Visit Us

Ben Nelson highlights a problem with RSLs incorrectly stowed, well spotted!

Nicholas Lott hi-fives Ben Nelson for all his great safety tips 🙂
Image by Ben Nelson

Gear Tip

There are many reasons why experienced skydivers may choose to disconnect their RSL (Reserve Static Line) before going on a jump. Many camera flyers, CReW dogz, and XRW canopy pilots choose to jump with their RSLs not connected in order to help them not accidentally deploy their reserve prematurely should they have an entanglement resulting in a cutaway. If you want more information about rationale for disconnecting the RSL during those activities, talk to people who do those kinds of jumps and they can explain. 

At any rate, there may be a time in your skydiving career where you don’t want to remove your RSL completely for normal jumping, but you want to disconnect it for certain activities. Regardless of why you would choose to disconnect your RSL, you need to make sure that it is stowed in a way that is not going to create more problems. 

Incorrect stowing of RSL – can lead to issues with a cutaway, since the middle ring has less space to release from the large ring


I noticed a rig the other day that had the RSL disconnected from the RSL ring on the riser and stowed on the main ring on the three ring system (above photo). I would NOT recommend stowing a disconnected RSL in that manner.

What can happen:

1. While the likelihood is relatively low, there is a chance that an RSL that is being stowed on the main ring could cause issues with having a safe cutaway (See attached photo). There is no need to add that risk. 

2. The metal-on-metal contact between the RSL and main ring could cause dings and nicks to form on metal that is intended to be smooth. 

Correct stowing of RSL


What you can do:

I would recommend stowing your disconnected RSL on the hard housing of your cutaway or reserve handle cable and then giving it a little tucky-tuck behind your mud flap (above photo). This prevents it from getting in the way if you have an emergency that requires a cutaway, while also preventing it from flapping free in the wind, causing unnecessary wear and tear.  

Images and article by Ben Nelson, written for the excellent Skydive Spaceland Dallas Students and New Jumpers Facebook Page

More articles by Ben Nelson

Ben’s sharp eyes spot issues on the flightline and in the packing shed, passed on for everyone to improve safety…

Visit Us

Meet: Ben Nelson

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, with a background in Emergency Medicine and Occupational Health and Safety, Ben currently lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. He is the former DZM of Skydive Spaceland Houston and Skydive Spaceland Dallas, and former half-DZO of Skydive Awesome. With over 13,000 skydives Ben has attended, both as a participant and sometimes organizer, most of the major vertical formation world records since 2013. Ben is a former big wall rock climber, but he is currently working on pushing the limits of Extreme Relative Work (XRW). When he is not flying parachutes, you can find him flying paragliders and miniwings, SCUBA diving, or BASE jumping. Ben is the owner of Full Nelson Skydiving and Parachute Rigging Services and, in between military contracts, he currently spends his time roaming the USPA Northwest Region as an instructor and S&TA-at-large. If you want to get on Ben’s good side, he enjoys IPAs.

Contact Me

    Scroll to Top