Chapter 4


The length of the bridle has an effect primarily on the deployment of the main pilot chute. The bridle must be long enough to place the deployed pilot chute past the turbulence caused by the parachutist. If the bridle is too short, the pilot chute will stay in the parachutist’s burble. The length of the bridle from the locking pin to the pilot chute averages around 7 feet. Recent years have seen the growth of the use of the “Birdman” flying suits. Because of the increased surface area and the decreased free fall speeds, the use of a longer bridle has become common, with a 9-foot length working well. Along with the longer bridle, containers have been modified to allow the bottom to open fully and the main bag to be extracted rearward towards the feet due to the more horizontal trajectory of the parachutist.


The rubber stow bands play an important part of the deployment sequence, and serve two important functions. First, they hold the mouth of the deployment bag closed and prevent premature deployment of the main canopy. Secondly, they hold the line stows securely to allow a clean, orderly deployment of the lines. With the advent of smaller diameter lines, such as 550 Spectra® and HMA®, smaller diameter rubber bands have been developed to properly secure these lines. If the smaller rubber bands are not available, many parachutists double stow the larger rubber bands around the small lines. There are other products such as Tube Stoes®, which are designed to replace rubber bands and last longer. Figure 4-34 shows the various rubber bands and Tube Stoes®. In addition to the correct rubber bands, the length of the line stows is important as well. In the past, 1" stows were common, but today, 3" stows are recommended by several manufacturers. Figure 4-35 shows the comparison between the two lengths. The main point to remember is that the lines must be stowed neatly and securely.



The rigger should be familiar with the various types of canopy releases currently in use. In skydiving, the most common release is the 3-ring release system. It was originally developed in 1976 for skydiving, but has since become the dominant release system for intentional jumping, both civilian and military.

Riggers must be familiar with the assembly of the 3-ring release since they may have to connect new canopies to the harness and container, or have to disconnect the main canopy to untangle it after landing. Figures 4-36 thru 4-43 show the correct assembly sequence.





The rigger must also be able to inspect the 3-ring release to determine any wear. In particular, the following areas need to be inspected:

• Harness 3-ring attachment. [Figure 4-44] Check for wear on the webbing and any damage to the ring or chipping of the plating.

• Main riser rings. Check for webbing wear, hardware plating, grommet wear, and locking loop wear/damage. [Figure 4-45]

• Release housings. Check for damage to terminal endings and grommet. Check for obstructions or dirt in housing. Check security of the housing tacking to the harness. [Figure 4-46]

• 3-ring release handle. Check the cable for cleanliness and cracks, and ensure that the cable ends are sealed; inspect the Velcro® on the handle. [Figure 4-47]

Any questions concerning the particular harness 3-ring installation should be referred to the harness and container manufacturer.

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