Pin through the loop – Official UPT Response

Photo by Keith Creedy

We shared this photo on our Facebook page yesterday, which sparked a great deal of discussion and comments.  Some of them spot on, some of them incorrect or based on misunderstandings of what is going on.

Photo by Keith Creedy

Photo by Keith Creedy

The container in question is a Vector, so we contacted UPT to get some advice and tips specific to this rig straight from the manufacturer. Below is their response.

“We are happy to hear that the jumper landed uneventful after the pilot chute in tow!
Here are our observations from the photo:

The main side flap location and grommet offset is correct.
The UPT Vector 3 container is designed and constructed to have the top 2 main grommets offset. This allows a low profile and better pin protection, allows the main pin cover to close correctly, and cosmetically  the container will look as designed. The correct offset is as pictured, with the binding tapes stacked touching the edge of the grommet.

The main bridle routing is not as per current UPT recommendations
UPT recommends routing the main bridle from the bottom up. What is pictured is the alternate older routing. The change was made in an effort to reduce the risk of bridle piercing.

Closing loop tension is unknown
When packing and/or jumping the container, care must always be taken to ensure that loop tension is sufficient to not allow the main closing pin to accidentally dislodge. Proper loop length, proper canopy configuration, and attention towards storage and use, all play into this matter.

It appears that the eye of the main pin has become trapped inside the main closing loop, from one of the following hypothetical scenarios:

  • Accidentally pushing the pin too far through the main loop during closing of the container.
    This has been observed and reported on rare occasions in the past, and has generally been caught on pre-jump inspections of the gear
  • Excess bridle incorrectly routed under the main pin, causing the pin to instantly flip to a standing position during deployment which allows the main loop to slide over the eye. This is a very unlikely scenario, although possible in theory and with some practical application.

Either scenario is preventable by utilizing correct methods during packing, and performing gear checks prior to jumping.
Please refer to the Vector 3 container manual p. 60-61 for current main closing method and bridle routing for the Vector 3 container.



Skydive DeLand PAC makes emergency landing Thursday, no injuries or damage to plane


Skydive DeLand’s PAC reportedly made an emergency landing yesterday just after takeoff. Everyone is safe and sound back on the ground. We haven’t received confirmation of any details from the drop zone yet but will relay that information when it comes. We’ve updated this post with Skydive DeLand’s official statement (bottom of post).


This was less heart-pounding than Skydive Dubai’s incident earlier this week, but it’s a good reminder that a) airplanes are not magical bubbles of safety, b) you should be prepared for emergency situations from the moment you step foot in the airplane, not just when you leave it and c) love your pilot like he or she is saving your life every time you get in their vehicle (because they are!). It may be a good time to review our favorite pilot’s tips for making your pilot’s job easier: “Pissed off pilot? What your pilot may be thinking and why.


Edit 15:41 EST: Skydive DeLand has released an official statement: “Yesterday, the PAC engine lost power shortly after take-off. Mark, the pilot, made the immediate and appropriate response needed for a safe, landing with everyone in the aircraft. There is no damage to the PAC and everyone landed safely with no injuries. Kudos to our amazing pilot, Mark, for the spectacular landing and keeping everyone safe!”

Skydive Dubai Caravan crash


Skydive Dubai has released an official statement about Tuesday’s plane crash:

On 7th of July 2015 at 8am one of Skydive Dubai’s Planes Cessna Caravan plane, carrying 15 skydivers including the pilot, flying over the desert campus encountered a technical problem shortly after it had taken off. The experienced pilot however managed to land the plane safely, with all 15 passengers walking away unharmed. An official investigation is being carried out by the local authorities to source the cause of the incident and a detailed report will be shared upon the completion of the investigation.

News: Khaleej Times

Edit: Corrected news source link and we can confirm Dean Ricci (a.k.a. our columnist The Fuckin’ Pilot) was not flying at the time of this accident.

Swoop on Valkyrie 96 results in AAD fire


Canopy Pilot Matt Shull experienced first hand what it feels like to exceed AAD activation parameters on a swoop  on a recent jump in Colorado. Matt does not use an AAD on his personal gear precisely due to the risk of it activating during a swoop.
When Matt borrowed gear from a friend for a jump, he performed a gear check on pins and cables etc, but did not remember to disarm the AAD. The jump took place in Colorado.

Matt put the video below together and graciously allowed us to share it, so that other pilots may review the incident and learn from it. It provides footage from his camera and an outside one as well, capturing the turn and landing.  He also included gSwoop plots from the jump for those of you that want to dig into plots and numbers (the graph is a bit blurry, being a screen grab).  (gSwoop is a GPS tool designed to help swoopers analyze and evaluate their performance)

Matt is a highly skilled and experienced canopy pilot and a member of the U.S. Canopy Piloting Team.  On this particular jump he was jumping a Performance Designs Valkyrie 96, with standard slider (not using a removable deployment system). The AAD in the rig was a Vigil, but this has happened on units made by other manufacturers as well.

We have seen fatalities from this in the past, and AAD manufacturers responded by releasing “speed versions” of their particular units for canopy piloting use. However, as canopies keep getting smaller and faster, that may not be enough to prevent an AAD from firing. Bottom line: know your equipment, and operate within its limits. Make sure to review the parameters of your particular device and then do what you need to operate within those.  If you need to brush up on the details, visit the links below for more information and/or manuals for the most common ones.


Emergency landing by a jump plane from Skydive Canyonlands


Moab Sun News reports on their Facebook page that a plane from Skydive Canyonlands in Moab, Utah, escaped without injuries as lost power when coming in for a landing at the Canyonlands Field Airport last Saturday, June 13, 2015.  The plane landed a short distance from the airport, sustaining substantial damage.

The best news is that the pilot was unharmed. No jumpers were on board. The incident is under investigation (link to incident report).

Source: Moab Sun News