This skydiver had line twists on a high performance canopy, followed by a cutaway and more line twists on his reserve canopy. Not fun!
There’s some debate about whether or not line twists are considered a malfunction, so what do you think: do you consider this incident to be a “double malfunction” or do you consider line twists to be a nuisance rather than an actual malfunction?
Why did it happen?
The initial line twists were of an indeterminable cause, the body position looks decent but it’s hard to tell. On a high performance canopy the tiniest bit of body position, a weak pilot chute throw, or even a worn out pilot chute, can cause a problem. Or a possible packing error! Who knows?!
The real focus of this video is the line twists that the jumper found himself in under reserve. He noted in his submission that, despite jumping without an RSL or Skyhook, he didn’t take his time to get stable before pulling reserve. He’s pretty sure that’s what caused the line twists under his reserve.
What could have prevented it?
In their submission this jumper was the first to admit that their emergency procedures had been so hard wired that they couldn’t help but cutaway and then immediately pull their reserve handle despite having plenty of altitude to take a moment and get stable again. Taking a moment to regain stability could have potentially prevented the twists under reserve.
As for his difficulties clearing the line twists, we see this jumper ultimately reached up, tried to even out his risers to stop the dive, tried to bring them together, got the twists further down, and got out of them… but it took him a minute before he took those steps. Doing so a bit earlier would have likely helped get the line twists out faster.
On regaining stability
While this jumper had plenty of altitude to regain stability, jumpers should never sacrifice a safe amount of altitude in order to do so. Getting too low and deploying at an unsafe altitude is potentially far more dangerous than deploying unstable. In recent years multiple fatalities have occured due to jumpers cutting away too low and not getting their reserve over their head in time.
On fighting line twists
While this jumper attempted to fight his line twists, he stuck his hand between his lines in what appears to be an effort at stopping further twists. This is a very easy way to catch one’s hand in a high friction, high pressure, situation that could result in serious injury. Jumpers should be careful to not place their hands between lines that are spinning up.
On the initial line twists
This jumper willingly admitted he could have probably gotten out of this malfunction but decided to chop. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s almost never the wrong decision to get rid of a canopy that isn’t flyable as you hit your decision altitude.