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pchapman

snag points - Rawa helmet - chin strap stuck on riser cover

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Someone at the DZ had an odd little snag issue yesterday. It's not about a big snag point, but is an example of how little things (including design issues) can cause problems in unexpected ways -- Murphy's Law type stuff.

So Kyle was climbing out 2nd from the 182 for an RW jump. He presumably tilted his head to the left as he ducked out the door. He gets out on the step, and finds that he can't straighten his head up; his head is somehow stuck to his rig at the shoulder.

Shannon behind him sees what's happening and decides to pull Kyle back inside to sort things out, while the outside hang jumper decides to drop off. Shannon and Kyle get back inside OK, sort things out, and jump after a go around.

I didn't look closely at the helmet but at the Rawa's left side chin strap ratcheting attachment buckle, there's a bit of stiff steel wire that sticks out just a few millimetres on the bottom of the ratchet mechanism, forming a small hook facing I think towards the jumper's chin. There's nothing to protect the end of the wire. I think it is strong spring steel, part of the spring loaded function of the ratchet mechanism. (I don't know the age of the helmet, or if anything is different on older or newer ones.)

As the jumper climbed out, that wire at the bottom of the ratchet hooked right into the fabric of the riser cover. The steel wire being quite stiff wasn't about to let go easily if the jumper tried to pull his head away from his shoulder straps, which would be anyone's natural inclination. The incident could also have happened at some other time, in freefall or under canopy.

Granted, some head shaking in different directions, despite not knowing what the hell was going on, would likely have found the right direction to unhook the wire.

Still, the RW group could well have jumped, with one guy not too happy about having his head pinned sideways to his rig!

It's a small snag point on the helmet but it's still a snag point.

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I didn't get a photo of the actual helmet involved.

But online I found the attached Rawa pic.

This is of a more recent version with a tab to quick release the chin cup. But one can still see the metal hook at the bottom of the adjuster. Seems that it might have been slightly longer on the one in the incident.

P.S. - yet the metal is very small, and hard to see even on the closeup of the chin cup area

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actually since I had an idea what to look for, I saw it right away looking at that photo. I just checked my FF3 and nothing like that exists.

Yesterday I just watched the 1st DVD from VAAST Aerial Camera with Norman Kent and he emphasized that ANY alteration or addition to our equipment has unintended consequences, even safety features. This is a perfect example of that, though I think this risk could be mitigated by the manfacturer, it doesnt take much to cause a big problem in the air. Good to hear it was noticed before it became a real problem!
"Tell ya the truth, I don't think this is a brains kind of operation."

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As for comparing helmets, I just checked the chin strap on my camera helmet -- It happens to look reasonably good, for the spring is recessed into a groove on the ratchet. The chin cup assembly is from Sky Systems.

It is starting to look like the spring design is similar on various ratchet mechanisms, but there are differences in how exposed they are. It is still a ridiculously small snag hazard compared to other things...

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Dave, yeah your right. :o I had just looked in the part where I saw it on the Rawa, where the strap goes into the chin cup.

After looking more closely I saw the metal hook but at least it is set in a recessed notch and even sits flush with the metal.

Thanks for the heads up dave

edit: pchapman, actually my ff3 looks alot like your pic as far as the "little hook" goes
"Tell ya the truth, I don't think this is a brains kind of operation."

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I didn't look closely at the helmet but at the Rawa's left side chin strap ratcheting attachment buckle, there's a bit of stiff steel wire that sticks out just a few millimetres on the bottom of the ratchet mechanism, forming a small hook facing I think towards the jumper's chin. There's nothing to protect the end of the wire. I think it is strong spring steel, part of the spring loaded function of the ratchet mechanism. (I don't know the age of the helmet, or if anything is different on older or newer ones.)

As the jumper climbed out, that wire at the bottom of the ratchet hooked right into the fabric of the riser cover. The steel wire being quite stiff wasn't about to let go easily if the jumper tried to pull his head away from his shoulder straps, which would be anyone's natural inclination. The incident could also have happened at some other time, in freefall or under canopy.



This exact thing happened to me not long after I started jumping my Rawa last year, only my incident happened upon opening, which was quite disconcerting at the time. After a few failed attempts trying to pull my head away, I managed the presence of mind to grab the harness at the shoulder, lift it up and get the slack required to free my head. In my case, I'm guessing that the spring snagged the edge of the covering over the 3D foam on my Vector 3. As soon as I was back on the ground, I covered the clips and spring with duct tape. The clips are still perfectly useable this way, but not everything is smoothed over and no snag points.

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Yes I'm bringing back a 3 year old thread.

It's about the snaggable end of a hard metal spring in the chin cup adjustment for Rawa helmets.

I just found it interesting to hear that among jumpers at the DZ where I jump, someone else (on vacation in Florida) had their Rawa chin cup snag their rig recently -- and after people got talking, 3 more local jumpers said they had had it happen in the air, and 1 more on the ground.

It's not like it has been hurting anyone directly, although it is a distraction on a jump that at worst could have further consequences. Sounds like the metal end should be covered over. (Tape, epoxy, hot glue, ?)

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Sounds like the metal end should be covered over. (Tape, epoxy, hot glue, ?)



Been jumping a Rawa camera helmet for several hundreds of jumps (FS video, TD video, FF video), never had an issue with snagging.
The sky is not the limit. The ground is.

The Society of Skydiving Ducks

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The same thing happended to me two times on exit. It really isn't a great feeling, being snagged like that.

But now I have a new problem. The chincup keeps opening on FF jumps. Anyone had the same problems? Or any idea on how to fix it?
http://www.prostipad.si

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