While skydiving over the Great Pyramids of Giza (we’re humble-bragging for this guy), this wingsuiter deployed and – before even reaching line stretch – there was already a twist in the lines. After fighting it rather poorly and far too long, he finally cutaway at 1,400 feet and was in the saddle on his reserve at 900 feet!
Why did it happen
A lot of things could have resulted in these line twists but, as one highly experienced wingsuit pilot pointed out, the fact that the twists were occurring before line stretch indicates that this may be been packing related.
This pilot doesn’t really appear to have slowed down before pitching their pilot chute and that also could have contributed to this incident.
How could it be prevented
Pack for your discipline
As noted in the “Great Book of Base,” wingsuit pilots want to minimize the amount of time their “parachute spends uninflated, dancing around at line stretch. To do this, one option is to not roll the ‘tail’ (trailing edge) of your parachute so tightly around your lines. The technique of rolling the tail tightly around the lines was not developed, and should probably not be used, for wingsuit flying.” One experienced wingsuiter who viewed this video notes, “I do like 3 twists and leave a giant hole for air to get into the canopy.”
Teem doesn’t endorse any particular manufacturer, but Squirrel has a great section on their website dedicated to teaching pilots about how to safely fly their prom-dresses. (Sorry! We had to!) If you want to check out their in-depth explanation of the topic, check it out here. The short version is this: if you want to minimize deployment complications, bleed off speed before you pitch.
Way too low
Every single experienced wingsuit pilot consulted for this incident write-up had something to add to the conversation. However, without exception, each of them absolutely agreed on one point: this jumper should have chopped earlier. As noted above, he finally cutaway at 1,400 feet and was in the saddle on his reserve at 900 feet.