Friday Freakout: Parachute Bridle Wraps Around AFF Student’s Neck

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

During an AFF jump, both instructors lose their student shortly after exit and they had a difficult time getting back to the unstable student. One of the instructors reaches the student but was unable to regain control of the student’s body. At that point, the student thought he had lost both instructors so he followed his training and attempted to deploy his main canopy… but the bridle wrapped around his neck! Luckily the instructor was still holding on to the student and helped clear the bridle for the main canopy to open.

Why did it happen

Poor exit & lack of control

An experienced AFF-I and AFF-I Examiner both viewed this video and pointed out that the issues began with a poor exit. The set up in the door leaves the main-side instructor in a poor situation and initiates the chain of events. The issues are magnified when both instructors let go of the student. The main-side instructor then finds themselves unable to get down to the student while the reserve-side instructor is unable to stabilize him.

How could it be prevented

Relearning AFF-I Basics

The individuals who consulted on this video analysis believe these instructors made many fundamental errors. The exit was messy with far too much room between the main-side instructor and the student, the main-side instructor appears to have not been holding onto the student’s grippers before then being unable to get down to the student, and the reserve-side instructor could not stabilize him. These are all basic skills which an AFF-I should be capable of. Further, the release of the student by both instructors is a major error which should have not been allowed to occur.

Additional Note

The student, while admittedly unstable, did an admirable job following his training and – upon finding himself without his instructors – began attempting to stabilize and deploy his main. Notably, at the time of his deployment he did not realize an instructor had caught back up to him and was attempting to flip him.

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