Friday Freakout: Skydiver’s Reserve Pilot Chute Deployed In Plane With Door Open!

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

A jumper was sitting against the controls in a small aircraft and, as they got up to exit, their reserve pilot chute deployed in the plane! They didn’t realize the situation, but another jumper grabbed the pilot chute and threw it out the door as the jumper got off the step. WOW.

Why did it happen

Snag Hazards

This skydiver wasn’t paying attention to what he was resting his rig against and did not think to check whether something on the instrument panel (pretty much a million little snag hazards) could have hooked his equipment. Consequently, he failed to realize that his reserve pilot chute was out.

Lack of Gear Checks

These jumpers were sitting in a plane approaching jump run and, at no point, did they do any sort of gear checks. They simply waited for the pilot to call “door” and started climbing out.

How could it be prevented

Situational Awareness

Anytime a jumper is leaning against something in an aircraft, their first instinct upon moving should be to check to ensure nothing was dislodged or snagged. Also, if you’re in a plane and sitting against the instrument panel, you might want to avoid rubbing against all the magic knobs and switches that keep a bunch of metal in the air 😉

Gear Checks

A few thousand feet before exit altitude, everyone should be getting up, checking their gear, checking their buddy’s gear, etc. If the group ahead of you is planning on sitting there until the red light comes on, feel free to encourage them to get off their butts.

Additional Notes

Push Out vs. Pull In

The second jumper noticed what had happened, grabbed the pilot chute and tossed it out with the jumper. Another jumper who watched this video believed the proper decision would have been to grab the jumper before they climbed out, closed the door, and flown the plane down (like this other incident). It’s hard to see if that was an option and the quick decision to make sure the pilot chute exited the aircraft cleanly was arguably a good call.

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