Skydive Mag

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For the Want of a Pin Check

Words by Lesley Gale

 Skydive Palatka’s plane (damaged during a round parachute event held at another airport)

“For the want of a pin-check the pin was lost,


For the want of a pin the loop was lost,


For the want of a loop the bridle was lost,


For the want of a bridle the plane was lost,


For the want of a plane the jumpers were lost,


And all for the want of a pre-flight check.”

(Adapted from Benjamin Franklin’s ‘For the Want of a Horse-shoe Nail’)

The photo, of Skydive Palatka’s plane (damaged during a round parachute event at another airport) is a telling reminder of the catastrophic damage that can be done to planes or human flesh – for lack of a pre-flight check, or a worn out piece of string! All the hi-tech safety equipment we jump with is useless if we forget to:

  • Maintain our gear in good condition
  • Have a closing loop the correct length and check its condition regularly
  • Check our gear when we put it on
  • Check our pins… have our friends check our pins… check again before exit
  • be aware of our rigs in the plane, what we may bump against, and pin check again if needed 

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“The constant reminder of gear checks and protecting handles in the plane is one of the things that absolutely cannot be taken lightly! Things can happen to even the most experienced of us in a blink of an eye. Then at best it is a visit to the hospital or at worse a memorial and ash dive. Please be safe out there, our sport is not kind to those of us who get complacent.“

Skydive Palatka

“I check my main pin, flap, bridle and hacky often… 
I do it because I spend lots of time on that step just a few feet away from the same horizontal stabilizer that will happily break me and possibly all of my friends in the plane if my pilot chute gets too close to it.“

Zach Lewis

Let's stay safe out there!

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