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Safety Tip - When assembling a set of equipment, how can you confirm that the main and reserve parachutes are compatible with the container?

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Parachute associations have established safety systems designed to prevent known incidents from being repeated. If all skydivers, riggers and instructors stick to the systems and treat them with the respect they deserve, then we can reduce the amount of incidents. The following incidents could all have been prevented if the systems had been followed.

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Home - Assembly - Equipment - Maintenance - Main Packing

Reserve Packing - Rigging - Training - Tandem


Glider Air Miss

A 4 way training dive took place on a warm summer afternoon. There were scattered clouds at around 6,000ft, otherwise, visibility was fine. At between 5,000 and 6,000ft the 4 way group narrowly missed colliding with a soaring glider; separation was estimated to be 30 meters. The glider was recorded on air to air video but was not identified. It was within 300 metres of the drop zone.


The glider should not have been there, but jumpers should be aware that gliders are not required to have radio or navigational facilities. Nearly all gliders operate under Visual Flight Rules, which means they should never enter cloud. Given this, and despite the presence of some cloud at that altitude, it is surprising that it was not seen either by DZ control or the jumpmaster.


Most jumpers will admit that they don't always look as thoroughly as they should prior to exiting the aircraft. And, it is a fact that we often see what we expect to see, and may not see what we don't expect to see. This could easily have been a multiple fatality. DZ controllers and jumpmasters must be aware of the need to make sure it really is 'clear to drop'.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Illegal Pack Job

During a routine equipment inspection, the person inspecting the documents noticed that the paperwork had no information about having a Cypres installed.


The person packing this reserve did so when it had no Cypres fitted and he was not aware that one was added later. The person who fitted the Cypres did so without doing a new reserve inspection and repack, and he never signed that he fitted the Cypres, probably hoping that every one would assume it was the reserve packer who later fitted it.


We have had similar incidents of people tampering with other peoples reserve pack jobs. Let’s remember that no one can tamper with another persons reserve repack.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

No Flight Line Check

Since the last lot of incident reports we have had a total of 3 Bridle lines miss-routed and not picked up on flight line checks, and 2 pin pull systems packed incorrectly. All five resulted in reserve rides.


These are problems that continues to occure on a regular basis, the only conclusions I can come up with is the packers are not paying attention to the pack job or the right information is not being taught to the jumpers on the rig that they now own.


This is the easiest malfunction to prevent, please check your manuals for the correct packing information and if in doubt get some advice.Also flight line checkers should be aware of these problems to prevent skydivers from getting on board with faulty kit.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Chest Strap Miss-Routed

A jumper with 250+ jumps boarded the aircraft with his chest strap misrouted which then came undone during freefall.


He was checked out by one of his friends with a similar amount of jumps who missed the problem and later said he was not aware it was his job to look for this problem as he said he had never been taught to look for a misrouted chest strap.


When training flight line checkers make sure they are properly trained and tested.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt


An experienced jumper borrowed a student rig and disconnected the RSL while they used it. They then returned the rig without re-connecting the RSL which was attached by a rapide link. The rig was then used as a student rig by three students throughout the day before a flight line checker noticed it was not connected when they inspected the fourth student who was about to use the rig. The use of an RSL is mandatory on student rigs.


During this investigation, it turned out that all three students had been checked by their instructor (three different instructors) and none of them had picked it up on their flightline check.


It's easy to blame the experienced jumper in this case but the responsibility is still on the instructors who should be looking out for this kind of problem.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Reserve Incorrectly Packed

During a flight line check, a rigger noticed that a Javelin container had been packed with the reserve pilot chute completely inside the reserve tray, when it should have been visible from the outside. The jumper who's qualified as an instructor examiner and was the CCI from a different parachute centre had been jumping it for months since his reserve repack and he hadn't noticed, nor had any previous flight line checker.


The reserve packer was not familiar with the Javelin container and packed it like it was a Talon or a Vector container. He admitted to not having a manual for the Javelin so he couldn't check the closing sequence.


It's mandatory to have the manuals to hand prior to any reserve repack, if the owner doesn't supply a manual with his rig when he hands it over for a reserve repack, then it's up to the reserve packer to make sure he has a copy before he starts work. If you're not familiar with a particular system don't pack it until you get some training. The mistake made by this rigger was such a visual one yet it wasn't picked up by the owner or the flight line checkers. Get to know your own kit and don't do a flight line check on a rig that you're not familiar with and when you do a flight line check make an effort to look for problems.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt

Aircraft and Skydiver Interaction

An alarming number of incidents and accidents have been reported in the last few weeks. Additional emphasis in safety around the aircraft may be necessary to stop the rapid increase in personal injuries and the number of property damage and claims for aircraft damage. Several of these incidents have had near fatal consequences for the jumpers involved.

Premature canopy deployments have dragged the jumpers from the strut, the step and out of the door. The importance of pre jump equipment inspection, and pin checks prior to exit can not be over emphasised. Recently, an individual with three thousand jumps experienced a premature reserve deployment with resulting aircraft damage but with no serious physical injury.

Tail strikes have occurred on occasion where the jumpers exit the aircraft while:1. The aircraft is in a climb attitude.2. The aircraft is level under full power and the jumper uses a full spread position.3. Using a Zero G exit technique. Recognising the potential for serious injury to the individual and also the high cost of repairs to the aircraft; these three exit situations should be avoided.

Canopy landings on or near the active runway have caused injury and aircraft damage. In one situation the pilot ground looped his plane during landing roll out, as he swerved to avoid a canopy which was descending onto the runway. In another situation, a pilot accidentally struck a student with the aircraft wing during landing. The student had directed the canopy to descend over the active runway landing just in front of the aircraft as it touched down. It is extremely fortunate that no one was killed.

Collisions with freefalling skydivers with aircrafts are extremely rare. Each year a number of "near miss" reports are submitted. In most cases the problems occur during the operation of several jump aircrafts at one site. Of particular interest are those situations where extra aircrafts have been brought in for a boogie or competition. Proper pilot briefings, the use of radio communications between aircraft, cooperation between pilots, manifesting and skydivers are all important. A timely reminder to all experienced jumpers as well as novice jumpers about the need for safety precautions around the aircraft may contribute to the prevention of accidents involving skydivers and jump aircrafts. However, just because an accident/incident has not occurred to date is neither a valid or rational reason for continuous disregard of safety precautions around aircrafts.

This report was written by the Australian Parachute Federation

Mid-Air Collision

A category nine jumper exited at 9,000ft in excellent conditions to practice body position and turns. She had difficulty locating her BOC toggle. She was still in freefall below 2,000ft when her body hit a deployed canopy, ripping it and causing the other jumper to cutaway and deploy his reserve parachute. The category nine jumper completed the deployment of the main canopy and both jumpers landed without injury.


The conclusion was that the category nine jumper had exited the aircraft too soon after the previous group, which meant that there was not enough horizontal separation between the jumpers. The category nine jumper started to deploy her main parachute too low and this was then compounded by fumbling for the deployment handle.


It was very fortunate that this incident never turned into an injury report or worse. Other incidents like this have resulted in a fatality. Leaving the right amount of separation before exiting the aircraft is a simple thing to do but it's also a major safety issue. Because this was a category nine jumper the responsibility to ensure that the separation was good was on the jumpmaster who failed in his duties. The jumper was not confident in her deployment and had fumbled it on previous jumps. Her instructor was not aware of this so she never received any remedial training. If you are not 100% confident with any life saving action then make sure your instructor is aware of it. Altitude awareness is always a compounding issue that makes other problems even worse, always keep altitude awareness as your highest priority and build it into your dirt dive. Even a student has no excuse for a low opening.

This report was written by Allan Hewitt


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