A hotshot braked turn
won't necessarily save you from serious lack of planning and/or awareness, but it's likely to save you more than a couple of ugly-but-avoidable injuries in the sport - and it's an entry-level skill for BASE jumping
. Take the long weekend and master the art with this quick guide
How does your reserve fly?
If you've never had a cutaway, you probably have no idea. You might be super-confident landing your main canopy in some pretty hairy situations, but be warned: your reserve is a different story.
It's constructed differently. (BASE jumpers will be more familiar with the dynamics of a seven-cell canopy, but not with the significantly-smaller square footage.)
You'll have less time to set up the approach. Reserve deployments can be much lower than standard deployments, giving the pilot less time to choose a landing area (often, from a list of poor options) and strategize the best pattern.
You'll be stressed out. By the time your reserve canopy is out and flying, your body will have pumped your blood full of stress chemicals. They're some of the most powerful drugs your biology is capable of manufacturing - so don't discount their effects. Muscle memory is the tool you need to circumvent them, and you can only get that by practicing with the precise equipment you're going to be using.
Little nervous now? You should be. Sweep those nerves away by taking the steps to ensure you know how to fly that emergency parachute that's patiently waiting on top of your main.
In a strange way, it makes sense: skydivers that have never experienced a reserve ride most commonly buy a reserve canopy as an afterthought.
You'd think that newer skydivers would be more nervous - and, therefore, pickier - about a last-resort canopy, but it's skydivers that have had to land one that really understand the importance of a properly sized, properly maintained reserve. After all, a ride under the wrong reserve rarely ends well. Here's how to choose one that stacks the odds in your favor.
Why would you want holes in your BASE canopy? Because holes - in the context of a tried-and-tested vent-valve system - can save lives. Here's your guide to their construction and application.