An online skydiving logbook

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.

1 comment:

Harry said...

would it have worked in freefall though, with increased airspeed? or was the problem that NO part of the pilot chute came out?

not sure if you're familiar with UK teardrop / viper rigs, the reserve pc sits on top of everything so there's no flaps to push out. there are design flaws with this too but it does eliminate problems such as the one described here!

if airtec really did issue that on the basis of creating a problem at vigil hq rather than on safety, their ethics need to be seriously questioned (for the record i use airtec AADs and up til reading that sentence of yours thought they had only best interests at heart!) ... it would seem though that my rigs are unaffected (one teardrop, one javelin) by this development.

good thing you discovered this on the ground. blue skies!