Gear Wisdom: Kill Line!

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Does your Kill Line need replacing?

Rezzan Aral Shiel, author, rigger and packer

Learning about gear is something missing in our skydiving progression programs


Malfunctions and poor openings can be caused by failing to look after your gear. Rigger Rezzan Shiel has written a 3-part series to help us understand when it’s time for some maintenance.

Worn Kill Line

Most skydivers are quite unaware when it comes to looking after their gear, we just assume it is all okay… until it isn’t. I believe learning about gear is something missing in our skydiving progression programs.

Jumpers usually start questioning their gear when something goes wrong with their openings or something does not feel the same in their gear, such as openings not being the same again.

  • Did you know the kill lines on collapsible pilot chutes shrink? 
  • Do you know how that happens? 
  • Do you know how often it needs to be replaced? 
  • Does it cause any problems at your opening? 
  • Or have you just had a malfunction because of it?

Recently I had an experienced jumper tell me that he had not changed his kill line since he bought his gear over five years ago, he had lots of jumps under his belt. The jumper in question needed to change his pilot chute immediately, he just didn’t know how and why that needed to be replaced.

Why does it need replacing?

Kill line can shrink from the friction/heat created each time we open our parachute, when the pilot chute collapses, and the bridle stretches. Your kill line can become short enough to prevent your pilot chute from inflating correctly, therefore it may not function 100% properly. You may start noticing hesitations on the opening, without changing your packing, you start getting lots of twists. Now would be a good time to consider that maybe your kill line has shrunk.

Cocking the pilot chute

When we are packing collapsible pilot chutes we check the window on the bridle where it shows green (sometimes blue) to tell us that the pilot chute is cocked.

How to tell if your Kill Line needs replacing

However, sometimes this window can still show green when your kill line has shrunk. How do we know if our kill line has shrunk when we are on the ground?

  1. When you cock your pilot chute, does it feel like the bridle still has more space but you run out of spectra line? Feeling like you have a longer bridle but less kill line.
  2. Is your spectra line very furry at the D-bag attachment?
  3. When you hold your non-collapsed (ie, cocked) pilot chute, do you have a slack/loose kill line in the middle or does it just go down without any slack?

If your answer is yes to any one of the above then you should get in touch with your rigger to replace your kill line.

The kill line usually needs to be replaced by 250-300 jumps.         

What does your kill line look like?

Don’t fall into the temptation of putting it off, this tiny piece of line can give you big problems that are so easily preventable.

Be SAFE!!!

Words and photos by Rezzan Aral Shiel

Coming Soon!

Next week: Pilot Chutes, when do they need replacing

Watch out for: What Size Pilot Chute, Check your BOC and When do you Need a New Line Set.

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Meet: Rezzan Aral Shiel

Rezzan Aral Shiel has been a professional packer and rigger for over 20 years. Her smiling face, impeccable organising skills, infectious laugh and calm personality make her a reassuring presence at major skydiving events worldwide. Rezzy packs brilliantly for all her athletes but is far more than a packer; she is a supportive, interested, empathic ally, who plays an important role in helping them achieve success. Rezzy rocks!

Owner/ President at Rezolutions LLC

Studied at Shaw Academy

Studied Life coaching at AVADO

Studied at Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi

Studied Technical drawing at 9 EYLUL UNIVERSITY (IZMIR-TURKEY)

Went to Karsiyaka Gazi Lisesi

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