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.



UPT Service Bulletin 2015-01: Spectra Reserve Ripcord


UPT has issued a service bulletin for rigs equipped with a Spectra Reserve Ripcord manufactured during 2014 and early 2015. Please view the bulletin attached below for information of lot numbers affected and detailed procedures for interim solutions for owners of affected rigs, until a new ripcord can be obtained.

UPT has released a video demonstrating the lubricating procedure outlined in the service bulletin, to ensure the reserve ripcord glides smoothly. This procedure should be performed before the next jump and monthly thereafter until a replacement ripcord has been installed. This can be done by the rig owner or a rigger.  The reserve does not need to be opened.


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.

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.

UPT launches new website

Our neighbors across the lawn have just reached deep into the 21st century and came back with a brand, spanking new website.
There is no denying that this is a great improvement in function over the previous one, where finding simple information was much like going on a photo scavenger hunt organized by Sandy Bobo. Pretty fun, highly competitive and you never knew what clicking a link would bring you.
The safety yellow background serves to remind us that skydiving is in fact dangerous.

Go on, mosey on over and see what you think.  Then you can follow-up with liking their Facebook page, which is also where you can leave website feedback, ask questions, tag pictures and do all that stuff we do on Facebook.