3 Mar 2011: Double Cutaway @ Elsinore Safety Day
So we were towards the end of a very competitive rotations round with 2 Otter flybys. Eric had just docked on me and I was sorting out the lines, pushing the canopy high above my head to shorten the stack, and grabbing center lines and toggles carefully in my hands (Not careful enough). Will docked quick and clean and Sean rotated off the top leaving me to slide up and steer. As I slid up I quickly realized my right toggle was snagged on Eric's right center line. As I slid up, the stack turned more and more and I couldn't stop it. I dropped the grip on Eric's canopy. Before I knew it I was doing a helicopter spin at a 45 degree angle off of the stack with my steering line stuck to Eric's canopy (see below pic) . As I was reaching for my right side knife to cut the steering line, Eric was dropping the stack and preparing to cutaway on my command. I yelled "Cutaway" and eric chopped just as my left riser swallowed my left hand trying to cut the steering line. DOH!!
Eric fell away and his canopy went with him as I was left with a left hand VERY VERY tighlty wrapped and continuously tightening in my left riser on a very SPINNING main. Hand was squeezed in the handshake direction down to the size of a quarter (it felt that way atleast). :)
I decided a standard cutaway would NOT work as my hand was too tighly in the riser. So, I reached with my plastic knife, in my right hand already, to try to cut the riser below my hand but I knicked the cutaway cable half way and the knife broke. I continued to spin under a 2:1 Storm 107. I reached with my right hand for my left knife, not aware of altitude but aware of my new gift from my wife (A cypress). The second knife was metal and I cut a cm higher than my previous attempt and managed to cut both risers at once, freeing my hand and canopy.
At this point I was very disoriented, and according to Eric I fell on my back spinning for roughly 6 seconds. I pulled my cutaway at this point expecting a canopy and realizing, like Wile E Coyote I think my packer packed me laundry (only 2 cut riser pieces disconnected). I then tried the other handle on my back and spinning and the reserve came out.
I moaned and body steered to a field and collapsed from exhaustion in the field. I believe my reserve cam out about 3000' but this is a guess. Tickle and Eric picked me up, cops gave me a hard time, Avery took me to urgent care for x-rays, and the whole situation SUCKED. :) But it was Too Wrapped Up Story!!!!!! ie... Adventures to a National Championship!!
Getting the canopies out of the mountains involved the remaining team, a cessna, tickle, and hardcore trekking and motivation. The team found all the gear. :)
Crazy! Lesson learned: Use metal knives, and wraps involving the top of the stack SUCK!!! :)