When Do Skydivers Pull Their Parachutes

When you pull the parachute for your skydive depends–like most things in this life–on who “you” are.

That might sound like an unnecessarily philosophical way of answering the question, but nothing could be truer. “Pulling the parachute” (or, in skydiver parlance, “parachute deployment”) can happen at any number of altitudes, depending on the jumper’s intention and/or assessment of the conditions he or she observes. Lean in; we’ll explain a little more thoroughly.

When do Pro Skydivers Pull Their Parachutes?

On a skydive during which the goal is to focus on flying our bodies in freefall, skydivers often choose to wait to pull their parachute until the last safe moments. Though we make our own decisions about what feels appropriate for the conditions of the jump and our unique skill levels, we look to the United States Parachute Association for wisdom. The USPA’s Skydiver’s Information Manual includes minimum opening altitudes in their Basic Safety Requirements to help with the decision making.

Within those Basic Safety Requirements, the USPA breaks down the minimum opening altitudes by license level. For new A-license holders, that’s 3,000′ above the ground; for slightly more experienced B-license holders, 2,500′. The most experienced skydiving license holders, C’s and D’s, can choose to pull by as low as 2,000′ above the ground in certain circumstances. Lower deployment than that is not recommended.

On some skydives, we deploy our parachute early to allow a safety margin.

If we’re participating in a sport skydive that has included significant horizontal movement (for example, a wingsuit jump, or a jump during which strong upper winds have pushed us hard enough to noticeably change our position), we can sometimes end up farther from the landing area than we anticipated. In a case like that, we decide as a group, often via a combination of gestures and hand signals, to deploy early so that we can safely fly our parachutes back to the landing.

When do Skydivers Pull Their Parachutes High?

There are certain skydives during which the most fun, the most productive thing to do is “pull right out the door.” That means that we exit the aircraft, make sure that we’re falling in a stable configuration and that we’re safely clear of the plane and deploy (pull) the parachute right then and there. We do this for several reasons: if we’re giving or receiving coaching for “canopy flight” (flying the skydiving parachute); if we’re joining up with friends to fly our parachutes in a formation to explore the Canopy Relative Work discipline (a.k.a. “CReW”); if we’ve decided to do a special cross-country flight back to the dropzone from a significant distance; if we’re getting to know a new parachute, or if we’re simply stoked at the idea of flying some fabric for a much longer time than we normally would on a freefall-centric jump.

types of skydiving crw skydiving parachute formation

When Do Tandem Skydivers Pull Their Parachutes?

On a tandem skydive, the parameters are understandably very different. Tandem instructors might deploy somewhat higher in a situation where safety requires it, but deploy much higher up, as a rule, than sport skydivers. When doing a tandem jump at Skydive California, you can expect an open parachute by 5,500 feet. That altitude is higher than licensed jumpers in order to keep the experience as margin-padded as possible.

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when do skydivers pull the parachute

Keeping that margin in place is just one of the many elements that make tandem skydiving safer today than it has ever been–and Skydive California is proud to be a contributing part of that sterling track record!

So: When do you pull the parachute, you ask? Well, you pull the parachute when you learn to skydive with us at Skydive California. What are you waiting for, anyway?!

What Happens if the Parachute Fails To Open When Skydiving

Skydiving is an incredibly exciting sport that attracts thousands of people across the US every year. It’s sometimes associated with risk-taking, where jumping from “a perfectly good airplane” (as the saying goes) is seen as risky and frivolous. We want to demystify one common skydive safety concern we often hear, “What happens if the parachute fails to open?”

How Many Parachutes Fail to Open?

The truth about skydiving is that it’s far less risky than you might think. From the military-style in which skydivers are trained to the huge investment in both time and money that goes into creating the equipment, to the basic safety checks we all conduct prior to jumping, skydiving today is safer than it’s ever been. According to the National Safety Council, a person is more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee than during a skydive.

But we’re not here to talk about safety. We’re here to answer the question of what happens if the parachute doesn’t open on a skydive. And the reason that’s not a question of safety? ‘Malfunctions’, as it’s called when a parachute doesn’t open, are perfectly normal parts of the sport and something we can manage and rectify.

Why would a parachute fail to open?

There are lots of factors that can contribute to a parachute not opening. The successful deployment of a parachute is dependent on the correct packing of that parachute and is affected by any changes to the process or to the body position of the skydiver when they go to deploy.

That’s why all skydivers are fully trained in the correct parachute packing procedures and the body position to adopt to aid the successful deployment.

But with all precautions taken and all training employed, it’s still possible for the parachute not to open successfully, be it through error or simple chance. Typically, one in a thousand parachutes will fail to open.

parachute failing to open

What is the skydive safety procedure when the parachute doesn’t open?

An essential part of the training undertaken by skydivers is learning how to manage a ‘malfunction’ and how to rectify the situation. Skydiving ‘rigs’ (the ‘backpack’ we wear containing the parachute) are very clever in their design. They contain not one but two parachutes, one being the ‘main’ and one the ‘reserve’.

The main parachute is connected using a ‘three-ring release system’; this system of three metal rings uses basic physics principles to spread the load of the weight of the person on the parachute in such a way that the pulling of one handle quickly and efficiently breaks the connection and allows the skydiver to ‘cut away’ the malfunctioning parachute.

So when a skydiver finds themselves in a position where their main parachute isn’t opening or has opened with an error, they simply remove that parachute and deploy their reserve parachute instead.

Reserve parachute deployment

The reserve parachute is typically slightly different in design to make it more reliable and less ‘sporty’ in the way it flies. It’s packed in a similar way to the main parachute but with some key differences that negate any potential issues to ensure the reserve parachute will always open correctly.

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When a skydiver needs to use the reserve parachute, they may be choosing to do so and therefore activating the deployment themselves using handles located on the front of their equipment.

If the skydiver is for any reason unable to deploy their own reserve parachute – for example, if they have been knocked unconscious – an automatic activation device (AAD – most commonly a Cypres) will automatically deploy the reserve parachute for them. There are also support systems including the RSL (reserve static line) and MARD (main assisted reserve deployment) which aid the deployment of the reserve parachute and make it even faster and easier.

Do I need to worry?

You really don’t need to worry about your parachute failing to open. If you’re jumping as a tandem skydiver, your instructor has undertaken extensive training to ensure they are able to deal with any situation that might come about.

If you’re learning to skydive alone or are a qualified skydiver, you’ll know that you’ve been trained to the highest level to deal with all potential eventualities.

If you’d like to find out more about skydiving near Atlanta speak to one of our team members today!

Skydiving: What Happens if Your Parachute Doesn’t Open?

Every skydiving student has had that worrying thought, ‘what happens if your parachute doesn’t open?’ It can quickly fill you with dread and fear, thinking of the permutations. Let’s be honest, while it can and does happen, it is incredibly rare, and you have more chance of having a severe car accident on the way to the jump spot than having a serious skydiving accident.

With that said, skydiving is about fear and courage, and knowing it’s a rare occurrence doesn’t stop the thoughts running through your mind and getting your heart pounding! In fact, it’s good to consider these possible dangers and know what to do in all circumstances, no matter how unlikely.

So let’s take a look at what happens if your parachute doesn’t open. We will also look at why parachutes occasionally don’t open and dare to think about what would happen if your reserve parachute also failed!

What happens if your skydiving parachute doesn’t open?

What equipment is needed in skydiving?

What happens if your skydiving parachute doesn’t open?

We’ve said it many times before, and it’s true, skydiving is a lot safer than most people think. However, it does carry some risks. Most skydiving accidents happen with the parachute open, usually due to poor judgment or avoidable risks taking during the landing. Broken legs, sprained ankles, and fractured pelvises are heard of far more than a fall where the parachute is unflyable.

On the rare occasion that a parachute doesn’t open, there is a reserve canopy in place. This backup parachute will deploy if the main parachute doesn’t open. The chances of the main parachute and reserve parachutes both not opening is millions to one. The reserve shoot is a super solid plan b. If for any reason, your main parachute doesn’t open or is faulty, the thing to remember is to stay calm, and the reserve will come to your rescue; the most significant risk to the reserve parachute not saving you is panic.

In some rare circumstances, the main parachute may open but become twisted or unflyable. You may need to cut away the main chute and then deploy your reserve in this situation. Most modern parachute setups have the reserve parachute in a separate container from the main canopy. A simple three-ring release system will jettison or cut away the main chute, which releases it in a split second. If for any reason, the parachute doesn’t release, skydivers carry a hook knife to finish the job. Once the main parachute is clear, the reserved will deploy.

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How do you use your reserve parachute?

When should you pull your parachute?

How do you use your reserve parachute?

If your main parachute doesn’t open, stay calm and take a deep breath. If you are an amateur skydiver, you will already be jumping and deploying at a height that allows plenty of time to correct such issues.

To start, get in the breakaway position. This position ensures you stay stable and your reserve will open clearly and not risk any tangles. The breakaway position involves spreading your legs as wide as possible, arching your back, and keeping your head up.

If your main parachute opened but is unflyable, you should locate and grab the breakaway handle with both hands (usually on your right). Once you have it gripped, fix your eyes on your reserve handle, which will be on the opposite side (it’s important to stare at the following handle and keep calm and focussed). You can then pull the breakaway, which will release your defunct parachute. Once it is clear of you (usually within a second or two), you can pull your reserve handle to open the chute.

If your main chute didn’t open at all, there is no need to use the breakaway handle; you can go straight to pulling your reserve. The reserve handle is usually a metal or red cloth loop on your left. Once your reserve chute is open and you are floating to the ground, take a look down and start preparing for your landing. You may need to brace for a faster or more difficult landing as you have deployed lower than planned. Make sure to find a suitable landing spot and point your feet to the ground with your heels up and with not too much stiffness in your legs.

What happens if your reserve parachute doesn’t open?

What happens if your reserve parachute doesn’t open?

It seldom happens, but if your reserve chute also fails to open or malfunctions, you have not to panic and try to think clearly. While this is a dangerous situation, people have survived great falls and skydives without a parachute, and the one thing all these survivors had in common was making intelligent decisions.

Firstly, you should spread your body out as wide and horizontal as possible in an X shape; any speed reduction you can cause will help. Then it would help if you started planning the safest possible landing sport. Anything that can absorb the impact will be best, such as snow, tree branches, marshy areas, or a freshly plowed field. Stay clear of any hard and solid surfaces such as concrete or hard, flat earth. Water can also be a wrong choice; not only will it cause a significant impact, but you will likely be made unconscious and drown even if you survived the impact.

To move into position, try to tilt with your elbow and maintain the spread position. When you are close to the ground, you need to get into the landing position. You should adjust to falling feet first, with your heels up and toes pointed to the ground. Keep your knees slightly bent and flexibly, and bring your arms into your body. You will then need to brace for a strong impact.

Don’t worry, the chances of a parachute not opening are greater than one in 1,000, and the possibility of the reserve also not opening or being unflyable is more than one in a million.

Source https://skydivecalifornia.com/blog/when-skydivers-pull-parachutes/

Source https://skydivemonroe.com/blog/parachute-fails-to-open-when-skydiving/

Source https://skydivingplanet.com/skydiving-what-happens-if-your-parachute-doesnt-open/

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