Each time we deploy our main canopies, the main closing pin slides through the closing loop. Depending on how much you jump, this can be dozens of times over the course of a weekend. Now imagine that main closing pin has a nick in the metal. What do you think will result after dozens of times of sliding through that closing loop? You guessed it; the loop will wear and eventually break. A premature opening with a possible horseshoe malfunction has the potential to ruin anyone’s day. This is why it is so important to make sure that we inspect all components of our rigs.
The following pictures are from a busy videographer’s rig. He caught the wear on his closing loop only a few jumps into a busy weekend. The nick on the closing pin might be hard to see at first, but further inspection of the pin (fingernail sliding across the metal) revealed a small gouge that was continuously wearing on the closing loop. The pin was replaced by a rigger as was the closing loop. If this jumper had not been checking his gear closely on each pack job this could have ended much more dramatically.
I think at the end of the day, situations like this reinforce the need for each and every jumper to be responsible for not only their standard gear check but hyper-aware of the gear they are checking. When going through your check you are not only looking to see that the pin is through the loop but both the pin and the loop look to be in good working order. Every piece of your gear should be inspected on every pack job and prior to every jump. A couple extra seconds of inspection could save you tons of time, money, and safety issues in the long run.
This article was written by Shauna Finley -- PussFoot's in-house Rigger, operator of the Sussex Skydive store and the current the Eastern Regional Director of the USPA.