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Choose Your Outcome - A Safety Day Quiz
After initially losing track of your altitude during a belly-to-earth solo skydive, you check your altimeter and see that you are passing through 1,600 feet. Your rig is equipped with a modern, electronic automatic activation device. You decide to:
Immediately deploy the main canopy.
Immediately pull the cutaway handle, then the reserve ripcord.
Immediately pull the reserve ripcord.
It takes you two seconds to reach and throw your pilot chute, so your main deployment is now really just starting at 1,250 feet. As soon as the main canopy begins to inflate, your body transitions to a vertical position, and the pressure changes across your container. This causes the AAD to activate and cut your reserve loop as you pass through 1,000 feet. You are now at 700 feet as the main fully inflates, and your reserve inflates just afterward. Your main and reserve settle into a biplane configuration, with the main canopy in front. You release the brakes of the main canopy and gently steer to a clear area. Lucky for you, the two canopies did not entangle. This was not the correct response to the initial issue of passing through 1,600 feet in freefall.
It takes you two seconds to pull the cutaway handle and another two seconds to locate and pull the reserve ripcord handle. Your reserve deployment is now starting at 900 feet. Your AAD activates and fires the cutter, but the reserve is already beginning to deploy. You are now under a fully inflated reserve at approximately 500 feet above the ground. Because you didn't initiate the main deployment, the main container remains closed after the cutaway and reserve deployment. Luckily you are over a clear area, and you are able to land the reserve canopy uneventfully. The Skydiver's Information Manual lists pulling the cutaway handle followed by the reserve ripcord as one of the two acceptable responses to a total malfunction.
It takes you two seconds to locate and pull the reserve ripcord, which begins your reserve deployment at 1,250 feet. You are under a fully inflated reserve at 900 feet. Because you practiced emergency procedures and were prepared to go straight to the reserve in the case of a total malfunction, it saved you precious seconds and allowed for a higher reserve deployment than those who chose to cutaway first. However, any delay in a decision of whether or not to go straight to the reserve can lead to a lower deployment altitude. You land uneventfully in a clear area. The Skydiver's Information Manual lists pulling the reserve ripcord without first cutting away as one of the two acceptable responses to a total malfunction.
After an uneventful 4-way freefly skydive, you deploy your main canopy, which fully inflates by 3,000 feet. The main landing area is far away in the downwind direction. As you descend through 2,000 feet, you are confident you can make it to the near edge of the drop zone landing area. Between you and the airport lies nothing but 60-foot trees, and there is one large field to your left, located half the distance between you and the drop zone landing area. You decide to:
Continue flying toward the drop zone.
Turn left and head toward the alternate field.
It initially appears as though you will make it to the edge of the drop zone landing area. But as you descend below 2,000 feet, the winds begin to drop off, and your ground speed slows. You come up short of the landing area and descend into the trees. Your canopy snags on a few tall branches, and you end up stuck in a tree 40 feet off the ground. Luckily you receive only minor cuts and bruises from the tree landing, but for the rest of your skydiving days, you are stuck with the nickname *tree.*
Because the alternate area is much closer, you easily make it to the alternate landing area, even though you’re flying crosswind. You have enough altitude to scan the area for obstacles and fly a landing pattern to face into the wind for your final approach and landing. You land safely and catch a ride back to the DZ.
You initiate a 90-degree left toggle turn onto your final approach into a clear area. As you do so, you realize you began the turn too low and the ground is coming up quickly. You are already halfway through the 90-degree left turn with your left toggle pulled down to chest level. You decide to:
Add more left toggle to finish the turn sooner.
Let the left toggle up to full flight, allowing the canopy to return to level flight before starting to pull both toggles down to full arm extension to flare for landing.
Pull the right toggle down to match the left side and then continue to pull both toggles to flare harder.
Let the left toggle up to full flight, then pull the right toggle down to chest level, then flare with both toggles to the belly.
The more aggressive input causes you to rapidly lose altitude and increases your forward speed. You strike the ground while still in the diving turn. The end result is a broken femur and pelvis and internal injuries. Whether you survive the accident largely depends on your location. If you make it to a hospital in time, you have a good chance of surviving. If you are too far from a critical care facility, your internal injuries may prove fatal.
Although you’ve stopped the turn, you strike the ground before the flare can provide any lift to slow the descent rate. The hard landing results in a left broken ankle and tibia-fibula. Your injuries are not life-threatening, and you will recover enough to continue skydiving in the future.
Matching the left toggle with right-side input immediately stops the turn and begins to generate lift, saving precious altitude as you then flare both toggles farther to generate even more lift. By immediately flaring and leveling the canopy at the same time, you manage to pull off an injury-free landing. Hopefully you learn from your misjudged turn and seek out some professional canopy coaching to help you improve your canopy skills.
The opposing right input creates a large, swinging sashay movement that simply causes you to lose altitude more rapidly and increases your forward speed. Just as you flare the canopy, you strike the ground in a steep, diving descent. The hard landing results in two broken femurs and crushed vertebrae in your lower back. You are lucky to survive the landing. After a year of recovery, you are able to walk again, but your skydiving days ended with this landing.
Following a 4-way skydive, you deploy your main canopy, which opens perfectly and fully inflates by 3,000 feet. Immediately after full inflation, another jumper under canopy comes out of nowhere. His body passes through your suspension lines, wrapping you up in his canopy and lines, as he now hangs below you. Your altimeter reads 2,800 feet, and you can communicate with the other jumper. The two of you are orbiting slightly, but your own main canopy is still fully inflated. You decide to:
Pull your cutaway handle before the other jumper.
Tell the other jumper to cut away his canopy while you stay attached to your main canopy.
Count together and both pull your cutaway handles at the same time.
Your main canopy was the only inflated canopy. By pulling your own cutaway handle, you have now dropped away from your inflated main, and you are completely cocooned in the other jumper’s canopy. As you struggle to clear the canopy and lines off your body, the other jumper pulls his cutaway handle at 1,800 feet and deploys his reserve. You continue to try to clear the main canopy and lines off of your body, but remain hopelessly wrapped up until impact. You do not survive the landing.
The other jumper pulls his cutaway handle and releases his main canopy. He falls to a lower altitude, deploys his reserve canopy and lands uneventfully. The tension is now off the canopy and suspension lines that are wrapped around your head and neck. You are able to free yourself from the main canopy and land uneventfully under your own main canopy.
The other jumper falls away from his canopy and deploys his own reserve at a lower altitude. You fall away from your own main canopy, which was inflated and flying stable. You are now tightly wrapped in the other jumper’s main canopy and suspension lines. You are unable to clear the canopy and lines from your body before you impact the ground without an inflated canopy.
After deploying your main canopy at 2,500 feet, your reserve is accidentally deployed when your hand accidentally snags your reserve ripcord handle. The reserve inflates, and the main and reserve canopies are now flying in a biplane configuration with the main in front. You choose to:
Pull the cutaway handle and release the main canopy.
Attempt to land while descending under both parachutes.
Because the main canopy is in front of the reserve, the main risers snag the reserve slider after you pull the cutaway handle. The main canopy slowly pulls the reserve slider higher and higher, eventually choking off the reserve canopy until it’s barely inflated. The main canopy is also not fully inflated. You land hard under the mostly deflated canopies and do not survive the impact.
Biplane configurations are generally stable, and the main and reserve canopies tend to remain together in a biplane. You steer the canopies using the main canopy steering lines with gentle input and land the two canopies uneventfully.
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