Attention all Tandem instructors please review this before making your next Tandem jump.
A similar notice was sent out last year and being that is the beginning of the season for most TI’s, and because of a recent incident that has been reported to us we are sending this notice once again.
The incident that occurred is as follows:
An experienced TI was in the process of fitting the student harness onto a 85-year-old woman. He thought that he would do her a favor and leave the harness a bit loose. The TI thought that she was frail and did not want to make her uncomfortable or hurt her.
The result of this was that while they were exiting the aircraft she slipped down in the harness, almost completely ejecting her. This might have resulted in her been ejected from the harness. The fact that the passenger held on to the side connector straps and TI managed to control the passenger by grabbing her legs, may have prevented a fatality.
What can we learn form this?
1. If you think you are doing your student a favor by doing something outside of your normal or recommended procedures you could be making a fatal error in judgment. Make sure the harness is fitted correctly.
2. Not everyone is capable or physically suited to make a tandem skydive. You can say no.
3. Always have the student harness fitted correctly and in a jumpable configuration before boarding the aircraft. No exceptions.
It is important to note that by not following the manufacturers and USPA’s guidelines you could have your TI rating revoked or suspended.
It is apparent that on occasion the Sigma student harness is not fitted correctly during the initial gear set up prior to boarding the plane. It is then extremely difficult to correctly fit the harness once in the aircraft, as the passenger will not be in an upright position. If the student is ‚wide‘, it is important that the main lift web be moved further to the sides of the passenger – if the main lift web is too far forward then it leaves a bigger hole for the butt to slide out. Make sure that all straps are tightened including the horizontal back strap and the diagonal back strap. It is imperative that the harness is fitted correctly prior to boarding the aircraft.
No parachute harness can safely contain all body types. The Sigma student harness is no exception. Certain body types require careful evaluation and extreme care before the decision to let them jump is made. These groups include but are not limited to: the frail, woman with a high body mass index, extremely large or small people, amputees and paraplegics etc. The Y strap does increase the utility of a poorly adjusted harness somewhat but there will still be body types that cannot safely make a tandem jump. The complete assembly of the Y-Strap mod is available from UPT for $120, or you can manufacture it yourself using the attached work instructions. We highly recommend that each dropzone using our systems have a least one of this type of harness.
Download the Student Harness Y-Strap Retrofit Modification
Please see the Sigma Student Harness Adjustment Guide
Please also see our guide on wheelchair dependent students.
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