HOW SAFE IS YOUR RESERVE
How safe is your reserve?
Well, it’s a fair question!
“Parachutist”, the official publication of the US parachute Association published:
Malfunction, Malfunction, Malfunction—The 2017 Fatality Summary by Paul Sitter Sunday, April 1, 2018 “Reserve systems—which include the reserve container, pilot chute, bridle, freebag and canopy—are extremely reliable, but there are no guarantees in skydiving. Looking at the last 10 years, reserves
failed to save jumpers in about 6 percent of the fatalities. “
The assumption that properly executed emergency procedures at the right height is enough for the reserve to open is just not entirely true! Reserve malfunctions are fact of life!
We learn something every day in skydiving…..if we want to…Which brings the question- how familiar are you with the reserve parachute emergency situations and procedures?
There are numerous factors that affect the reserve openings- container, pack tightness, container materials, body position, MARD systems and packing techniques. Nowadays more skydivers use MARD systems that put them in not that favourable position for the reserve to open.
The following PIA investigation gives some clarity and recommendations on some reserve openings:
But can something be done while packing reserves in order to reduce the risk of malfunction?
Skydiving history has shown that neat pack jobs open better than messy ones! The ones that are packed with consideration for the opening, add even more to the safety. That’s why we don’t pack reserves flat pack, it just doesn’t make sense anymore and It used to be the standard.
Reserve packing techniques that take into consideration the development of the sport and parachute designs are possible, available and can make the sport safer! They involve techniques that significantly increase the reliability of the reserve parachutes openings!