This 59-year old jumper fell in love with skydiving after her first tandem, so she came out to get licensed! (We love hearing stories about people who get into the sport later in life!) On her first Instructor-Assisted Deployment (IAD) jump, she was a bit nervous. After taking her time getting out of the plane and setting up — nothing wrong with that! — she exited, but the instructor appears to throw the pilot chute up, and it end up clipping the tail! Thankfully, it released as her main deployed. Aside from some line twists and some missing paint on the tail of the plane, everyone was okay.
While the student's exit wasn't the best and their body position was as spread eagle as one can get — to the point of resembling a starfish — that wasn't the cause of the issue here. A slow motion viewing of the video shows the instructor releasing the pilot chute and all of their fingers are splayed out pointing at the tail. By releasing the pilot chute towards the back of the plane, they were the ones whose actions led to this incident.
The US Parachute Association Instructional Rating Manual (the "IRM") notes that IAD Instructors "must deploy the pilot chute out and down in a manner that ensures clearance from all parts of the aircraft." That didn't happen here. Effectively, this instructor looks like they almost threw the pilot chute at the tail rather than down and out. Thankfully, however, the jumper, the plane, and everyone on board was okay. We're also glad to say that, despite this rocky start, the jumper followed through with getting her license!