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JohnMitchell

Advice on cutaways

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Phil1111


Now the situation is:
Dual color coordinated pillow handles under a high speed spinning mal where you can't see your handles. Now act correctly you have seven seconds to safe minimum deployment altitude.



Why would it matter what color the handles were if you could not see them? I would think the situation you are implying would be if you COULD see your handles and due to disorientation and harness shifting and because they look identical you decided to pull the wrong one.

(I have dual color coordinated pillow handles btw)
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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SethInMI

***
Now the situation is:
Dual color coordinated pillow handles under a high speed spinning mal where you can't see your handles. Now act correctly you have seven seconds to safe minimum deployment altitude.



Why would it matter what color the handles were if you could not see them? I would think the situation you are implying would be if you COULD see your handles and due to disorientation and harness shifting and because they look identical you decided to pull the wrong one.

(I have dual color coordinated pillow handles btw)

I thought of that when I was proofreading but was too lazy to change or amend it.

Threads like this are useful for all levels of experience because they require introspection about possible problems and how a person would have to resolve them. Then to add go-pros, gloves, etc. into the equation.

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sammielu

6. PRACTICE. Get in a hanging harness often and think through and physically walk through pulling your handles every day. (Also please make sure you remember which one comes first and why it's do important to pull the right one first!!!)

My AFF first jumpmasters saying was " Do the RIGHT thing."
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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When I first started jumping there were no AADs or RSLs to back you up. Before I made my first FF jump, I was briefed "John, when you leave that plane today, you're a dead man until you pull."

That kind of self-reliance seems to breed a sense of necessity of doing the right thing when you had to.

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I think rule number one should be.

1. Expect a malfunction on ever single jump.

And I always try to tell jumpers about the location they are jumping should dictate a reserve pull altitude.
At Dz's such as Perris or Eloy, you have a LOT of empty earth surrounding you. At a place such as the Ranch in NY, Go Jump Oceanside, Hawaii or an exotic boogie over jungles or the sea, you want to really note where you are during your track and handle things accordingly.
It sucks when a jumper does everything right and flies a low opened reserve into the trees, surf or power lines to injury or death.

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It was very regional. I started about the same time, with a Steven Cutaway System (RSL). I had an AAD for my first few freefalls, but the club only had one, so it was just the first few.

When I went to New England and worked at a DZ a couple of years later, they didn't have RSL's, but I don't remember about sentinels.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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JerryBaumchen

Hi John,

Quote

When I first started jumping there were no AADs



Unless you started before about 1962, there was the Sentinel available to you.

Right. And there was one sentinel at my DZ, on a 24' flat. Actually wore it once, but not on my first freefalls. I guess I should have said they weren't commonly available. There were some other designs prior to that that had to be disarmed under canopy, right?

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JerryBaumchen

Hi John,

Quote

When I first started jumping there were no AADs



Unless you started before about 1962, there was the Sentinel available to you.

Jerry Baumchen



--------------------------------------------------------------

Jerry, you silly boy!
There you go getting all Americentric!
Hah!
Hah!

Russians have had KAP-3 AADs since the 1930s.
Sadly, few KAP-3s ever made it North America.

AADs were not standard when I started jumping in the late 1970s. We had a few FXC 8000 AADs.
When dressing for one of my student FF jumps, the DZO told me: "Give that (chest-mounted) reserve containing an AAD - to a first jump student." Which was a back-handed way of saying that he was confident that I would pull a ripcord.
AADs did not become standard for students until the early 1980s.
Electronic AADs (e.g. Cypres) were standardized - for licensed jumpers - during the mid-1990s.

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John, nice thread topic to get people thinking before needing to act.

One thing about practicing in a hanging harness. Often they may be a clapped out rig that is non-airworthy, but great for training. Since they get the handle pulled off the velcro a lot, the velcro gets worn more than a rig in standard use. I've seen training rigs where the handle is easy to pull in any direction, no peel required. That can lead to bad training on direction of the peel/punch.

I would offer that training rigs get the velcro checked frequently and replaced at the first sign of any wear. Hell, change it before it shows wear. Let the new student feel what really grippy velcro is like. That way they can train properly for it on the ground and won't be surprised in the air.
50 donations so far. Give it a try.

You know you want to spank it
Jump an Infinity

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Quote

I felt the reserve fire off my back and then I realized that my hand had slipped off the cutaway handle right before I pulled the reserve handle! I was shocked and realized that had that been an actual in air emergency I would probably of been fucked.



I had a similar experience the first time I was in a hanging harness. In my case, my hand didn't slip off the cutaway handle - it just stopped moving in response to the shear-force of the velcro. The metal reserve ripcord slipped easily from between the velcro by comparison. After that, I very purposefully changed my visualization cadence to peel-pull-pull (I'm a one-hander), then peel-pull-peel-pull, when I switched to a soft reserve handle.

I'm fortunate to have a lifetime supply of closed rigs with handles I can pull during repack season (I've been rigging full time for more than a decade). As surprised as I am when jumpers don't choose to pull their handles when they drop their rigs off, I will happily do it a hundred times a year! One thing I have learned is that it matters less, at least in my experience, what kind of handle you have (metal or pillow) than it does that you are visualizing that handle-type. Because I am used to pillow handles, from my own semi-compulsive handle touching on the ride to altitude, I often miss the metal handles when I pull them on customer rigs. Maybe something to think of if you are borrowing gear, and especially when you switch handle type on your own gear!

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monkycndo

I would offer that training rigs get the velcro checked frequently and replaced at the first sign of any wear. Hell, change it before it shows wear. Let the new student feel what really grippy velcro is like. That way they can train properly for it on the ground and won't be surprised in the air.

Great idea. I think that's a good rainy day project for me at the DZ. :)

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The only time I used two hands to cutaway almost resulted in a fatality. There were other factors in the string but I would never go back to a two handed pull unless I had two for some reason at that time. No rsl type device though or the two handled pull wouldn't have as scary had I had one. Found my reserver Pillow closer to hip and hidden on a very tight fitting harness. Hard to believe I had such harness shift. I expected a hard cutaway as I was spun up down into risers in less then seconds and had no riser inserts. The only reason for two handled pull was an assumed hard pull. Low break off, seperation issues, pulled last as a result, and violent malfuction.

Side note, I have never noticed velcro resistance and have never peeled. Just punched. Pillow handles.
That spot isn't bad at all, the winds were strong and that was the issue! It was just on the downwind side.

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:o Glad you made it. So it sounds like you had a hard time locating the reserve handle (before or after) cut away?

What type of main canopy and wingloading? Have you considered using an RSL?

Thanks for relating this incident. This is exactly the scenario that makes me prefer 1-hand-on-each-handle. But I must admit either technique has advantages and drawbacks. For experienced jumpers, I say it's a personal decision.

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JohnMitchell

:o Glad you made it. So it sounds like you had a hard time locating the reserve handle (before or after) cut away?



After. Wasn't where is was supposed to be. Flo green pillow against black jumpsuit. Low main opening and spun up like I can't even describe.

Quote

What type of main canopy and wingloading?



72 sq ft xbraced at 2.6 lbs/ft
Quote

Have you considered using an RSL? .



I considered it at about 500 ft agl that day.
That spot isn't bad at all, the winds were strong and that was the issue! It was just on the downwind side.

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Actually my last thought as I rotated my mlw open to look inside was that the boys at my first "home" dz were going to be saying "we told him so" as they were playing cards at clubhouse upon hearing news. I had a perfect vision of that scenerio just before finding reserve pillow. The "told him so" was a combination of lack of safety devices including AAD and rsl type devise.

But like many incidents this was a chain of events. A practice 4 way that was smoking along so well we all took it low started it. My girlfriend purchased me an alti(been stolen years earlier) and I ended up getting an audible also. Tried to keep deployment at 2.5k after this if possible.
That spot isn't bad at all, the winds were strong and that was the issue! It was just on the downwind side.

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craddock

I considered it at about 500 ft agl that day.

:D:D Priceless. Glad you lived. ;)

You know, your next post talked about "what would the guys say back home?" Every time I think of doing something stupid or making the wrong decision, I always think "How stupid is the write up in the Incident Reports in Parachutist going to look?" It always seems to remind me of my mortality and how far better than I have gone in before.

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Funny John, I've used that technique when faced with some "interesting" aeronautical decision making before. Read back your possible actions and decisions like it's an accident report and being reviewed by a court of law...

"The PIC was aware of a minor maintenance discrepancy, had seen the forecast for embedded thunderstorms and had calculated the trip over mountainous terrain would leave him with marginal fuel reserves, but when the passengers arrived two hours late with an extra 400 lbs of baggage..."

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JohnMitchell

***I considered it at about 500 ft agl that day.

:D:D Priceless. Glad you lived. ;)

You know, your next post talked about "what would the guys say back home?" Every time I think of doing something stupid or making the wrong decision, I always think "How stupid is the write up in the Incident Reports in Parachutist going to look?" It always seems to remind me of my mortality and how far better than I have gone in before.

I always found it amusing that with seconds left in life when I knew I was terribly low and my pillow wasn't there,
I still had such a clear vision of those boys shaking there head commenting on my death. All without affecting my attempts to not die. Prettiest thing ever that yellow 106r over my head in time.

But it also reminds me of a student one time. Off topic but anyway. I was on lake skiing and watching some static line class doing there first jumps , feeling a little guilty I wasn't there to pack the student rigs, when I noticed a student in trouble. Had a perfect opening but was unresponsive under canopy. We used one way radios on first jumps. She flew with no input landing in a tree in a wooded residential area next to the creek feeding into this lake. I was first on scene besides homeowners in the yard talking to her. She claimed she never heard radio (checked out fine) and couldn't find the airport. There was absolutely no good areas or outs the direction she was flying (on heading opening up wind). She never looked over her shoulder where the airport should have been. Another girl jumper tried to get her up as soon as possible to get over it and I pulled that instructor aside and shook my head. It is not for everyone.

Different people react so different when faced with crises. She made her own. Sorry for off topic
That spot isn't bad at all, the winds were strong and that was the issue! It was just on the downwind side.

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craddock

The only time I used two hands to cutaway almost resulted in a fatality. There were other factors in the string but I would never go back to a two handed pull unless I had two for some reason at that time. No rsl type device though or the two handled pull wouldn't have as scary had I had one. Found my reserver Pillow closer to hip and hidden on a very tight fitting harness. Hard to believe I had such harness shift. I expected a hard cutaway as I was spun up down into risers in less then seconds and had no riser inserts. The only reason for two handled pull was an assumed hard pull. Low break off, seperation issues, pulled last as a result, and violent malfuction.

Side note, I have never noticed velcro resistance and have never peeled. Just punched. Pillow handles.



Or if you are in a wing suit and you do not want to have your reserve handle sucked into your suit
BASE 1519

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