Container Lock Compliments of Closing Pin Through Bridle

Close up

Sandy Grillet has been skydiving since roughly the days of the wooden parachute. As a matter of fact, he’s been jumping since some of you reading were in diapers! (looking at you, Nick Grillet!!)

This past weekend a wingsuiter jumping a Javelin container experienced a pilot chute in tow malfunction, as a result of his pin piercing through the bridle after he tossed the pilot chute. This locks the container up pretty solidly, so the next step was to go for the silver handle. The wingsuiter landed without an incident, thankfully. This prompted Sandy to write-up a little note to educate his fellow skydivers on an alternate method of closing containers, in order to prevent that from happening again.

Sandy was kind enough to allow us to share his note and photos with the readers of Blue Skies Mag (originally posted on his personal Facebook page).

This happened, over the weekend, to a wingsuiter on the West coast. 
The closing pin penetrated the bridle before it was extracted from the closing loop, resulting in a pilot-chute-in-tow-malfunction. This can happen to anyone who routes the bridle from the top but it is more likely in a wingsuit, due to having a lot of forward speed at bridle extension.
Everyone, please STOP routing the bridle from top to bottom over the pin. We don’t need to put Kevlar on our bridles or task the manufacturers to fix our packing problems. We simply need to use some common sense and critical thinking skills to evaluate our container closing technique and evolve ourselves out of 80’s and 90’s mentality.

Oh – and maybe 1000 jumps on one PC and bridle might be enough – don’t you think?

I’ve been trying to spread the word and slowly, but surely, I’m making headway – including the professional packers with whom I speak. The last two pictures are of my rigs showing how I’ve been routing my bridle for the past 15 years. It works on any container and with a little thought, regardless of pin/window configuration, you can make the window face up – allowing someone to pin check you without having to touch anything. If you have any reason to disagree please send me a PM and we will have a civil debate on the merits of this bridle routing method.

Please help me and others spread the word. It is my belief that – together – we can eliminate pilot-chute-in-tow-malfunctions caused by pierced bridles. 

Click on photos for a larger view. The 4 first photos are courtesy of Ed Pawlowski who met the wingsuiter in the landing area and snapped these (that container is a Javelin). The 5th and last is taken by Sandy himself, demonstrating on his personal container (Vector). 

This has been a known (albeit rare) occurrence across the disciplines – it is not something only wingsuiters have to worry about. The rigs pictured here are Vectors, but this has happened on other containers as well that utilize the same closing sequence.

More and more jumpers seem to be opting to close their containers the “new” way (which really isn’t new, this is how the Racer has always been closed). Here is a video from 2011 made by at the UPT  rigging loft, featuring Pablito closing a rig with a camera on his head. This gives a great vantage point and shows the entire closing process. If you are only interested in the pin/bridle business, skip on to the 3 minute mark. We spoke to tour rep Greg Rau to confirm that as far as UPT is concerned, this method is sanctioned and approved by the factory (instructional sheet from UPT).

We have reached out to other manufactures for their comments and input and will amend this post as we get feedback. If you have a rig made by a manufacturer we have not listed here and want to look into a closing sequence not detailed in the manual, contact the manufacturer to make sure by fixing one problem you don’t create another one!

Here another photo courtesy of Ari Perelman, showing the way he closes his Vector container (fresh from a trip to Arizona, how can you tell?!).


Photo by Ari Perelman


9/7/2014 – Update:  Click here to view an alternate closing sequence on Rigging Innovation containers.
9/8/2014 – Update: Click here to view the bulletin from Parachute Systems for the Vortex container.
9/8/2014 – Update: Click here to view a note from Velocity Sports Equipment, for the Infinity container.

Holiday Shutdown

holiday shutdownIf you were planning to stop by in DeLand during the holidays and wanted to visit one of the many local skydiving manufacturers (or your favorite magazine), check the handy list below to know when they are available – or not available.

Aerodyne Research, DeLand, FL: Closing at noon December 24th – January 1st, back on January 2nd. During that time most of the staff will be monitoring email periodically. In case of an emergency, please email

Blue Skies Magazine, DeLand, FL: closed Wednesday December 24th – Wednesday January 1st. Back in the office on the 2nd. During that time we will check email and maybe visit the office a couple of times. If you need us in person, drop us a line!

ChutingStar, DeLand, FL and Marietta, GA: Closed December 24th – 25th, otherwise open for business as normal.

Icarus USA, Pinebluff, NC: Closed December 24th – January 1st, back in office on January 2nd. The Icarus Tour will be at Skydive City, Zepyrhills, FL December 20th – 23rd and at the Sebastian Invasion December 26th – 31st with demos and good cheer.

Mirage Systems, DeLand, FL: December 24th – January 1st, back in the office on January 2nd.

Performance Designs, Inc, DeLand, FL: December 24th – January 5th. Back on January 6th. During the shutdown, you can catch the PD Tour at Skydive City (Zephyrhills, FL) and the Sebastian Invasion (Sebastian, FL).

Sun Path Products, Inc, Raeford, NC: December 20th – January 5th.

United Parachute Technologies, DeLand, FL: Closed as of noon December 19th – January 5th. Back on Monday January 6th.

Vigil America, DeLand, FL: Closed December 20th – January 5th. For immediate technical assistance during that period, contact

Want your skydiving business added to the list? Drop us an email with the dates you are closed, along with any special notices you wish to share. 

UPT Announces: Vector Festival Registration full

A little public service announcement to you from the good folks at UPT, makers of the Vector:

Please note that registration for the Vector Festival in July has reached full capacity of 400.  There will be no on site registration.  Apologies to those who have not registered who wish to attend, we hope to see you next year!


Y-Strap Mandatory on All UPT Tandem Harnesses

United Parachute Technologies has issued PSB 20132005 – Retractable Y Strap – Student Harness, making the previously optional y-strap mandatory on all UPT tandem harnesses by December 1, 2013.

COMPLIANCE DATE: The modification must be completed no later than December 1st, 2013. After that date, no tandem student harness which does not have the Y-Strap Retrofit installed is approved for use on any jump.

COMPLIANCE PROCEDURE: In an effort to reduce the financial impact on system owners, UUPT is selling the Y-Strap Retrofit components kit at its cost. The cost of a Y-Strap Retrofit components kit is
$50.00 (Part#043-001-005). It can be installed by any certificated rigger with minimal effort…

To order the Y-Strap Retrofit component kit, or if you have any questions, please contact Mike Maguire, at Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC, 1645 Lexington Avenue, Deland Florida 32724;Telephone: 386-736-7589; Fax: 386-734-7537; Email:

Download the service bulletin: PSB 20132005 – Retractable Y Strap – Student Harness 

UPT service bulletin #20121106 – Reserve Staging Loop

vectorUPT has released a new service bulletin regarding “Reserve Staging Loop” with a support washer.
If you are not a rigger, this probably sounds like a bit of latin to you – but your rigger will know exactly what to do.

Compliance status is mandatory – at next scheduled inspection/repack cycle.

You can view or download the full bulletin from the UPT website here.