Gear wisdom: 3-rings

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In this fourth article in the series, Rezzan takes a look at maintenance for the 3 Ring-System

Did anyone know that this very small but very important 3-ring-system requires maintenance. I am not kidding!

The 3 ring-system is a skydiving safety device invented by Bill Booth in the mid 1970s. When we have a malfunction and need to cut away, the cutaway handle is pulled and the cable slides to release the riser’s locking loop. This allows the small ring to release from the medium ring and then the medium ring to release from the big ring. Then you will fall away from the bad parachute that is attached to the risers!

So, due to all this heavy loading, it is important that 3 rings are worked from time to time, especially during winter.

Examples of 3-ring Systems

Regular Maintenance

Manufacturers recommend regular maintenance of the 3 ring-system. How do we do it? There is a video at the end of this article, below is a description…

  • First, you need to disconnect the risers from the harness. To do that, remove your cutaway cable! …WAIT!!!…
  • Do not remove your cutaway cable before you remove the RSL attachment! You do not want to activate the reserve opening, we are just doing regular maintenance.
  • Now, check the Velcro attachment for the cutaway handle is in good shape, still sticky, not worn away. It holds the handle. And do make sure none of the hooks are touching any of the harness webbing.
  • If you have a silicone spray, it will be good to clean your cutaway cable with it now; if not, you can just clean it with a soft towel. Your rigger will clean the cables with silicone during the reserve repack.
  • Have a look at your rings and make sure there is no dust, mud, or rust, it won’t hurt to clean them with a towel.
  • One riser at a time, twist webbing on each ring that goes through. Why do we need to do this? To remove any set or deformation on the webbing. Why? So, the ring on the 3 ring-system works smoothly.
  • The locking loop, the white material that attaches the risers to the harness, do the same as you did on the risers, pull, flex, and look that it is still intact.
  • Going back to the cutaway cable, look at the top ends of the cable to make sure they are smooth. If there is any sharpness, please ask your rigger to have a look!
  • One more part to have a look is the 3-ring release housing, make sure there is no sharpness and it is not bent.

Examples of 3-ring Issues

Below are some real problems found on rig maintenance. All of these 3-rings are unsafe to jump and require replacing or renewing.

Some photos from USPA’s Safety Post here about the importance of checking all components of the parachute system on a routine basis

Now, it is time to put back the cutaway cable. Please make sure you do not put the cable back twisted, and most importantly you go through the RSL attachment loop! If you are not sure what it is and/or don’t know how to, please get qualified help!

Make sure you attach the risers in the correct way. It’s always best to open your canopy and do your line check while attaching each riser.

Lastly, make sure you attach your RSL back to the riser.

Reassembling the 3-ring system

Now, you can pack your canopy and feel better about knowing how to disassemble and assemble your rig!

PS If you are not sure at any time about this maintenance, please ask a rigger! I quite often teach skydivers via facetime, I am sure your rigger could help you like that too.

Video: 3-ring Maintenance

Words and most photos by Rezzan Aral Shiel

Gear Wisdom Articles


All by Rezzan Aral Shiel, our lovely friendly rigger

Coming Soon

  • Steering Lines
  • New Line Set – is it time?
  • Reserve & Main canopy – what are the differences?
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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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