Friday Freakout: Skydiver’s Line Over Malfunction + Loses Camera… But Dog Finds It

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened?

If you’re “experimenting with full openings, instead of stowing the brakes” then you can expect to have a pretty shitty parachute opening — like a line over and a cut away — which is exactly what happened to this skydiver. Not to mention losing a camera, but at least a dog found it pretty quickly once it hit the ground. Haha. Good boy!

Why did it happen?

As this jumper stated when he submitted this video, he didn’t stow his brakes and was expecting his canopy to open up into full-flight upon deployment. Unfortunately, when brakes are left unstowed, these types of incidents are possible and even somewhat likely.

What could have prevented it?

Stowed brakes

Because this jumper didn’t stow their brakes, the excess lines that are normally kept taught were loose and flapping around during the deployment process. It’s hard to see if this is exactly what happened — line overs can also be caused by packing errors, acts of god, etc. — but it’s very likely.

There are a few other reasons for stowing your brakes as well:

  • Opening into full flight, as opposed to braked flight, provides less reaction time should you open into a situation where you are flying towards another jumper.
  • Excess brake lines can interfere with the progression of the slider down your lines and can potentially cause a slider to get stuck.
  • There are also a lot of aerodynamic considerations for why your brakes are supposed to be stowed. Opening speeds and the canopy’s angle of attack are often controlled by the brake setting. There’s a reason manufacturers spend thousands of dollars figuring out the exact spot those brakes should be in for a smooth and reliable opening. Trust them 🙂

Other Thoughts

In the video the jumper intentionally unstowed his brakes, but at the office we were talking about this clip and we realized that a few of us differ in when we stow our brakes. For some, probably most, it’s the first thing we do on the ground after landing. But, for example, one person wears gloves and likes to do it once they’ve laid down their canopy to pack it because the gloves. The important takeaway is that we all agree on one thing: stowing our brakes is an integral part of our process that we do the same way every time because it should be ingrained into packing as a key step.

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