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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

A Cautionary Tale

Lorene alerts her friend Emma about the floating toggle&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Lorene Latour</a>
Lorene alerts her friend Emma about the floating toggle — by Lorene Latour
  • How do you know you have a good packer?
  • Should you trust packers everywhere in the world?

We all know there are lots of packers out there; some are very good and some who think they are. How would you know if they are good packers? Hmm… difficult to say.

A Cautionary Tale

Emma had a very interesting experience with packing when she went to skydiving holiday. After a jump she dropped her rig to be packed, as you do. She got her rig packed – but was it a good pack-job? Did she check her rig? If so, how?

“It is important for us to check our gear after we pick up from packers. Sure, we are unable to see how it was packed inside but you can inspect the closing loop, closing pin/reserve pin, riser flaps and riser covers.”

by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Lorene Latour</a>
by Lorene Latour
The incident left Emma with a permanent scar&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Lorene Latour</a>
The incident left Emma with a permanent scar — by Lorene Latour

Emma has a relatively new, good condition rig with a correctly-sized main and reserve canopy; nothing different or difficult about the rig. Next jump, she was enjoying her freeflying, not knowing what was happening behind her. One of her toggles was out, flapping around above her shoulder. As she realised something was wrong and broke off from the dive, the brake line wrapped around her neck, causing a rope burn and leaving her with a prominent scar. She is very lucky that it did not go around her neck and strangle her!

Video of the floating brake toggle incident (at about 50 seconds), everything was normal flying in various orientations until this point.

Moral - Check your gear!

The moral of this little disturbing story is to take care! Check your rig before each jump. Check your riser covers! If your rig has internal/side riser covers as well, make sure they are properly tucked in, not bulging out. This is for your safety and also keeps the rig in shape.

Check your rig before every jump

I am guessing Emma’s scary story was created because her toggle was not securely stowed and the internal/side riser covers were not tucked down properly. After this nightmare, she has learned to check her rig meticulously after every pack job and before every jump, especially her internal and top riser covers. She has also had additional magnets fitted into both riser covers, though this should not be necessary provided the covers are packed correctly.

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The article doesn't say whether Emma stowed her own toggles, or left it for the packer? A good packer should absolutely check, and set the brakes if necessary. But since I am the one to suffer the consequences of something going wrong, I always fully stow my toggles and uncollapse my slider on landing.

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