Dan BC’s Reserve Ride

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Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld recounts the story of his recent reserve ride, and the lessons to be learned…

Norman Kent filming Dan BC, photo by Craig O’Brien
Dan BC by Dennis Sattler

Three years ago, my right shoulder started going bad. I switched my BOC to the left side. Last June I had the shoulder operated on. It’s recovered well, feels stronger and seems to have complete range of motion. Recently my left shoulder started feeling like it was deteriorating so I switched back to the right side BOC. I did a few jumps like that and they went fine. But it was a little harder to get my hand on the BOC than it should have been. I got it every time, it only took an extra second or two, but it wasn’t as easy as it should be.

One Sunday in April during the Top Flite event, I came back to pull and couldn’t get a good grip of my handle. I took another second, reached harder, stretched my fingers out to get it but… no luck. I’m sure I could’ve gotten it, it would only take a couple seconds more… dumb idea!

I immediately went straight to my reserve. I had made the decision long ago that if this happened, I would not waste time screwing around. I did just what I had trained myself to do. My PD Optimum 126 opened beautifully over my head and I had a full reserve canopy just under 2,000 feet.

What did I learn?

  1. If I had given it just two more tries it would have taken about 5 seconds. My Vigil would have fired and I would have had two out. There is no time to be wasted with a high speed malfunction.
  2. I should have switched back to left side after one jump when it was in any way more difficult than it should have been to deploy.
  3. I’m so glad my preparation and planning paid off. I would have gotten so much crap from so many friends had my AAD fired and I had two out.


Make your plan for your Emergency Procedures and practice them. There is not time for indecision or the wrong decision.

And when you use your reserve, and it saves your life, buy your rigger dinner. Thanks Carolina Zuazo!


I switched back to the left side. Pulling is easy on the left. I’m doing serious stretching to increase the range of motion.

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Meet: Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

Dan is Manager of Skydive Perris & Author of the highly acclaimed “Above All Else” book. He was a founding member of Airspeed and a multiple 4- and 8-way World Champion, competing for more than 20 years. Dan developed a training system through Airspeed and coaching so many teams. It works. His personal and coached teams consistently performed at their best in competition and often won – three consecutive and different Women's World Champion 4way teams for instance; Synchronicity, Storm and Airkix. He has so much passion for the sport, competing at Nationals every year, organizing at World Records, and trying new areas like Crew and freeflying. As a P3 skydiving organizer, coach and motivational speaker, he is inspirational.

Dan is sponsored by Skydive Perris, Sun Path, PD, Cookie helmets and L&B altimeters.

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