Before you jump solo, you will physically practice Emergency Procedures (EP) numerous times in a hanging harness under the guidance of your instructor. Repetitive correct practice is necessary so you can develop muscle memory, that is, you want this process to be automatic once you decide to use it. Your adrenaline levels are likely to be high in a stressful situation, and human nature is to react first, think second. We can use this to our advantage to be able to act quickly in an emergency.
Every jumper, regardless of skill level or currency should practice emergency procedures routinely, both mentally and physically. One shortcut to make a habit might be on your gear check, to touch your handles in the order you would use them. This not only makes sure they are unobstructed and configured correctly, but also gives you muscle-memory practice!
Details on EPs are provided by each school, as some schools differ based on gear and preference of instruction. One popular accepted EP method is shown at left:
● Deploy the main.
● Check the canopy.
● If deciding to use EP, arch and look at the cutaway handle (Right is Right).
● Reach for the cutaway handle with both hands and look at the reserve handle.
● Peel the velcro from the bottom up, then pull the cutaway handle to arms length and release.
● Clear the cables out of the housing, keeping your eyes on the reserve handle so you know its location.
● Reach for the reserve handle with both hands.
● Peel the velcro from the bottom up, the pull the reserve handle to arms length and release.
● Clear the cable out of the housing with one hand.
Paying attention to detailed practice can make your EP very smooth eventually. But wow that seems complicated! How about this for simple:
● "I don't like you ..." You don't like the main canopy so pull the cutaway handle.
● "... I like you!" You want a reserve canopy so pull the reserve handle.
Some possible malfunctions include ...
Some schools teach that for total malfunctions -
that is, no canopy is out at all, not even partially - you can go straight to the reserve handle without cutting away first.
Also a few schools have equipment that use only one handle to perform both the cutaway and reserve activation together. Using these single operation systems (SOS) means you cannot separate the actions of cutaway and reserve deployment: both functions are activated when you pull the handle.
pilot chute in tow
two canopies out
In other words, you MUST have your instructor clarify EP for you and practice with you!
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