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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. riggerrob

    When to Cut Away?

    A complete malfunction (aka. total malfunction) means nothing came out of your main container (not even a pilot-chute), then your back is clear to pull only your reserve ripcord. Most other malfunctions are 'partial malfunctions' with enough (of your main chute) out to interfere with reserve deployment. Partial malfunctions range from a pilot-chute in tow all the way to a madly spinning main. Because most partial malfunctions spin, they are at great risk of entangling with your (partially deployed) main. When you suffer a partial malfunction, your best option is pulling your cutaway handle, closely followed by your reserve ripcord. P.S. Malfunction questions are best answered by a local instructor.
  2. riggerrob


    Your local rigger MIGHT be able to squeeze in a Raven 218, but all his/her profanity will hurt your delicate ears! OTOH if you value your local rigger, you will buy a low pack volume reserve like a PD Optimum 218 or an LPV Smart 220.
  3. riggerrob

    Inspect your cables people!

    A recent tandem fatality - in Poland - reminds us of an old problem: cracked plastic coatings on flex cables. Flex cables are often installed on tandems or student gear to reduce the risk of main pins releasing prematurely. Flex pins are made of stout steel cables coated with low friction plastic: nylon, Teflon, etc. Preliminary reports say that the plastic coating stripped off the flex pin that holds the main container closed. That small scrap of plastic jammed the main container closed. The TI tried unsuccessfully to release the drogue, then pulled his reserve ripcord. Sadly, his reserve entangled with his drogue. Cracked flex pins are not a new problem. After problems a decade ago, all three big American tandem manufacturers (Racer, Strong and Vector) reminded users to inspect flex pins every 25 jumps and replace them before 1,000 jumps. Something as important as main closing pins reserves multiple inspections. Professional DZOs always keep a few spare flex pins near the packing area. Rigger's inspect flex pins during every 25-jump inspection. Professional packers replace flex pins at the first sign of cracking. Professional TIs inspect flex pins before every jump. Before solo jumpers get complacent, remember the solo jumper who thundered in last year after he stripped the red Teflon costing from a Racer cutaway cable. That scrap of Teflon jammed a main riser, preventing him from releasing a malfunctioned main. He died. The Racer factory responded by introducing cutaway cables coated with more durable ORANGE Teflon.
  4. riggerrob

    Looking after your 3 rings

    Then maybe you ought to read more carefully. ***....... I'm not convinced that there ever was a good reason for a daily habit of spinning the rings, ...... S49 .................................................................................... A long time ago, a basement rigger made 3-Ring risers with rings that were too soft. Those rings were softer than the MIL SPEC rings used by major manufacturers. Hard opengings bent soft rings into ovals or egg shapes. Spinning rings revealed rings that were "out of round." That was the original logic behind spinning rings. Like many senior jumpers (almost 40 years since my first jump) I tire of seeing junior jumpers being taught the same superstitious dogma (do this or you will die a dishonourable death) about old habits. Some of those habits are based on gear that is no longer in service. For example, I still gently coil AAD cables becaus Cypres 1 cables cracked easily. I am still gentle - with cables - even though Cypres 1 have all retired.
  5. riggerrob

    New student questions(General)

    Sounds like an awkward attempt at humour by your radio instructor. Please ask him/her to clarify. Typical newbie confusion that is best answered by local instructors. Flying over a runway below 1,000 feet risks colliding with an airplane. Avoid getting downwind of the target with obstacles between you and the target. By obstacles, I mean things that will hurt you if you land on them: forests, open water, fences, telephone wires, railroad tracks, buildings, etc. Runways present low risk of injury, but high risk of being run over by an airplane. Other jumpers flying a mixture of left-hand and right-hand patterns confuses everybody. Multiple different landing patterns only works if no-one crosses the wind-line .... er ..... centreline ...... which is why most DZs establish default landing patterns. For example, at Pitt Meadows, when winds are light and variable, everyone flies a right-hand pattern and lands to the west.
  6. riggerrob

    Swift Reserve Packing Instructions

    5-cell Swifts (serial number R3-????) were only affected by the rib Service Bulletin. Updated canopies have a special stamp on the Center tail. As for packing ...... yes, the original steering lines are such a nuisance that I always have to glance at the manual. As for flat versus pro-packing .... leave the nose exposed and follow the container manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Try applying "creative groping." This means patting (flat hand) your thigh too low and sliding your hand up to the handle. Alternately, lay your hand flat on the harness and slide it down until you feel the handle. Practice "creative groping" several times on the ground - with your instructor" before your next jump. "Creative groping" is asked to teach with handles mounted on the bottom of the container. As for your nerves and (too) narrow focus .... those will relax as you gain more experience. Tunnel time helps because you can practice without "time pressure."
  8. Installing a canopy one size (15 square feet) larger or smaller usually fits fine. The next smaller size will be slightly easier to pack. You might need to shorten your closing loop to maintain sufficient tension on your pin. OTOH The next larger size of canopy will be more work to pack and will probably need a longer closing loop. Hint: if you can pick up the entire rig - with the bridle - your closing loop is too short! Hah! Hah! If you get silly by trying to install a canopy two (30 square feet) or three (45 square feet) too big you are asking for troubled: slow pack jobs, sore hands, cursing packers, grommets pulling loose, cracked stiffeners, etc.
  9. riggerrob

    I really cant pack parachute

    Have you tried "vampire packing" while hanging from the ceiling?
  10. riggerrob

    Single Side Racer RSL Pics.

    Your comments relate to Bill Booth'stheory of risk homeostasis. Once an invention "solves" a malfunction mode, skydivers use that new "safety feature" as an excuse to take greater risks (e.g. deploying mains lower). The flip side is that old malfunctions quickly fade from "common knowledge". Part of the problem is that young skydivers never hear about the old malfunction. For example, USPA popularized seat-belts for skydivers after a couple of fatal crashes in 1992. But locally, lack of seatbelts injured everyone onboard when a King Air crashed 9 years ago. Even though the wreckage still lurks on the edge of the boarding area, current skydiving instructors avoid talking about it for fear of scaring young jumpers. Ergo, young jumpers don't wear seat-belts because they are not fashionable.
  11. riggerrob

    I really cant pack parachute

    .............. Skyhook really likes disengaging for no obvious reason... Does anyone have any stats on that? I've heard anecdotal numbers that it disengages when it shouldn't .... ............................................................ We have much less data on other types of MARDs: pin (Strong Boost) or trap (Mirage). Too little data to reach conclusions. Let's wait 5 years, until we have sufficient data for comparisons.
  12. Some courts order the loser to pay all court costs. In my case, a Crown Attorney (defence) stammered "We are okay with Mr. Dause's maintenance program." [after his plane crashed]. Lawyers for the prosecution requested an adjournment because they were not prepared for this change in pleas. The judge reminded CA that they would have to pay any additional court costs caused by the adjournment. The delay lasted 15 months. I am not sure which was worse: the lengthy delay or starving for 15 months??????????
  13. .......... I don't understand why some riggers struggle with them - to me at least they are easier and more intuitive than other rigs ........ ------------------------------------------------------------------- "Intuitive" varies from one person to the next. What is "intuitive" to one rigger totally baffles the next rigger because he cannot relate it to an earlier skill. Relating to an earlier skill is important because most sport jumpers only learn one packing method and that is sufficient as long as they only ever jump one style of gear. Only Master Riggers need to learn three or more ways to do the same job. As a young rigger, I learned all 4 different methods of packing Pop-Tops. Initially, I struggled to route pull-up cords through all 8 grommets, then back down again. Steel T-bodkins simplified routing pull-up cords. I broke a quick-disconnect steel T-bodkin the first time I used it! Grrrrrrr! Hated searching for a sharp piece of steel mixed in with the reserve canopy! Grrrrr! Then Racer introduced free-bags. I tried the factory method of tying a pair of steel T-bodkins together ...... Once ...... Then reverted to a pair of locking pull-up cords (ala. Vector). When Cypres hit the market during the early 1990s, I experimented briefly with skinny, steel T-bodkins made from mattress needles. Them I struggled with soft bodkins plus steel bodkins. Too many tools to count. A German rigger (Frank Carrera?) suggested Ghost Loops. I tied up my own Ghost Loops with metal rings on the bottom. Eventually I tied my pair of Ghost Loops together and finger-trapped pull-up cords to them. That reduced a bewildering array of bodkins and cords to one tool. BING! A light came on and for the first time packing Pop-Tops made sense. Ghost Loops make sense because they allow me to use old, familiar skills (Vector or Javelin) for 3/4 of the pack job. Metal rings allow me to use plenty of muscle to pull up and secure side flaps with temporary pins. Then the only Racer-specific skills revolve around the pilot-chute. A few years later the Racer factory sent me a handful of Ghosr Loops and I wondered why they had no hard lumps on the bottom end. Over the last 33 years I have tried a wide range of Racer packing methods and tools, but for the last decade have only used Ghost Loops (with metal rings on the bottom). If a young rigger asks me to teach him/her how to close Pop-Tops, I will only teach him/her how to tie his/own Ghost Loops and the finer points of threading them through all 14 grommets.
  14. riggerrob

    Reserve packing cycle per country

    ........ I may as well add "180 days in Canada". ------------------------------------------------------------------------- In practice, this becomes an annual inspection, since most Canadian DZs are only open 5 to 7 months out of the year. From a rigger's perspective, this becomes the "mad rush the week before the Kamloops May Meet," or the " mad week before the Christmas Boogie" or the "mad week before the Reno Air Races." Last week, I rushed to prepare 5 tandem rigs for a local DZ. This past week I rush repacked enough sport reserves in time to the Kamloops May Meet. Today I am rushing to complete harness repairs on the local DZ's last tandem and then there is the line kit that only arrived on Friday ......
  15. A lesson worth repeating for each new generation of jumpers. Back in 1992, American skydivers learned bloody lessons after a pair of fatal crashes (Perris Valley, California and Hinkley, Illinois) Bless their hearts, because USPA changed attitudes over the winter (of 1992-1993) by making seat-belts fashionable. Fast forward (16 years) to 2008 when I was injured during an engine-out forced landing. During lengthy court proceedings, a lawyer stated: "There is no evidence to support the notion that seat-belts save lives." I promptly found accounts of 18 jump-plane crashes (between December 2014 and the fall of 2016). Only one of those crashes was fatal. Annette O'Neil published those findings (on dropzone.com last year). Damage was minimized by well-trained pilots and most jumpers wearing seat-belts. The other change was the recent proliferation of cameras provided in-cabin footage during several crashes, confirming that belts reduced flail arcs. Bottom line: ever new generation needs to learn the same lessons, which is why magazines - like 'Parachutist' - repeat articles on a 3 or 4 year cycle. Junior jumpers can read about bloody mistakes made by their predecessors .... or they can learn the hard way .......
  16. riggerrob

    Breathing In Skydiving

    Reminds me of a demo jump. I. had about 300 jumps when we landed at a local baseball diamond. The baseball diamond was only a mile - or so - from the DZ. As I walked off the diamond, a local boy asked me: "How do you breath in freefall?" I responded: "Sometimes through my mouth, but usually through my nose." Hah! Hah! I had never thought about his question until I had 300 jumps! Hah! Hah! OTOH When I get nervous or am performing a difficult task for the first time, I have a bad habit of holding my breath which increases stress and decreases oxygen flow to my brain.
  17. riggerrob

    Single Side Racer RSL Pics.

    ****** ...... The cross connected RSL offers absolutely no advantages at all, only disadvantages. ....... ------------------------------------------------------------------ Many trips to hell start with good intentions. The original motivation for cross-connector RSLs was to require both main risers to disappear before the reserve container opened .... reducing the risk of two-out entanglements. Cross-connectors were standard on many early (1980s) student piggyback containers (e.g. Else-Flyer). Unfortunately, cross-connectors can increase the risk of other types of entanglements: helmets, cameras or reserves. Several other manufacturers have invented several other solutions: French L.O.R. and UPT's Collins Lanyard. Parachutes de France's L.O.R. system uses two RSLs, two curved pins and two closing loops to ensure that both main risers are gone before the reserve container opens. A decade after the Collins Lanyard was introduced a clumsy tandem instructor deployed his main low and learned (the bloody way) about a disadvantage with Collins Lanyards. Cross-connectors were an early, crude attempt at preventing a malfunction mode. L.O.R. was a better way. Collins Lantard is even better, but we are still searching for the perfect RSL.
  18. riggerrob

    Single Side Racer RSL Pics.

    Hesitator loops are most relevant with heavy reserve canopies. Back when (up until the mid-1980s) heavy military-surplus and Lopo round reserves were fashionable, most containers included hesitated/staging loops made of bungee cord. Their objective was to prevent the reserve canopy from falling off your back until the pilot-chute was definitely pulling. Hesitater loops fell out of fashion as reserves got lighter and lighter, containers got tighter and tighter and we depended more and more on friction (between bag and container to stage openings. However tandem reserves remained huge and heavy and we eventually found out (the bloody way) that heavy reserves could cutaway one side of a main canopy ... via a Collins lanyard. UPT's fix is to install bungee hesitater/staging loops in their larger student and tandem containers.
  19. riggerrob

    Bungee pilot chute

    Hunger collapsible pilot-chutes were briefly popular during the 1990s when jumpers started exceeding wing-loadings of 1 pound per square foot. Heavier wing-loadings eventually rendered bungees obsolete. Bungee are still okay provided you: stay within that narrow wing-loading range, avoid hop-and-pops and calibrate them every few hundred jumps. Back during the 1990s, I sewed bungee cords into hundreds of pilot-chutes and even jumped one for a decade or so, but by the time I routinely jumped canopies loaded at 1.5 pounds per square foot, my old bungee pilot-chute word out and I replaced it with a kill-line pilot-chute. If the pilot-chute fabric has become too porous, just buy a replacement.
  20. riggerrob

    Student canopies

    Over the years I have dropped (S/L, IAD and AFF) students with a bewildering array of main canopies: military-surplus rounds, Para-Commanders, big (300?) docile CAS canopies, DC-5s, Mantas, Skymasters, Lasers, Navigators, Solos, etc. I have also jumped most of those canopies. Mantas are the industry standard for student canopies. Mantas are available with all F-111, hybrid (half F-111 with ZP top skin) or all ZP. Unless students exceed 200 pounds (90 kg) all ZP Mantas take forever to land, so we only hang the heaviest students under all ZP Mantas. All ZP Mantas are also slow to pack. Fortunately, these days most student and tandem mains are hybrids with ZP top skins and the rest F-111 which makes for quick packing and consistent flares. I was most impressed with Solos. During my first jump on a Solo 270, I enjoyed the opening and turns but was most impressed with the flare! That Solo 270 "hovered" for a couple of seconds before setting me down softly. When packed neatly, Solos open neatly. In conclusion, if I were buying canopies for a school, I would recommend 9-cells in the 230 to 300 square foot range with ZP top skins, but the rest F-111. For suspension lines, I recommend a zero-stretch line like Spectra or Vectran. All of the major manufacturers make decent student canopies these days, so test jump and shop around (major dealers) to determine which will sell at the best price. Finally, when debating price versus quality, always go with quality because you will only regret buying better gear once.
  21. riggerrob

    Breathing In Skydiving

    Seriously, if your mouth hangs open, it will scoop too much air. In freefall, it is easier to breath through your nostrils. Consciously controlling your breathing helps control fear because the average human can focus on breathing of fear, but not both at the same time. Breathing out helps you relax. Relaxed skydivers fall smoother, see more, etc. For example, some Canadian schools teach freefall students to breath consciously during exit. Conscious, mindful breathing also helps Accompanied Freefall Instructors time their exits. Students start by lining up in the door. They gaze lovingly at the propeller. As they breath out, they swing out. As they breath in, they swing in. As they breath out they swing out of the airplane. Swings do not need to be huge, as long as other team-members /instructors can clearly see the breathing cycle. Breathing also helps regulate a medium-speed place for the exit count. Finally conscious breathing does not require learning a fancy new set of words/lip movements. Similarly, on final approach (to landing) I often hear myself mumbling through a checklist that includes breathing through my nostrils.
  22. Been there. Done that. Dislocated my shoulder. Dislocated my knee. A judge recently concluded: seat belts might have reduced injuries.
  23. riggerrob

    New repack card

    Yeah! Whatever psiifish said. Save the old card and staple it to the new card. If you worry about losing or washing your reserve card, save a photo-copy. If you are selling gear, follow tradition by sending the card with the reserve canopy and a photo-copy with the container.
  24. riggerrob

    Rapid Transit System (1980s)

    There was a bewildering array of experimentation during the 1970s. Back around 1980, we had not standardized on cutaway right and open reserve with left handles. Eventually we standardized on the current: right hand open main, right hand cutaway and left hand open reserve. I simplify this for students by telling them to work along a diagonal line: starting at thier right hip, then diagonally up to their left shoulder. The Australian Parachute Federation has a tradition of starting every accident report with: "The deceased was wearing borrowed gear." Standardizing handles has reduced the number or car accidents, motorcycle accidents, airplane accidents, parachute accidents, computer accidents, etc. I have only sewn a handful of left-handed BOCs and they were all for guys who never regained full-mobility after injuring their right shoulders. The first customer's right arm got shot up in Viet Nam.
  25. riggerrob

    I really cant pack parachute

    ------------------------------------------------------------- Yes! Even if you only learn how to psycho-roll the canopy, it is way easier to "bag." When you roll a canopy, you reduce it to a single "log"'with only one outer surface: center cell. The single outer layer of fabric helps prevent all the rest of the fabric from sliding sideways. As for practicing on your own??????? I have mixed emotions about solo practice. Your first few practice pack jobs should be done under the direct supervision of a coach or rigger. THEN go practice at home. Next Saturday, ask the same coach to watch your first pack job of the weekend. I also helps to do the same step a dozen times to burn it into longer term memory. Finally, learn to match your packing pace to the pace of the canopy. Because it is difficult to squeeze air out of new canopies, you can jump up and down and scream at it for 5 minutes, or you can lay on it quietly for 5 minutes. Either way, it will take 5 minutes to squeeze the air out. Once you have squeezed the air out, clamp the canopy with a knee and move onto the next step. By clamping the (partially folded) canopy, you prevent ai from sneaking back in.