An online skydiving logbook

April 11, 2009

Good first jump

Why can't they all be as good as this? Being an AFFI would be a walk in the park:-)
(jump from last weekend)

April 6, 2009

Things more important than safety - part 1

As I described a few posts earlier, I had a problem with my reserve container: it didn't open when I pulled silver (luckily, this happened on the ground, the canopy needed a repack). The spring failed to push open the reserve-container.

I'd like to go into some detail of this. If this technical stuff is not your cup of tea, no problem, just watch my videos and read my other posts. But otherwise, read and weep...

My Atom rig (Parachutes de France) was designed for a cutter that was placed on the bottom of the container, but PdF issued a bulletin that the cutter had to be relocated above the pilot chute. Same goes for Wings and Mirage rigs. So now the cutter is placed on the lateral flap, and the extractor has to slide past it to push open the reserve container, and that's where things went wrong: the top-plateau of the extractor stayed stuck behind all the extra webbing and tape on the (now much more rigid) flap.

This modification was required by Airtec after an incident report (in Russia, if my memory is correct), about delays in reserve opening if the loop were way too long and not siliconized (2 major repack faults - in that case do not change the equipment, change the Rigger …).

I believe that this modification that creates blocking of the reserve container is far more dangerous than the problem it tries to solve.

I also believe that safety was not Airtec's prime concern, but a pretext to create problems at Vigil by imposing a set-up where the cutters with plastic inserts were easily dammed between the hard pilot chute top and the grommet (quiet a hot topic at the time, maybe you remember).

Disclaimer: I am not a rigger, I have no interest in Parachutes de France or any of their competitors. I am just a skydiver who has been around for some time, and I represent no one but myself.

In the second part of this mini-series, I'll talk about the solution that PdF proposed to this situation.

April 4, 2009


There's not enough lift capacity at our DZ. Only 1 Cessna Caravan that will take 18 skydivers. Only 1. Whenever we try to operate 2 planes, we have trouble with our local traffic control (we're in the waiting zone for the Brussels National airport). And our club already operates three DZ's. And Belgium is so full and so crowded and so over-regulated that it's virtually impossible to start a new DZ. It's gonna be a tough summer. Isn't it hard when you're spoiled rotten? Luxury problems are problems too, I guess :-)

So it was the first really-good-weather weekend of the year. I arrived on saturday around 10.00 AM, and I only made three jumps during the whole day. I want more!!!

First was a level 1. The guy, a Columbian, made a really great jump. He was really into it, doing everything as was briefed, reacting and interacting with us, enjoying himself tremendously. On landing he misplaced a foot and broke his ankle. :-{ So not that great a jump after all. Just pure and simple bad luck. I'll try to add his video one of these days.

Next a 2-way sitfly with a newbie. He was mainly blobbing around on his back, trying (and failing) to push himself up into sit. I managed to stay within a few meters of him, and to slow down enough to stay with him. Yahoo!

A level 2 next. Not a good jump (but he didn't hurt himself at landing, so maybe a good jump after all). He was nervous, but he started off well, a good exit, a bad body position, no reaction to our signs, and gradually the skydive overwhelmed him. As the dive progressed, he got worse, and at 5500 ft, there was nobody home anymore. So what's the most important thing of your dive? PULL!

All the remaining loads for the day were booked, so we had to start early on the beers.