes in a row. You made the first one (going unstable) - what saved you is that you didn't make any more.

The BIG mistake you didn't make was trying to get stable for the next 30 seconds. You have perhaps 15 seconds to get stable from 4000 feet (10 seconds to 3000 where you should be pulling, then 5 seconds to 2000 feet which is your safety margin.) So while you could have taken a little longer to get stable, it's a lot better to pull too early than too late. The priorities are generally "pull, pull at altitude, pull stable" and it's often better to get something out than wait until it got stable.

The second mistake you didn't make is that you kept thinking. You tried to cut away, but when that failed and you got lower, you stopped trying, which was good. Cutting away too low can easily kill you. And then you figured out how to (partially) control an oddly-deployed main. Once you have directional control and you can flare it at all, it's probably landable. And the main you have at 800 feet is almost always going to be better than the reserve you _don't_ have at 800 feet.

(BTW did you have an SOS system, or did you have a two-handled system? A failed cutaway is a problem for SOS systems; you can't even get the reserve out.)

So good job on surviving; now you know what you have to work on (stability.) It took me ten tries to get off dummy pulls because I had a habitual dearch problem. It wasn't until jump 20 or so that things started to make sense, and I could exit reliably.

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