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billvon

Collins Lanyard

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(bumped up from a previous thread to save it from an untimely flaming death)
Alan made a comment about the Collins Lanyard, and that's worth mentioning. (BTW - historical note - RSL's are also known as Stevens Lanyards.)
First background on RSL's: Most RSL's are simple connections between one main riser and the reserve cable. Cutaway the riser, and the reserve pin gets pulled as the main is leaving. One problem with this system is that if that riser breaks, or releases prematurely, the RSL will still deploy the reserve even though the other riser is still attached.
One solution to this is a double-sided RSL, like the Racer has. This has some problems, the most glaring one being that under certain two-canopy out situations the RSL can strangle the reserve as it leaves. Also, for camera flyers, that big loop of webbing has to clear your camera helmet, and that's an iffy proposition.
A second solution, used by at least one foreign-manufactured student rig, is use a 2-pin reserve and have one RSL going from each riser to each pin. Pulling one pin will cause the reserve PC to "cock out" a bit, but the reserve will not deploy until both risers leave.
A third solution is the Collins Lanyard. It can be thought of as two RSL's attached to the same riser. One opens the reserve like always. The second one is looped around the release cable to the opposite riser, so if the first riser leaves, the second one is released shortly thereafter. Thus a broken riser results in a breakaway and reserve deployment. The lanyard can connect to either one or both of the cutaway cables, depending on routing issues. Lengths are generally chosen so the other riser releases before the reserve is deployed.
It's a pretty elegant solution, and Vector tandems now require this lanyard. There was an incident around July 1999 where a Collins Lanyard worked as advertised and prevented a premature reserve deployment after a broken riser. The only drawback I see is that it's yet _another_ thing to maintain, check and assemble into a rig.
-bill von

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Thanks bill. The issue of broken/failed risers hasn't gotten much attention in the latest RSL threads. They seem to be more of an issue on tandem rigs, but it does happen on sport rigs, even after the industry went to _reinforced_ TY-17 mini-risers. The Collins Lanyard is simple, effective and inexpensive, but as you pointed out, it is one more thing and many of us already seem overloaded with with what we have now. Thanks again for sharing.
alan

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Another possible problem with a double-sided RSL is that it might catch under the back of a helmet. Then the poor skydiver is suspended from his malfunctioning main. There have been a few cases of this happening on Racers or rigs that copied the Racer style of RSL.
If this scenario bothers you, then go with Parachutes de France's double-sided LOR system with two separate lanyards and two pins.

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