0
cpoxon

Tandem - broken bridle upon drogue release - what would you do?

Recommended Posts

Recently in the UK I've heard of a couple of cases where the drogue and bridle have disconnected during the release. The first happened once the bag was out of the container and most likely the canopy was out of the bag so it was uneventful. However, we also had an incident where it occured before the bag came out of the container, and because the Tandem Instructor deployed the reserve which resulted in a main reserve entanglement and serious injuries, and this is the situation to which the poll relates.

Perhaps first we should clarify what the manufacturers (or maybe the governing bodies, who usually recommend manufacturers guidelines) suggest? It is my understanding that for Vector systems, the procedure is to NOT cutaway, but to deploy the reserve immediately as the instructor in that situation did.

Is that correct?

So, what do people think? Is the manufacturer's recommendation right? If it isn't, do you still do what they recommend, or do you do what you think is right? Is this one of the many rare situations that can happen and it's more luck than judgement as to whether is works out alright? Anyone had this happen to them? What did you do? Would you do things differently if it happened again? Has anyone been taken to task over the actions they took in a similar situation? Has this incident made people think about more about tandem emergencies? What do the manufacturers think?

Thoughts please...
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have some thoughts on this. First, you can liken the debate to whether or not you should cut away a pilot chute in tow. Some people say yes, others say no. With either course of action you may live and walk away, or you may die. Either way you have to deploy a reserve cleanly past a pilot chute, and you risk then having the main deploy after reserve deployment.

I compare the two situations because in the detached drogue scenario you no longer have anything to deploy the reserve past, but you still have the possibility ( or probablility ) of a deployment of the main after reserve deployment.

Here are my thoughts:
If you cut away first, upon deployment of the main it will either fall away cleanly leaving you to happily land your reserve OR foul your reserve and leave you with a main reserve entanglement you can most likely do nothing about.

If you don't cut away first the main will PROBABLY open up into a bi-plane, a side by side, or a downplane. They MAY entangle, but it is more likely they will configure themselves into one of the above. I know how to deal with a biplane (land it), I know how to deal with a side by side, (land it or cut it away, I would land it) and I know how to deal with a downplane (cut it away).

I would rather not cut away because it allows me several more survivable possibilities, rather than "it either works or it doesn't".

This is a very dynamic situation with a lot of different variables. And as I said earlier, it is a bad situation and no matter what you do you may end up getting fucked up or killed. But I think that you should weigh the odds and possibilites for yourself and DO SOMETHING! I for one would NOT cut away first and those are my thoughts as to why. I would also NOT cut away a pilot chute in tow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whew, tough question. Lot's of interesting edge cases, and the manual certainly leaves some room for interpretation. First, I should point out that I am only Sigma rated, have never jumper any other tandem system, and only have ~100 tandems. My answer assumes a that Sigma tandem system is being used.

First, the simple form of my answer: When I received my rating, I was trained to always cut away unless I couldn't throw the drogue or there was a drogue or bridle entanglement. So since the drogue had been set, I would cut away first.

Now, the answer where I do some thinking and justifying: On a Sigma, assuming the drogue inflated in the first place (which the instructor should be checking after drogue deployment), it will only collapse and give the "trap door" feeling if the container has opened, whether it remains attached to the bag or not. Therefore, if I have set the drogue, pulled both handles, and felt the trap door, I feel confident in assuming that the container is open and I would cut away before deploying the reserve.

If I didn't feel the trap door, I would still cut away first because I am from the school of thought that a PC-in-tow should be cut away (and that is a whole other debate).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a video I found online that shows just that. Upon pulling the drogue release, the bridle broke. The instructor deployed the reserve and after the reserve inflated, the main also inflated. The pair landed with both canopies out, which resulted in a few broken bones between the student and instructor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqR2Uu9u-o4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Thoughts please...




Maintain your gear. Stop jumping crap.


Otherwise it's summed up much like a P/C in tow situation.

IF the main deploys and you have cut it away, you have no control over it. If you have not cut it away, you have some control and can react from there.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Here's a video I found online that shows just that. Upon pulling the drogue release, the bridle broke. The instructor deployed the reserve and after the reserve inflated, the main also inflated. The pair landed with both canopies out, which resulted in a few broken bones between the student and instructor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqR2Uu9u-o4



Having watched the video I believe it to be the same incident to which I am referring.
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do we agree that those things don't break down when they are bran new!
Those inner bridles will show sign of deterioration a long time before a break down can happen. On Some DZ people think those rigs are good for ever with out maintenance, WRONG. Maybe they don't think that way, maybe they just want to save money, I don't know. But the result is the same, tandems passenger are not safe every where out there because of people thinking that way.We are very lucky to have only one tandem pair fatality in the last 560000 jumps.
I agree 100% with Diablopilot,MAINTAIN YOUR GEAR.
That's why Bill Booth invented SIGMA.
It is more idiot prove.

Richard
When you think you're good...this is when you become dangerous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Depends on your situation and height at the time it happens. If I lose the drogue in drogue fall before I release it, my main container is closed. That's an easy one, no drogue = no main. Go straight to the reserve.

If I release it and it goes, I have a different issue. My main container is now open and the risk of an entanglement is there. I've seen the mains go out as the reserve pulls the pair upright and the bag hits the relative wind. In this case, I'll reach behind me and throw the main bag if I can. I have video of a bag lifting out and deploying correctly in this way. If I can't throw it, I'll pull the reserve and get my hands back there ASAP to stop the bag lifting. That way I reserve the option to cut the main away later in the deployment sequence if necessary, or at least hestitate it from lifting until the reserve is at line stretch.

It's really hard to come up witha one size fits all method for dealing with this. It's kind of like the endless debate on whether to cut away pilot chute in tows or not. At some point, you have to settle on one procedure, practise it mentally and physically, and follow it through without hesitation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the container is open ie I have pulled the drouge release then its cutaway and pull the reserve ...

If the contaniner is closed then its pull the reserve

IMO this is nothing like a pilot chute in tow and dont know why its getting mentioned

Diablo is 100% on the money jumpin shit or poorly maintained gear is the best way to enjoy this type of malfunction

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Depends on your situation and height at the time it happens. If I lose the drogue in drogue fall before I release it, my main container is closed. That's an easy one, no drogue = no main. Go straight to the reserve.



Is it ever easy? What if your container is open and you are unaware of it? Unlikely, but never say never.

Quote

If I release it and it goes, I have a different issue. My main container is now open and the risk of an entanglement is there. I've seen the mains go out as the reserve pulls the pair upright and the bag hits the relative wind. In this case, I'll reach behind me and throw the main bag if I can. I have video of a bag lifting out and deploying correctly in this way. If I can't throw it, I'll pull the reserve and get my hands back there ASAP to stop the bag lifting. That way I reserve the option to cut the main away later in the deployment sequence if necessary, or at least hestitate it from lifting until the reserve is at line stretch.



Has it ever happened to you Gareth? If so, were you able to pull the bag out or stop it from deploying? I'm just wondering how practical that is as one is accelerating very rapidly towards tandem terminal?

Quote

It's really hard to come up witha one size fits all method for dealing with this. It's kind of like the endless debate on whether to cut away pilot chute in tows or not. At some point, you have to settle on one procedure, practise it mentally and physically, and follow it through without hesitation.



This is the crux of the question, the possibilities are endless and yet the manual states (Vector at least, I should have asked everyone who replied to state what system they jump) what one should do, and that is to go straight for the reserve. By the manufacturer mandating what one should do in this situation potentially leaves them (or the governing body that mandates that the manufacturers instructions must be followed) liable if the TI follows that procedure and something goes wrong (having Uninsured in your name and students signing waivers notwithstanding). Perversly, say an Instructor elects not to adhere to the manufacturers instructions (because they believe they are flawed or incomplete) and something goes wrong, as with this situation because that's the way the die rolls, the Instructor is then himself liable both to the courts and his governing body for not following the rules. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. One would hope that one would be able to rationalise their decision to a jury of peers, but would you be happy to rely on that? Or what if you weren't around to justify your actions? Wouldn't it be better for the manufacturer to offer guidance rather than rules, and leave it down to the discretion of the instructor?
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

If the container is open ie I have pulled the drouge release then its cutaway and pull the reserve ...

If the contaniner is closed then its pull the reserve



You jump Strong's at Strathallan don't you Callum(?)? Is that the manufacturer's standard practice? Can't seem to find anything online.
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Craig

Yep I jump Strong, the rest are on vector type

Had a chat with a tandem examiner / evaluator in the states a few years back and that was one of the subjects we chatted about

Never had it happen ... but thats the plan if it does

You tried contacting Strong etc etc directly ?

C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote



Has it ever happened to you Gareth? If so, were you able to pull the bag out or stop it from deploying? I'm just wondering how practical that is as one is accelerating very rapidly towards tandem terminal?



Not to me. It's happened to another instructor at our drop zone. She has over 10,000 jumps, about 9000 of them tandem. As soon as it happened, you see her reach back, check and toss the bag, getting a good deployment out of it. The whole scenario took less than five seconds. I've built that check into my emergency procedures ever since. I wouldn't give it too much longer than that, and I would still get my hand back there on a reserve pull if I could.

As for deviating from the manual, just like a pilot, I believe that a good case can be made that once an emergency is declared, the pilot in command, in this case, the instructor, can make whatever decisions he or she determines appropriate to rectify the situation. The manual is right most of the time, but there's always scenarios that will depart from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

If the container is open ie I have pulled the drouge release then its cutaway and pull the reserve ...

If the contaniner is closed then its pull the reserve
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This sort of sums it up. In the original incident the drogue bridle breaks when the ripcord is pulled. On a Strong system ( all I'm familiar with ) This would lead to an open container and the bag probably bouncing around on my back. I would hesitate to simply fire my reserve into what would more than likely be a snarled mess on my back.

That being said, I check my gear before every jump, the packers do a very good job of inspecting gear between inspection/maintenence cycles, and we adhere to those maintenence cycles.

Some of our gear is well used, but is also well maintained. I do not and will not jump ghetto gear. It's just not worth the $30. The original incident more than likely occured because of poorly maintained gear and a lack of gear checks.

One of the other posters noted the lack of handles check during freefall. I also took note of that. I agree that it shows a lack of respect for the gear and the skydive in general. I check my gear on every jump. It's keeps me alive.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about the video flyer flying right underneath the pair in freefall. If the bridal broke at that moment, you could have had a freefall collision.
Daniel
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Tasers - Pepper Spray - Stun Guns and more!
www.dallassecuritysupply.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not a tandem master but I was at a DZ when the TM's drogue bridle tore. The TM along with the student had an exit weight of approx. 430 pounds. The drogue failed and the TM deployed the reserve while the two were terminal for two heavy people (my guess was about 200 mph). Upon inflation, we noticed the reserve was spiraling and uncontrollable. Then it appeared that the main parachute actually started to deploy and the fabric tried to inflate and wrap around the student and instructor. The two landed in an open muddy field. I was one of the first on the scene and the student had two broken legs. The reserve had large holes and tears in it which in my opinion was a result of the impact from opening. And in my opinion, both the TM and student were very lucky.
Roy Bacon: "Elvises, light your fires."

Sting: "Be yourself no matter what they say."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is how the incident was reported at the recent meeting of the British Parachute Association's Safety & Training Committee on the 27th of September 2007, along with the subsequent actions.

Quote

The serious Instructor injury occurred due to a malfunction, where the inner drogue bridle line broke. The reserve was deployed, but the main still being attached resulted in the two canopies flying, at times in a ‘down-plane’ configuration. The instructor was unable to release the main, resulting in a very hard landing. The instructor sustained extensive back injuries and the Student broke his ankle and wrist. The Chairman stated that he was sure the Committee would wish to send their good wishes for a speedy recovery.

Nigel Allen gave further details regarding the above incident and stated that he felt the Tandem Emergencies Aide Memoir may need updating with regard to some procedures. This generated a great deal of discussion as to the different drills for various problems/malfunctions. It was generally felt that because of the number of different Tandem rigs in use, the whole subject of emergency procedures for the different equipment needed looking into. Discussion also took place regarding the packing and maintenance of Tandem equipment, considering the hard use this type of equipment receives.

Following further, in-depth discussion, the Chairman stated that he would convene a Working Group to consider these aspects of Tandem Parachuting.


Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a broken bridle when I pulled the drogue release Yesterday. About 2-3 second hesitation then a normal opening. I wasn't to concerned until I saw the video, bag was bouncing around with lines deploying during that hesitation. All I could think was "wow." Vector rig.
If you never fall down you aren't trying hard enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I cannot remember if it was a Vector or Eclipse tandem system. Our DZ had both at the time. I just remember the bridle was made out of teflon and I believe it tore. It was before I became a rigger that it happened so that is all I can recall knowing about the gear at the time.
Roy Bacon: "Elvises, light your fires."

Sting: "Be yourself no matter what they say."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you are the jumper - you don't have the time to figure out what is going on - replay the video - etc

Keep it simple

drogue - primary ripcord - secondary ripcord - cutaway - reserve - rsl (in that order)

Only staight for the reserve when
- hardpull on the drogue (ie student graps right hand)
- drogue or bridle entanglement that won't clear

just a thought ;)
Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0