Friday Freakout: Tandem Skydive Has 7 Malfunctions On A Single Jump

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

Have you ever seen 7 “malfunctions” in a single tandem jump?! The person who submitted this video noted: a malfunction with the student’s goggles, a hard opening, a line over, a tension knot, spinning line twists on their back, a hard pull on their cutaway handle requiring a two-handed pull, line twists on their reserve, and a partridge in a pear tree! (Okay… maybe not that last one.)

Why did it happen

Packing error

The combination of the hard opening and the line over suggest that this was almost certainly a packing issue. An experienced tandem instructor who reviewed this video responded by stating, “100% packing… That’s a lazy pro-packed canopy with the top skin laying on the ground…” And everything that happened after that moment (except for the goggle issue) can come back to the packing-related issues on deployment.

How could it be prevented

Diligence

We’ve said it before, and until self-packing canopies become a thing, we’ll keep saying it until we’re blue in the face: packing needs to be taken seriously and attention to detail at every step is critical. Too often jumpers and packers get rushed to make a load happen or we get distracted because we’re packing while talking to our friends or flirting with that really cute tandem student. When you’re packing, focus on packing!

Gear maintenance

One rigger who viewed this video noted that a hard pull on a cutaway could suggest that the gear wasn’t being maintained at the proper level. He showed us a few photos of filthy nasty cutaway cables that have come through his loft and after viewing those snapshots we have no doubts that gear which was not properly cared for could have been a factor in the hard pull here.

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