Friday Freakout: Wingsuiter Has Pilot Chute In Tow, Caused by Bridle Knot

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This wingsuiter had a pilot chute in tow for 8 seconds, which can feel like an eternity in the sky. Due to a weak throw at deployment, the pilot chute got caught in his burble and the bridle created a knot, which prevented the pilot chute from inflating and extracting the deployment bag. The jumper looked over his shoulder, saw that the pilot chute was not inflating, and decided that he had enough altitude to lift the deployment bag out of his container. His main inflated and he landed without any further issues.

With a video like this, one thought that instantly pops into our minds is whether the pilot chute was properly cocked during the pack job, but this jumper is confident he recalls properly cocking his pilot chute.

Why did it happen

Poor Deployment

The jumper was the first to note that he did not fly his legs through the deployment and his body position was less than ideal, creating a burble in which his pilot chute could get caught. He also noted that his weak throw of the pilot chute played a role in allowing it to get sucked into the aforementioned burble.

“It” happens

The way the bridle looped itself around the pilot chute and tied itself in a knot is one of those random unforeseeables that happen in skydiving.

How could it be prevented

Any one (of many) things

This is an example of the truism regarding how malfunctions typically occur due to more than one issue. If  this jumper had better body position on deployment, he may have not created a burble for the PC to get caught in. If he had a stronger throw of the PC, it may have never been sucked into the burble in the first place. Either one of those could have prevented this incident.

Additional Notes

Emergency Procedures (EPs)

This jumper noted that the textbook answer in this situation would have been to go straight to his emergency procedures. He explained that he didn’t go straight to that option because he was confident that he still had altitude to spare and wanted to try one time to get the d-bag out. He explained that he was concerned over a possible two-out with a possible main/reserve entanglement.

Cocking the Pilot Chute

This jumper says he had very specific recollection of cocking his pilot chute properly. Had he not been confident about that, it would have certainly been another possible cause for this incident.

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