System Components – Front & Back

Skydive Seven Algarve Portugal


Harness/Container System

The harness contains two sections, one holding your reserve parachute, and one holding your main parachute. At the bottom of the harness is a small pouch (called a BOC, or Bottom of Container) which holds your pilot chute. Your pilot chute is like a small parachute enclosed at the bottom with mesh. When you throw out the handle connected to the pilot chute into the clean air rushing past you, the pilot chute fills with air and acts like an anchor, dragging out your main parachute, and allowing that to fill with air and inflate. The harness also has your red cutaway handle on the front right hand side, and your steel reserve handle on the front left hand side.

Main Canopy

This is your primary parachute, deployed by your pilot chute. It consists of nine cells, which are open at the front (the nose) and taper to a close at the rear (the tail). It is known as a ram-air parachute because air gets rammed through the open cells at the front. It has droopy sides (stabilizers) on either side which act like the fin on a surfboard, or a keel on a yacht. You steer the main parachute by pulling down on the steering handle (toggle) of the direction you want to go. The toggles are connected to your brake lines which are connected to the back corners of the parachute. You can slow your descent rate (flare) by pulling both the toggles evenly all the way down. You must do this when you land the parachute.

Reserve Canopy

This is our emergency parachute which is only used in the event of a main canopy malfunction. It is flown in the same way as the main parachute but it is deployed a little differently. In the event of a malfunction, you must first cutaway the malfunctioning main. This is not done using a knife but by a handle on the front right of your harness. It is very important to cutaway the malfunctioning main before deploying the reserve. The reserve is deployed by pulling the silver handle on the left hand front of the harness. This pulls a ripcord which is attached to a pin which is holding in a tightly coiled spring inside a spring-loaded pilot chute, which ejects out of your harness, fills with air and drags out the reserve canopy. We take the reserve very seriously. It is inspected and packed every six months by a professional, has none or very little use, and has additional safety features not practical to have on your main.

Automatic Activation Device (AAD)

Most commonly referred to by their brands, CYPRES and VIGIL. They consist of a microcomputer that measures speed and altitude. If a skydiver passes through a height 750 feet above the ground while travelling at high speed the AAD will cut the loops that holds down the pin on the reserve ripcord, and the spring-loaded pilot chute will fire out of the harness.

Other Equipment

Altimeter: Usually mounted on the left wrist, displays altitude above the ground in feet. The analog altimeter is not 100% precise, thus, it cannot be set during flight. Radio: Used to assist the student following the canopy deployment. Nevertheless, the student should not depend on the radio during canopy flight. Helmet: Used to protect the student’s head during all jump phases. Goggles: Used as eye protection during freefall, against the relative wind. The goggles should not narrow the field of vision. Jumpsuit: A protective suit with arms and legs grips in order to facilitate the instructor’s job and also to guarantee that the handles are clear to use without any obstructions.
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