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

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A few of us use different gear at different times during our tandem career. By keeping it simple you can also keep it safe. Drogue - primary - secondary - cutaway - reserve handle - RSL.

Is there anyone that can draw out the decision making process in the RW manual? Could you fast forward though the process having just pulled the drogue release at 5500ft? Esp after when accelerating to tandem terminal without the drogue with the added possibility of all the unusual attitudes that can now happen. :o

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when put in the actual situation its hard to say what I would do. First of all how many precious seconds have been wasted till you take action. On a Sigma you would pull, feel the trap door, then a unnatural delay. You would naturally look up and see nothing.
By that time im probably going straight reserve. Three reasons for this:

1. In reality im not going to take alot of time in the air to assess this situation or figure out whats happening. All I know is its below pull altitude and I need a canopy.

2. I want to deploy the reserve with as little wasted time as possible to avoid the terminal opening. Therefore im straight reserve. Also I'm not assessing too long. Any extra altitude you can save is just more time to deal with an entanglement. If I made the wrong decision initially then at least i have time to deal with it now. AVOID terminal reserve! thats a priority for me.

3. I would rather deal with a two out situation with a chance of a biplane or side by side. or cleanly cut away a downplane. If the main was hopelessly entangled I could assess whether releasing it would help or not. I certainly dont wont to start out with an already cut away main entangled with my reserve. Sure there is a chance that the cut away would be clean. It just seems to me that cutting away first might be limiting some of your options and potentially eating some altitude. You can always cut away afterwards but you cant reconnect it.

I know this is very situational and there are alot of variables here. I just think most scenarios like this you would be better off keeping the main initially, then assessing after the reserve was out.

By the way, 430 lbs is what I would consider reasonably big tandem load especially for a terminal reserve deployment
I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll burn your fucking packing tent down.

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I agree - it, arguably, could be better NOT to cutaway before pulling the reserve in this situation.

430lbs is a rather light tandem - it would come down to about 185lbs instructor and 185lbs student and 60lbs of gear.

there is a reason for current recommended procedures - there are lots of different things that can happen on a tandem jump - you have to keep it simple.

Long story short - going for the reserve right away wouldn't be bad in this situation specifically - but neither would cutting away first

In the light of all that can happen on a tandem jump/deployment - I believe that it is best to keep it simple.

drogue - main - secondary - cutaway - reserve - rsl

straight for reserve when: hardpull on drogue or bridle/drogue entanglement only.

It is simply arrogant to assume you will be aware of the exact nature of your malfuncion when it happens.

Thanks for your reply - I understand your perspective.

ps: How are you going to deal with an entanglement on a tandem? - I wouldn't know
Have fun!

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you are right. i was thinking 430 lbs of people not including gear.

I agree there is no way you are going to identify the mal while its happening. Thats what i was saying there isnt time for that.

I guess the main thing that im thinking is if im opening a reserve at or near terminal. I might would like to still have the main, just in case the reserve is damaged from the shock. then at least i have more material. Plus maybe i will be lucky and the main will open clean.

It is definately hard to say. Only hindsight is 20/20.
Ive got 5 tandem cutaway's and everytime i follwed my the standard EP's that you described. In this situation muscle memory would probably take over and cause me to do the exact same.

as far as dealing with a entanglement? I would do just that....... DEAL with it! ;) Didnt mean to imply that i could "fix" it. I can damn sure try to fight it though!
I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll burn your fucking packing tent down.

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Ok, I guess we agree.

The thing is that I can think of some situations when pulling the reserve first could cause problems.

Let say - you pull - trapdoor effect (drogue collapses) - and you keep speeding up - nothing happens - you pull your reserve first

BUT - it was a baglock

If you make the mistake of pulling you reserve before cutting away - you will likely end up with a main/reserve entanglement

I think it is dangerous to generate specific responses to odd malfunctions when the regular procedure would also do.

I understand your fear of terminal reserve openings - but it doesn't have to take long to pull your cutaway handle - is it worth it to skip that step and possibly end up with a entanglement (in case you mistake the baglock for a bridle failure)

Right - it is all about muscle memory - that is what people fall back upon when the unexpected happens.

About the entanglement.. I get it.. keep fighting;)

Thanks for the reply
Have fun!

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I would guess that upon the container opening and the drogue leaving one of two things will happen:

A. The drogue extracts the bag from the container and puts it into the wind / your burble.
In this case I suspect you would see / feel things going on out there. Hopefully that bag catches enough wind to open the riser covers and load the 3 rings. Even more hopefully you end up with a deployment of the main.

B. The drogue separates and leaves the bagged main in the open container.

In situation A you may end up with a main, but it needs to happen quick. If it is not happening quick enough I believe cutting away is appropriate.

In situation B even though the container is open you essentially have nothing out. There is no load on the risers or the 3 rings. I believe cutting away in this case is a waste of time. And for the reasons I stated in my original post I would rather deal with the possibility of a two out situation than an uncontrolled main / reserve entanglement with the main risers cut away.

This situation sucks and you may still die no matter what you do. There are a lot of variables.

So I say if you have signs of a partial deployment of the main ( bag leaves the container ) cut away. If the bag is still in the container deploy the reserve and if the main begins to deploy after that then deal with the results. ( Most likely a two out situation. )

Best plan of action jump well maintained gear, have a plan, and hope this does not happen to you.

SCARY

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The correct response is continue to pull the handles in the correct order.
My response would be to pull the primary drogue release, upon realizing that the drogue bridle has broken(and it is quite appearant that this is the situation), make one attempt to reach back and throw the bag into the relative wind, if this is not possible, immediately cut away and deploy the reserve,

I have personally witnessed the shock of the deploying reserve shake the bag loose from the main pack tray, there by having 2 out, but having pulled the cutaway pillow, you lessen the chance of two out.

On the Racer system, there is a cable connected to the drogue release that will completely dis-engage the 3 ring attachment ppint.

I am aware that there are going to be strong opinions on either side of this argument,, but as a tandem I/E, I feel I might have just a bit more first hand experience with this situation.



So, gentlemen,,,,,, flame away, but make sure you have facts and to back up any and all responses, please.



Respectfully

Ralph

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I don't think anyone is intending to make this personal. Simply discussing various ideas about how to deal with a bad situation. I am open minded to any logical input that anyone else has on this issue. Especially given the many various opinions people have on the subject. It seems that some reinforcement or other redundancy in the drogue attachment to the bag could by design eliminate most of these problems. It seems like it could be an easy problem to solve and would prevent a scary situation.

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