Thank you for the replies, and apologies for my tardiness.
I still have strong memories of pulling the cutaway first. I can see why some training advises cutting away with both hands and then pulling reserve handle with both hands. I was taught to look and locate both and then cut away with right hand followed by pulling the reserve handle with the left. I remember after locating both I paused for at least a couple of seconds as I was concerned that I may have moved to emergency procedures too quickly as time gets distorted when in an emergency situation. I also remember thinking I hope the cutaway Velcro comes away easily and it did.
I think the main parachute was still in the container, I remained in belly to earth freefall during the emergency procedures and if the main parachute is not out I now assume the RSL won’t do its job. I never got a chance to look at the gear, so I don’t know what the reserve cable was like. The kink in the cable sounds a reliable positive indicator of a RSL-initiated reserve deployment but can have false negatives. I think it was a pilot chute in tow and realize there are multiple possible reasons, such the chute being stuck in my burble…..sometimes I think I may have “Lazy Throw” put on my tombstone, as a summary of my lifeJ.
I have also been advised that a too-tight closing loupe could have made the pin difficult to extract, or the bridle may have wrapped around the pilot chute and prevented it from inflating. I am pretty sure the pilot chute was cocked, as it is checked about four times before the jump. The packer, myself, a jumper on the ground and a more experienced skydiver in the plane. I wish I had waited longer before going to emergency procedures as I deployed at 5000-5500 feet so had plenty of time to ‘relax’ before moving to emergency procedures. Being spun on my back, seeing lines unravel from my foot and seeing a fouled reserve open above my head were almost simultaneous, so there is a good likelihood they did come out together. I did talk to a club coach, but he only talked about the poor throw and burble, which I thought was a little unfair. As the gear was hired and packed, I feel that there can be a lack of openness about the many possibilities due to legal considerations, although laying blame is not my intention. The safety officer for the Australian Parachute Association was more forthcoming with possibilities.
Regarding the trauma, I started back work a few weeks ago, and although I will be left with residual issues, the experience has been amazing. Seeing possible death, a short period of experiencing pain that makes death nothing to fear and a blessing, the humility of needing your arse wiped and the pleasure of short-term gains in recovery. Finally, the relationships with hospital staff and patients were inspiring, of the latter, some were facing hardships much worse than mine, and they weren’t indulging in risky sports.
Thanks, I now know the RSL is very fast and beats the handles if they are pulled in the correct order. I also think the main was still in the container, so the reserve handle activation was necessary.
That article was fascinating. I think I did sink to the level of my training as I had no idea what to do with my malfunction. Once I had tried to flare a few times, I did not think to use riser inputs to try and correct the spin. The safety officer who saw a video of the descent advised me I would have probably stalled the canopy, so maybe ignorance was bliss. As Pchapman had intimated earlier, an interaction between the main and reserve may have occurred. Reading the tension knot article, it seems that this may have caused asymmetric canopy expansion/inflation and line disorganization. A theory of twisted break lines as a culprit appears to not be substantiated by the research.
RolandForbes J I could have easily died, but there is much worse than death. I don’t think my marriage would have survived paraplegia, and although I give full credit to those who can, I don’t think I would have hung around with quadriplegia. Interestingly, the suicide rates for quadriplegia plummet compared to paraplegia, there are obvious reasons why. I had a few cracks in the cervical vertebrae and have 2 numb fingertips to remind me how bad it could have been.
I appreciate all the responses and just want to lastly talk about what I did do under canopy and get opinions if you are not sick of me by now. My spiralling descent rate was fast, and my novice mind only thought to pull down with weight on the back risers to try and reduce the descent rate. I think it worked, but put me in a flatter spin, so I hit the ground side on. There were no compression injuries; the minor neck damage was an extension injury. I was hoping for an opinion on this and whether I made any difference. A very experienced skydiver named Boags was under canopy and filmed my descent. He landed off the dropzone and got to me within 23 seconds of hitting the ground. I have enclosed his video for any opinions.