Wingsuit Progression Series
A series covering WS skydiving, from your FFC through Exits, Skydiving with Others & Safety, by Matt Gerdes & Taya Weiss...
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.
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.”
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.
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.