It’s always far better to learn from the mistakes of others than to have to experience them yourself, so here are the highlights of all the incidents that happened at BPA PTOs between February and April 2019. These are traditionally much quieter months than the busier summer season and we would expect the number of incidents to increase in the period after this Mag is released. So can you reflect on the statistics below to help you avoid becoming one of them?
There were a total of eight injury reports received, of which four were to students and four were to A Licence holders and above. A first-jump student fractured their collarbone while carrying out PLF training.
A TR1 jumper with 312 jumps deployed her main in a head-down position while carrying out her first wingsuit jump. She experienced a hard opening, resulting in line twists that caused the canopy to spiral. She deployed her reserve and had two canopies out, which became a ‘down-plane’. She landed under both canopies, resulting in a broken leg, ribs and pelvis.
Another jumper with 2,179 jumps dislocated his shoulder while reaching for his risers on opening. A third jumper, with 3,500 jumps, twisted his knee while running the speed off on landing. The final report was a jumper with 1,360 jumps who hit a wind-blade on landing, bruising his hip and ribs.
Four Student Malfunction/Deployment Problem reports were received since the previous Safety and Training Committee (STC) meeting; three male and one female.
A student with 20 jumps had a stiff pull, could not fully pull the main ripcord and deployed his reserve. Another thought he had a malfunction, but just rushed the safety count. Two first-time static line students carried out weak exits, resulting in line entanglements. The first entanglement cleared after a few seconds and the student landed safely under the main canopy. The other student was entangled in the main suspension lines and managed to clear the entanglement; however, the main canopy suffered a line over malfunction. The student did not identify the malfunction and was told over the radio to carry out his emergency procedures. The student landed safely underneath the reserve canopy.
The Chair of STC expressed his concern with regard to the above entanglement incidents. He asked Chief Instructors to ensure that their Instructors carry out proficient exits from the ‘mock-ups’ during training and that they are actually assessing students correctly. He noted that these incidents were at separate
PTOs and involved different aircraft.
Fourteen Malfunction/Deployment Problem reports were received for A Licence parachutists or above; 12 males and two females. Two of the jumpers had fewer than 100 jumps, eight had between 100 and 1,000 jumps, and four had more than 1,000 jumps.
One report was received of an AAD firing. A student with 12 jumps was briefed to carry out a five-second delay after a three-month layoff. The student became unstable and deployed after approximately 19 seconds. This resulted in two canopies out and she landed safely just off the PLA.
There were eight reports of ‘off landings’ received since the last meeting. These included two students and a tandem pair.
There were three reports of items coming off jumpers on exit, in freefall or on deployment: one camera, a student’s helmet and a tandem student’s leather helmet.
Three reports were received involving aircraft. Two were aircraft overflying PLAs while parachutists were in the air. Another involved a vehicle driving up a runway while a jump aircraft was taking off.
The Chair reminded members of STC that, in the last 12 years, there have been three student fatalities – all from low cutaways.
Photo: Canopy Formation at Langar by Ming Chu