Keep an Eye Out | Harness Inspection
Keep An Eye Out | Mar 09, 2022
Keep an Eye Out | Harness Inspection

Shauna Finley

Recently, a jumper with about 35 jumps made a downwind landing in gravel, resulting in a face plant, skinned palms and a walk of shame across the airport. Because of the gravel landing, a rigger offered to inspect the 30-ish-year-old rig, which a group of newer jumpers had purchased together so that they could get into the sky on a budget.

The rig had an adjustable main lift web and laterals. A cursory inspection of the hardware showed no nicks or scrapes, but the adjustable part of the main lift web had debris and grass wedged in the folds of the webbing. When the rigger extended the webbing to remove the debris, she found several areas of damage (slices and general wear) to the webbing and the yellow indicator threads. Further inspection revealed fuzzy edges on both sets of reserve risers, mainly located under the reserve riser flaps just above the sewn-in, large ring in the 3-ring system. At this point, the rigger became uncomfortable with the condition of critical areas of the harness-and-container system and grounded the rig pending further inspection of all components.

The rig’s owners had a rigger assemble the gear when they acquired it, and it had reserve repacks several times since. Presumably, the rigger hadn’t noticed any wear and tear, and it's possible that the damage occurred after the rig’s last maintenance. Just as it is important for riggers to carefully inspect equipment, it is also important for the users of the equipment to perform their own inspections during regular use. This is particularly crucial for older gear that could be near the end of its lifespan. 

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