An online skydiving logbook

January 11, 2009

Unsafe safety bulletin?

Everything is covered in snow, it's a completely white world. Under canopy, it all looks very different from what I'm used to, so much more beautiful. It's been more than 5 years since I had a chance to jump in the snow!. And at the same time there is an inversion, so it is not too cold up there. On the ground, it is freezing, and at 5000 ft, it is not!

3 jumps today. First one is an attempt at a 6-way with some new jumpers (3 of them have less than 100 jumps). We loose one of them in the exit. He's trying all sort of things, but he can't make it back. We continue without him, and the 5-way is quiet OK. Next are 2 2-way sitfly jumps. Grrrr backsliding grrrrr.....

My reserve needs a repack, so at the end of the day, I do my usual routine. I gear up, grab pillow, grab silver, fake-pull pillow, pull silver, and guess what: nothing happens. Yep, you read it correctly: I pull my reserve and nothing happens!!!! It is only when I step out of my harness to check what's happening, that the spring unloads and the pilot chute is free.

My rig is an Atom Legend (Parachutes de France) and in 2007 there was a safety bulletin that the placement of the AAD cutter had to be changed (same as on the Icon). You can see the new placement on the picture. Now this modification made the side flap much more rigid, and what happened was that I pulled my reserve, the container opened, the pilot chute came out for something like 10 cm, and then the spring stayed stuck behind the cutter on the left flap... Only when I moved the harness (to take it off) did the flap open completely and could a reserve deployment start... This is not acceptable.

Since this happened, I have spoken to different people who are aware of this problem. I am not the first one to encounter this. I hope something will be done ASAP.

January 3, 2009


Daniel is dead. I lost a friend and a former team mate.

He died on a base jump last monday. He was living dangerously and he knew it. He was warned about it, he sure was a lunatic, and all that. But he was also a great guy, and he was my friend. Last time we talked, he asked me to do a base with him (like he always did), and I turned down the offer (like I always did). Ciao Glou-glou, blue skies to you. Like many others, I'll miss you!

In 2008 I made 222 jumps at my home DZ. 77 of those were instruction jumps. That means I am in the top 3 on jump numbers as well as on AFF jumps. Including the couple of days I jumped in Zwartberg, that brings me on something like 90 AFF jumps. Not bad for a weekender, but I was aiming at 100. Well, I'll try again this year. 250 jumps, with a 100 AFF would be nice for 2009.

And I made my first jumps of this new year: a tracking jump, a solo sitfly, and a 2-way sit. The jumps were great. It was very cold. The beer was good.