Protecting Our Gear
How many times during a typical day of jumping do you inspect your gear? 2 times? 3 times? None? If you're a jumper who doesn't pack for themselves, are you relying on a busy packer to make sure your rig is good to go before each jump? If you pack for yourself, are you inspecting critical parts on your rig each time? What about if you leave your rig unattended; do you inspect if when you get it back in your possession? If you answered No to any of these questions, let's see why it's a good idea to inspect your rig on a regular basis during a jumping day.
The following pictures are from a videographer who knows his rig and is very familiar with his equipment. This particular videographer had some downtime and decided to change out his canopies. When he pulled his cutaway handle, it got stuck. He was unable to fully pull it and the left riser wouldn't release. Upon closer inspection, he found the cause. Almost hidden under the left mudflap, was a broken metal hard housing. The break in the hard housing had snagged the cutaway handle cable and caused the malfunction.
Many manufacturers run their hard housings under the mudflaps to protect them and keep them out of the way. This particular hard housing snapped just above the mudflap fabric. From the best guess of the jumper, the housing was more than likely broken when a weight plate, the kind weight lifters use on bench-press bars, fell on the housing. On this particular packing matt, these types of weights are regularly used to assist in packing. The jumper guessed that maybe when the rig was laid out prior to packing, a weight may have fallen on it and kinked the housing in an awkward position causing the break.
Had this jumper not attempted to change out his canopies and had a malfunction requiring a cutaway, the results could have been catastrophic.
Here's my point; know your gear. Protect your gear. Be mindful when you're using equipment around rigs and their components. Things get damaged, accidents happen, but let's all make an effort to minimize the possibility.
Written By Shauna Finley Senior Rigger
If you have a question for Shauna please email us at Pussfootog@gmail.com