Friday Freakout: Skydiver Has Dirty Low Opening, AAD Fire & Two-Out Malfunction

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This skydiver, with around 250 jumps, was working on head-down exits and flying in different head-down styles. He was flying solo, wasn’t checking his altimeter, couldn’t hear his audible, and – as a result – opened dirty low. So low that his AAD fired and gave him a two-out, which he promptly chopped so that he could land safely on his reserve.

Why did it happen

Altitude Awareness Fail

This jumper was having a blast on this jump and that made him forget about the fact that he should keep track of his altitude. That issue, combined with the fact that he was relying on his audible, led to this incident.

How could it be prevented

Don’t rely on your audible

It’s been said a million times, but an audible is typically a back-up device and should not be relied on as a jumper’s primary altimeter. This jumper ran into issues because he wasn’t checking a visual altimeter, couldn’t hear his audible, and by – the time he used his eyes – the ground was rushing up at him.

Equipment Checks

This jumper had recently started wearing earplugs and never checked to see if he would be able to hear his audible through them at the volume settings he was using. When you make changes to your gear you should check to make sure those alterations won’t affect the usability of that equipment.

“It’s dangerous to go alone!”

A lot of dropzones get nervous about folks who start working on head-up or head-down skydiving solo and this video demonstrates one of the reasons why. In addition to not having a reference to know if you’re drifting up or down jump run, jumping solo takes away the visual cue of your buddy breaking off and letting you know that it’s time to pull.

Additional Notes

Chopping the Main Canopy

Some folks may question whether the jumper needed to chop their main but hey, he landed safely without any issues. He did what he thought he had to do to ensure a safe landing — we’re not going to play armchair quarterback here.

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