1 Matches (out of a total of 833 incidents)
  1. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    22/07/2006 Mile-Hi Skydiving Centre, CO DMAL 37 3500 Y/N 203 #2345435
    DropZone.com Description: Jumper was competing in a swoop competition and was seen to have landed in the water previous to this jump. She experienced a malfunction on her main and performed a cutaway. When the reserve opened it was observed to be spinning violently. She would regain control of the canopy for a brief time and then the canopy would spin again. The jumper landed under this configuration.
    USPA Description: This jumper exited a King Air aircraft at 6,400 feet above the ground and deployed her main canopy shortly thereafter. She presumably experienced some sort of malfunction on her main canopy, and she cut away and deployed her reserve parachute soon after. Witnesses on the ground observed her spinning violently under her reserve; although she worked to control the canopy, she struck the ground hard at a fast rate of descent with the canopy still in an uncontrolled spin. She received immediate medical attention but died in a hospital several hours later from internal injuries.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper was participating in a canopy swoop competition at a drop zone with a field elevation of 5,052 feet above sea level. The report indicated that no one witnessed her main deployment, cutaway or reserve deployment. Data retrieved from her audible altimeter showed a deployment altitude of 4,800 feet AGL; however, investigators could not determine if the data indicated the opening altitude for her main or reserve parachute. At the accident scene, this jumper stated she had experienced tension knots, and two separate witnesses at the site reported seeing tension knots in the reserve parachute’s suspension lines below the cascades. Rescue personnel cut the reserve lines and harness off the jumper, repeatedly stepping on and moving the canopy as they worked to administer first aid. The resulting damage made it impossible for the investigators on the scene to determine the cause of the reported knots. Many factors can lead to suspension line tension knots—from body position during deployment to the packing method used to stow the canopy’s lines. Although jumpers experience this type of malfunction more often on main parachutes, tension knots in reserve lines do occur. Deployments at drop zones at high elevations can vary from those closer to sea level and may have affected this jumper’s main and/or reserve opening(s). Air is thinner at higher altitudes, which increases freefall speeds and can lead to harder openings. This jumper had landed in the swoop pond on previous jumps the day of the accident. Although investigators reported the reserve was damp, they did not find any indication that the wet condition of the canopy had any effect on its deployment. Manufacturers are not required to test wet reserve canopies as part of the certification process, and no recent data is available to indicate whether a wet canopy is more likely to malfunction or deploy differently than when dry. As wing loading increases, canopy malfunctions become more violent—this jumper was loading her main at 2.1:1 and her reserve at 1.6:1. A skydiver will likely have a greater chance of surviving a landing with a reserve malfunction under a parachute with a conservative wing loading than under one that is loaded aggressively. Jumpers should consider their canopy sizes carefully and choose a canopy size—especially a reserve—that provides the best chance of a safe landing in any situation.
    Mariann Kramer