After watching the clouds get thinner and thinner all morning, I take a drive down to the dropzone, get my name on the board, with ‘230’ next to it, as another 8-10 jumps on a 230 and ill be able to jump a 210 (more about that coming soon). Normally, im jinxed with jumping a 230, ive been ready to get checked out, then a jump limit has been put in place, ive been on the plane, at 12,500 feet, and told i have to go back down with the plane due to changed wind conditions during the climb. So far the only ‘uneventfull in a negative way’ jump ive had on a 230 was my 50th jump, so hopefully, that jump broke the spell.
Im kitted up, and on the plane, theres a 2-way jumping out before me, and im 2nd out, theyre gone, im in the door, given the thumbs up, and i roll out of the door 🙂 get stable, then do a few 360s seeing if i can spot the pair who left before me, cant see them, do a few backflips, still at 7,000 feet, another backflip, then some slow 360s again looking for the pair. As my ear starts to bleep at 5,000 feet, i see a canopy open in front of me (below me) and to the left, i wave off at 4,000 feet and pull my pilot chute at 3,500 feet.
The canopy opens, and i can see that the 2 left end cells are completley collapsed, i grap the toggles, pull them down, and only the right toggle releases, and im starting to spin. I grab the left toggle, and miss, i pinch it between my fingers, it still wont budge, and im still turning. Check my alti, 2,900 feet, i pull the right toggle down slightly, this straightens me out, but, im pointing the wrong way, but as im now flying straight, this now slows things down and gives me a little time to either sort out the collapsed cells and free the toggle, or to make the decision to cut the main canopy away, and go for the reserve parachute.
I look up to the stuck toggle, and i notice that the brake lines are red, compared to the other lines which are all white, the 240 i normally jump has all white lines, so i grab the brake line above the ring where it seems to be stuck, and pull it down just like with the control flares, and this inflates the end cells, i then use this line above the ring to turn me into the wind. In my mind, im now back in full control, even if the toggle remains stuck. I keep the right toggle pulled slightly to keep me going straight, and again grab the left toggle, and this time, theres no resistance, it comes out of its holder perfectly. (on talking with an instructor after the days jumping, its something he has come across before, thats quite hard to replicate on the ground, and ‘one of those things’, but apparently i did well to use the logic of pulling on the brake lines to open the collapsed end cells and turn back into the wind etc)
On my landing approach, just like yesterday theres very little wind, so i give myself some extra distance before my final turn, but, i gave myself a little too much distance, and landed about 100 yards short of the blue flags, but a good flare coming in to land, and stepped onto the ground nicely 🙂