If you incorrectly connect your RDS on a high performance canopy (PD Valkyrie 75), you can expect to be spun around like a washing machine. This jumper attempted to pull down the whole right side to slow it down and see what the issue was, but — knowing it was eating up altitude very quickly — decided he needed to cut away. His Skyhook opened his reserve (PD-126) into several line twists that he was able to clear.
Why did it happen
This jumper noted that the spinning malfunction was the result of hooking up his RDS slider incorrectly on the left side.
How could it be prevented
This jumper noted that he should have taken an extra five seconds to check his RDS slider twice before packing his canopy. This is very good advice that every jumper on a high-performance canopy should take into consideration. ALL jumpers, however, should take their time packing, not rush, and make sure to go through every step patiently and safely.
We happen to know this DZ and this was NOT the case here, but at a lot of dropzones video staff are the most overworked individuals in the operation. They’re often trying to pack multiple canopies, while also editing film, trying to interview the next customer, use the bathroom, chug some water, and eat lunch. It can be very easy to rush a pack job and slip up on something small that becomes a much bigger issue in the air. DZO’s and DZM’s should be aware of how their videographers are doing on a busy day and ensure that they have enough time to prioritize safety. On that same note, video staff should communicate with management and tell them if they’re being forced to rush to the plane. There’s an important balance that needs to be struck that keeps the DZ and the videographers making money but also keeps everyone safe.
This jumper did a lot of things right. Most importantly, he didn’t screw around very long with a diving malfunction before deciding to chop. Because of this fast – and, in our opinion, correct – choice, he had plenty of altitude with which to address the line twists on his reserve. He also did a pretty good job keeping calm and getting the line twists undone efficiently and effectively. We see a lot of similar videos and this jumper demonstrated a lot of good decision making. Kudos.