September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
Keeping up with the Safety checks
This past weekend has made me think a bit about the lax attitude we all get caused by that damn wicked concept called complacency.
Now the usual line of Complacency kills is so true but also watching out for the series of events.
There was a wise man that used to say that you could trace back all the series of events leading up to an incident. The trick is to identify possible events and stop the train before it collides with the bridge. Literally.
So there are two angles to this discussion. A personal one and a gear one. We tell students all the time that nerves are caused by a lack of confidence in their own ability and a lack of confidence in their gear. So why is it that we become complacent about these two aspects and think we are invincible?
- Gear maintenance and checks
How often do you methodically check your gear? Or are you one of those skydivers that tosses your rig into your rig bag at the end of every weekend and ignores it for the week?
Did you know that risers and lines shrink? Bad openings, built in turns and malfunctions can all be avoided by replacing your risers and lines regularly. Next time you are done jumping for the weekend lay your canopy out and check that your risers are still the same length. If not, replace.
Lines should not be left until they break. Spinning malfunctions are not only dangerous with “work” jumps like camera flying, but these can snap at any point, not just on opening. Just imagine coming in on final approach and having a break line snap off in your hand. Not cool.
Bungees on the D bag need to be replaced often and ensuring that they are all at the same level of stretch so that you can ensure good openings.
Pilot chutes should be checked after each jump to ensure that they are still offering you the right levels of security that they will in fact pull out your d bag on deployment. Replacement of you pilot chute regularly is a necessity.
- Body weight and wing loading
So often we as jumpers get to a certain level and then stop calculating our wing loading on our canopies. Unless we are looking to downsize . But how often do we evaluate our own level of fitness and weight even though we are not downsizing?
Letting ourselves put on a few kilo’s here and there over winter, or allowing that beer belly to take creep up over a few months or even years is a critical issue when one day you need to get yourself out of a bad situation or even land a reserve in a tight spot.
As sportsmen and women, we need to ensure we keep our bodies slim, fit and strong to handle any issue and if necessary heal up quickly if we hurt ourselves.
There are so many occasions where we see parachutists not being consciously aware of staying agile, fit and strong.
So this is the challenge for summer. Set a date for a complete medical check. One for your gear and one for you. Get a rigger to do a full inspection of the lines, risers, pilot chute, d bag, bungees etc. Then do the same for yourself. Health checks are under rated. Decide if you are in good shape and if not get yourself onto a plan to improve with a target and deadline in mind. Happy Summer!