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    Skydive Hollister
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  1. The keepers were very snug but I think this student rig gets used often and I hadn't heard about any other problems recently. I don't know what the rig is. I only know the canopy size and that the reserve was really nice and felt better than the main (not just because it saved me). I do normally reach for the risers after opening, about as far as my arms will go, to correct heading. Then I release the toggles and check for control and flare. This is something I learned from Skydive Radio. Does this sound like the right thing to do? It's possible the toggle was trailing outside the riser cover during freefall but as I mentioned, this rig gets used a lot so by students with instructors that would probably know about it so I doubt it. It's just one more reason to look into my own equipment sooner...
  2. On this rig, there are elastic band toggle stows but no velcro. I watched the packer pack the rig before this jump. He asked me to stow the toggles in the field if I have time before daisy chaining the lines. I hadn't learned how to stow the toggles yet so I hadn't done it in the field. I think it's the packers job to at least check to toggles if not do the stowing but this was up for debate on the latest Skydive Radio. From now on I will stow the toggles but they may get bumped around on the ride back from the dropzone to the airport. (Landing zone is a few miles south of the airport in a big field.) During the packing, the packer showed me how to stow the toggles and did the left one. I copied on the right one. It was the left one that had the problem. The steering line has a hole in it about 3 feet from the toggle, Called a cat-eye or something? I'm not up on all the jargon yet so please excuse my layman's description. I pulled the toggle until the hole in the line was just past the stopper/retainer ring and then put the tip of the toggle through the hole in the line and pulled the steering line until the toggle was tight up to the retainer ring. Then I stowed the loose end of the toggle in the elastic band on the riser, then the loose line through another elastic farther down the riser. It all looked good to me and I trust the packer since I haven't learned to pack yet.
  3. Actually, I can clarify my procedure. I was taught to look at the cutaway, grab it, look at the reserve, pull the cutaway, arch, pull the reserve. I absolutely followed this procedure. By doing this, it's pretty difficult to arch very hard while looking down at the handles but you can stick your belly out. I knew I wouldn't fall far. My body position didn't change as I fell straight down for maybe 2 seconds. After I pulled the reserve handle, I looked up to help my "arch" and the canopy was already above me. By arching after pulling the cutaway and before pulling the reserve, you can help be in position in case the RSL activates which I'm sure it did before I could pull the handle. It happened quickly but I was quite calm and aware of what was going on.
  4. I was mistaken. I arched, chopped, and pulled reserve. I'm sure the RSL pulled the reserve faster than I could but it only took a second anyway and I fell feet down for that minimal time.
  5. You should definitely listen to Skydive Radio. There's a lot of great info. I learned a few things from the show which helped me on my first cutaway today, on jump 10! Check out my story here:;#4233547.
  6. I was listening to Skydive Radio episode 160 during my drive to Hollister this morning. There was a discussion about stowing toggles which is important to this story: I did jumps 9 and 10 today (jump 1 was a tandem, then 7 jumps on AFF). Since I graduated from AFF 3 weeks ago, I hadn't been back to Skydive Hollister until today. I feel like I wasn't prepared for a full solo so I did jump 9 with a coach so he could help me learn how to arrange myself on the plane, decide what skills to work on, etc. The jump was uneventful and went pretty much according to plan. When I got back, I watched the pack job since I was going to go up again soon. The packer showed me how to stow the toggles in half brake position. He stowed the left toggle, I stowed the right. This next jump was a fun jump with 2 other recent AFF graduates and a 6-way on the flight. This was really my first time to go solo but now I felt prepared. I exited stable and did turns, a back flip, and barrel rolls. Then I tracked really well for about 10-15 seconds. I was over the downwind end of the field (dropzone is a few miles south of the airport in a large field) and pulled at 5000 feet. I noticed a problem right away. The canopy dove left and right on opening but then cleared up and was flying straight. But the left toggle had fired and wove itself back and forth through the other lines, essentially holding it in a braked position. I didn't release the right toggle since it was flying straight. So I guess it was a toggle fire/tension knot but I'm still not sure what it's officially called. I was at 4500 feet and turned back toward my destination with the rear risers. I tried to get the toggle loose but didn't have any luck. I already knew at 4000 feet that I was likely going to cut away and made my decision that if I didn't clear it by 3000 that I would chop it. I tried to free the steering line and toggle but had no luck. So when I was down to 3000 feet, I took a deep breath and pulled my main cutaway handle, then the reserve handle and arched. Since it was a slow speed malfunction, there wasn't much feeling of falling again. I only fell for a second and the reserve was open. I checked the canopy for steering and it worked great. I remember listening to one of the Skydive Radio episodes about practice flaring the reserve since it handles differently so I flared it a few times and again it felt great (better than the main). I threw the handles in my jumpsuit (another tip learned from Skydive Radio). I looked back for the main canopy and saw it slowly drifting downwind. I tried to see where it was going but had to concentrate on getting back. I made my way back upwind and got all the way to the area where I would normally enter the pattern and did so at 1000 feet. I made 2 lefts, and landed so perfectly on my feet, near the target. It was my best landing yet! Everyone was concerned since they saw the main parachute floating away but they didn't know whose it was since my reserve parachute has dark colors. They should use really bright colors on reserves. Anyway, everything went great since we were trained for problems and I executed my emergency procedures flawlessly. This gave me more confidence to jump again. But I had to go search for the main and freebag which didn't take too long to locate. But the main was at the top of a tree on a steep hill across a ravine. We couldn't get it back before dark so we left it and will come back during the day. We located the freebag and retrieved it. Anyway, I'm home safe and with a great story. I'm not happy I had to have a reserve ride so early or at all but I realized that the instructors at Hollister really taught me how to identify problems and stick to my decision altitude, which helped me stay cool. I owed beer for my first solo and first cutaway. I just found out that a case has 24 beers, not 12. My bad. Can't wait to go again. Blue Skies, Toby