There are a couple of things you can do to maximize your parachute’s performance once your main is deployed.
The first thing is relatively easy: after deployment, loosen your chest strap. Be careful, though – some harness manufacturers do not put a “stop” on the end of the chest strap. If this is the case, get your rigger to fold the end of the chest strap over and sew it down.
While loosening your chest strap is helpful, it is not that helpful if the slider is still keeping the top of the risers close together. So the second thing you can do is to either completely remove your slider (if you have a Removable Deployment System (RDS) – basically a removable slider), or to pull your slider down past your toggles and right to the base of your risers. Pulling your slider down in combination with loosening your chest strap gives the risers space to spread apart wider – to give your canopy a flatter center profile, increasing its lift. Brian Germain explains in the following video:
I do not recommend a RDS except for the most advanced swoop monsters out there. You know who you are. The complexity of a RDS increases the risk of a malfunction during the main deployment sequence.
But let’s talk about pulling your slider down. Skydivers have been doing this for years. The problem is once you have collapsed your slider and brought it down past the toggles, and behind your head, how do you keep it there so it doesn’t go back up the risers?
These things are known under different names such as: “Slider Stowing”, “Slider Stashing” etc.
There have been many solutions to this problem over the years, but none of them have been simple and elegant, until Brian Germain developed his “slock” or “slider lock”.
First let’s talk about the problems with the other systems.
Tying your slider to your jumpsuit collar
– If you need to cutaway – your main is still attached to your jumpsuit. This is bad.
Tying your slider to your rig
There are 2 main variations to this one, the “old-style” ball and elastic:
There is also the “new-style” magnetic tie, mostly sold by Skysytems as the “Sky Tie”.
Both types of systems are fitted to the container’s reserve topflap. I don’t like this because you have no way to know if it will interfere with your reserve deployment, should you need to use it. With these systems, you are attaching your main to your rig, and yes, if you need to cutaway it “should” let go (break the elastic, or release the magnet). I don’t like tying my deployed main to any part of me or my rig except by the 3-ring assembly. Things can and will go wrong. Lastly, it adds “snag” potential for both your main and your reserve (See the picture of the ball & Elastic showing a real-world snag). Again, this is bad, and you shouldn’t be jumping with these at all.
So how do you keep your slider down without “tying” it to something? Easy!
Have your rigger (I can do this for you) install some Brian Germain designed “SLOX” or “slider lock” to your main risers.
These are a small piece of Dacron line added (sewn) 2” above the base of both your main front risers. You slide your slider down past your toggles, and pull the slider grommets past the slider lock, and the slider stays in place. Your slider is “stuck” at the bottom of the risers – and best of all – Nothing is tied to your rig/collar/etc. Your cutaway system will work as designed, as will your reserve deployment system, as there is nothing attached to the reserve top flap.
Here are a few pictures to help you visualize what these look like:
— Alain Bard has been an active skydiver since 2003. Alain holds the following CPSA ratings: D CoP, Skydiving Coach Level 2, Jumpmaster (JM), Ground Control Instructor (GCI), Skydive School Instructor (SSI), Skydive School Examiner (SSE), Exhibition Jump Rating (EJR), Parachute Rigger (RA). He is also a Skydiving Tandem Instructor. Alain is a certified Hot Air Balloon Pilot (Transport Canada)
Alain is a certified Paramotor Pilot (Transport Canada) Alain is a certified Paraglider Pilot (HPAC)