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.
Pin lodged in bridle
Note hole in bridle left by pin
Close-up of hole in bridle
Closing and routing of bridle done “new” way
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.