Do skydivers have backup parachutes? Of COURSE, skydivers have a backup (aka reserve) chute … we’re not that crazy! Skydiving backup parachutes are deployed in the event of an inability to deploy the main parachute, or a malfunction of the main parachute once it has been deployed. Stuff happens, but we’re skydivers, so we’re ready for anything! Let’s get into it.
What is a skydiving backup parachute called? The second of two canopies inside a skydiving rig is called a reserve, a parachute that is used in the event of an emergency situation. While skydivers use their main canopy on every jump, the reserve is there as a “just in case.” Although they’re both rectangular pieces of fabric that will guide us softly to the ground, there are some major differences.
Three major differences of the reserve parachute vs main are the design, size, and who can handle it.
Don’t touch it! Parachute riggers are the only ones qualified to inspect and pack a reserve parachute after it has been deployed or if it is due for a repack (which must be done every 180 days). In contrast, main canopies can be packed by the person who will jump it next, a rigger, or someone under the direct supervision of a rigger. Riggers require certification from the Federal Aviation Administration which proves they can handle a reserve with extreme care – serious stuff!
If you’re asking, “What is a cutaway in skydiving?” We’ve got you covered! Skydivers deploy their reserve by enacting “emergency procedures” or EPs. Essentially, it’s the act of getting rid of your main and beginning to use the reserve.
When we are ready to deploy our main canopy, we will reach to the bottom of our parachute container and pull something called a pilot chute – a circular piece of fabric that is attached to our main canopy with a long piece of nylon webbing called a bridle. When the pilot chute is thrown it will catch air and, through a quick series of events, pull the bag of your main canopy off of your back and out of its container. If the main canopy is not square, stable, and steerable and the problem cannot be corrected, the jumper will conduct emergency procedures.
There are two handles on the front of the rig: one on the right of your belly and one on the left. The jumper will fully pull off the handle on the right to release the main from the rig and then pull off the left one to deploy the reserve. The releasing of the main is called a cutaway!
While the jumper is responsible for deploying their reserve, there are two nifty apparatuses that can help us out – the RSL, MARD, and the AAD!
We hope we cleared up the question, “Do skydivers have two parachutes” and put your mind at ease! We can’t wait to jump with you at Skydive Carolina – book today! We welcome all questions and concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
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