Well... not to pick on wingsuiters… but seriously folks, it’s like they TRY to find reasons to land off! We love them though and, to be fair, despite what went down here, this jumper made it pretty close to getting back to the dropzone. At break-off, this jumper appears to slow down, flare, deploy… and there’s a tension knot! (A photo of which could be used in a textbook on what malfunctions look like.) The jumper, after some delay, realizes that he’s not going to clear it, chops, takes a second, and deploys his reserve. After some frustrated yelling, he safely lands off.
Tension knots are one of those unpredictable malfunctions that sometimes just happen. Some canopies are more prone to them, and packing errors can cause them because improperly stowed lines can catch and grab onto one another, effectively cinching down as they’re drawn taut on opening.
Also, not untwisting your brake lines can sometimes lead to tension knots; under tension, twisted-up lines can fold up, locking onto themselves or other lines. One thing a rigger who viewed this video suggested is that during that initial snivel, some of those lines may have caught on one another.
This really comes down to diligent packing procedures. Everything from making sure your lines are set down properly, your brake lines are untwisted, and you’re not throwing down your canopy and letting all that work you did flaking everything perfectly isn’t suddenly undone. At the end of the day though, sometimes it’s just bad luck, and that’s why it’s important to remember your emergency procedures.
So, this jumper was low already we think. At one point you can see the analog altimeter on his wrist, and he’s at about 2,500 feet when he unstows his brakes on his main. Then he gets that diving canopy, and then he chops, and then he takes a second before pulling reserve. That’s a lot of altitude getting burned up and, if he had an issue with his reserve, or had he not been jumping over a bunch of farmland, those altitude-eating delays could have resulted in some serious problems.