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Cutting through paracord


arnzzz
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Hey

 

I'm new to this stuff, but I've been thinking about those times when you may need to throw a reserve chute.

I have seen multiple videos where people have thrown their reserve chute and its got caught in their main chute (in the panic I think they didnt process the down sides of doing that).

Luckily it looked like they survived.

Hence I was wondering if its common to carry some kind of blade, whether its a specific cord cutting device, or if anyone is carrying a flip knife, or sheathed knife in case they do need to cut their cords before deploying their reserve.

I like the idea of having a knife, but then it scares the crap out of me when i think about what part of me that blade might end up penetrating during a crash landing lol.

again, im new here and to paramotors, so this may well be obvious that carrying any blade is bad news. 

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hey Simon,

Thanks for the reply. I had no idea the lines were that tough!

I seem to remember a video of a guy who had spun around maybe 20 times, so the lines were completely wrapped up. He had lots of altitude but was dropping fast and was trying to pull the wing in close to throw the reserve, it looked bloody tough, but im sure the human body can do great things in that kind of situation, IF you dont just freeze lol.

So from what you said, i would assume the only real option is to pull in the wing as much as possible before throwning the reserve?

If you ever get a chance to do a video, that would be really interesting.

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 I used to carry a dedicated hook knife when skydiving. I don't carry one at the moment paramotoring but I have been thinking of digging mine out and adding it to my kit. The blade is protected on the outside by a hook and will only cut on the inside of the hook.  I certainly wouldn't carry a fixed blade or conventional knife as per your comments for the obvious reasons you mentioned. I've actually never used one to cut lines so a demonstration would be quite interesting Simon.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hook-safety-knife-/292170057125?hash=item4406b145a5:g:KtIAAOSwkRhZWNsD

 

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I always fly with a hook knife but my main reason for doing so is for a water entry. The thought of being in a tangle in water isn't appealing... hopefully my powerfloat would give me time to cut lines release myself (if this ever happened) - but obviously I never intend on trying this out! One could potentially be handy in a tree spaghetti too!

Truth be told that if under a critically collapsed wing, in a pinch, whilst potentially weightless, and under pressure I can't possibly imagine cutting lines etc. You just wouldn't have the composure or time to do this effectively... but I'm guessing here.

 

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I always carry a hook knife in the top layer of my clothing, not for use in the air (don't think you will ever have the luxury of enough time in an emergency) but for use if entangled in a tree, in case of having wound a line into the prop on a failed launch and finding yourself trused up like or a chicken, or most urgently if you or someone else has a line around their throat and is being choked.  I used to carry a hook knife  like allrightscud when skydiving but I found it too fiddly to use when wearing winter gloves.   I chose a kite-surfing/life jacket hook knife as it has a bigger two-finger holding 'ring' which I know I can use with my winter gloves on.  My choice was a Crewsaver Ergofit (other brands are available!) to which I have added a very bright lanyard so I can slip it over my wrist if I need to use it (and then have less chance of fumbling and dropping it, because no doubt in a full-on emergency I'll be shaking like a cr@apping dog!)

And don't practice cutting sheathed lines too often; even though these blades are very sharp, they dull with use and are virtually impossible to sharpen yourself - so perhaps test it out once and then keep it only for emergencies?

 

hook knife.jpg

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For glider and reserve tangle, quick-out carabiners might be a better solution. Faster than cutting, a cleaner release of the glider and no damage to the glider. Looking at videos where this happens, I don't believe you have time to cut lines. They are super strong, and where do you start to cut when it's a mess?
 For the nightmare scenario arnzzz described I guess you need lots of luck . Better to stay away from situations like that in the first place.

Still a very good choice to have a knife with you. Might need to cut a tangled speed bar line. It might also come handy if you need to help someone else.
Definitely optimise your safety gear for the kind of flying you intend to do. A good multi-tool that have a plier and the most common maintenance tool that fits your paramotor might also be handy.

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They look great. I was just looking at those and wondering if release wing first was possible.....so no tangle.

In a situation where reserve deployment is necessary, I am guessing that releasing carabiners before deploying reserve might be very risky....unless you are very high. It must take some seconds to release both carabiners, even with the quick release, and then as soon as wing is free your vertical velocity increases dramatically.

If my sums are correct then...

assume it takes 10 seconds to release carabiners AND then deploy reserve And reserve open

Vertical drop will be about 1100 feet.

Vertical speed when reserve opens just over 100 mph

So more time needed for reserve to slow you down.

So, unless you fly over 2000 feet AND can be sure of doing everything in 10 seconds...then I would throw reserve first.

 

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Paragliding reserves are not made for free fall speed. I wonder if you could release one side to get out of something like a deep spiral with twisted risers, guess that's the most risky situation to throw a reserve. Maybe the vertical speed picks up too much like with the free fall.
And a failed throw should be considered as equally dangerous depending on where in the glider it landed. releasing quick-out carabiners with the reserve in the lines might even destroy the reserve or make a knot around it. But it's the unique situation where you have to decide if you ever find yourself in it.

Still, there is a chance to survive the most brutal crash landing with a tangled glider, and knowing that, I would trust that outcome more.
It's an interesting topic. Scary thought, but thankfully extremely little risk to be in that situation if you fly in nice ppg weather and stay away from acro.
Quick-out carabiners are meant for a cleanup after successful deployment, so I really hope no one get some crazy idea and rely on them for anything else, until knowing for sure.

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On 27/07/2017 at 14:06, AndyB said:

They look great. I was just looking at those and wondering if release wing first was possible.....so no tangle.

In a situation where reserve deployment is necessary, I am guessing that releasing carabiners before deploying reserve might be very risky....unless you are very high. It must take some seconds to release both carabiners, even with the quick release, and then as soon as wing is free your vertical velocity increases dramatically.

If my sums are correct then...

assume it takes 10 seconds to release carabiners AND then deploy reserve And reserve open

Vertical drop will be about 1100 feet.

Vertical speed when reserve opens just over 100 mph

So more time needed for reserve to slow you down.

So, unless you fly over 2000 feet AND can be sure of doing everything in 10 seconds...then I would throw reserve first.

 

Parachute systems have a 'Skyhook' system that works as an RSL (reserve static line). What this means is that as soon as you cut away from the malfunctioning wing, the malfunctioning wing that you are falling away from 'pulls' your reserve for you. It is VERY fast and will have you under a reserve and clear of your malfunctioning wing in seconds. Paragliding and PPG would benefit from something similar as it works in situations with extremely high-G flat spins as well. You can see a video of a skyhook deployment here: 

 

Edited by andre_74
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