Is your rig freefly-friendly or freefly-fearful?
How about the people you are jumping with?
I think by now we can all agree that as a sport, skydiving is as safe or unsafe as we choose it to be. Every factor that we change about the jump, for example, dropzone location, weather conditions and canopy size, causes a change in the risk factor. For me, whether I enjoy my skydive or not is generally based upon whether I calculate it as being worth the risk.
This being said, we are all guilty of occasionally bending the rules or taking that extra risk because realistically, “It’ll probably be fine.” This video may make you rethink that phrase…
This is not a new incident or something we have never seen before, but it certainly serves as a reminder of how quickly things can go wrong! Miraculously the skydiver remained uninjured, however, the premature opening in full speed resulted in a torn canopy and cutaway and a damaged container.
Then things start getting really scary when the force of the premature main opening causes a premature reserve deployment and entanglement that the skydiver somehow manages to clear. As always, we are grateful to this jumper for sharing their experience so we can all learn from their mistakes.
So then, what can we learn?
1. Freefly-Friendly is Vital
The skydiver in this video was not jumping a freefly-friendly handle on his pilot chute. Ensure your kit is freefly friendly AND well maintained. This means
- Freefly pud on your pilot chute
- Suitably tight BOC
- Correct length closing loop
- Leg strap bungees
- Strongly secured riser covers
- Well-fitted container to your body
Freefly Friendly Gear
2. Practice your EPs
Know your emergency procedures better than you know the back of your hand. Honestly, when was the last time you went through your reserve drills? You don’t want to go in with unpulled handles. Or at all. To quote the legend himself…
3. Never give up
Remarkably, despite heavily damaged equipment, the skydiver still managed to save his own life.
If you are doubting whether your rig reaches the necessary requirements, it is better to be on the cautious side; get it checked by a qualified rigger and have it fixed.
Finally, here are a few other safety aspects to think about before you go freeflying:-
Consider getting some more jumps under your belt and improving your skydiving foundations, which ultimately will help to increase your awareness and confidence before you start freeflying.
It is always advisable to get guidance from someone with more experience to help engrain good habits into your muscle memory.
Who are you jumping with? – Is their rig also freefly-friendly? Let’s look out for one another!
I would argue that two audibles are essential on every freefly jump. The reason being, it is more difficult to read a visual altimeter when you’re not on your belly and the increased speed of a freefly jump will reduce your time during your skydive. This can also mess up your altitude body clock, especially if you are used to slower freefall speeds.
We all want to look cool but no one wants a flappy T-shirt over your handles when you need to cutaway. Let me shamelessly plug my own video and demonstrate to you in song form…
PD Tip Tuesday: Tuck it in