Dear Royal Air Force,
Could you please provide me with any information that you may have on the forces exerted upon the human body during a high rotational spin, including how to make such calculations.
I am researching the physical capabilities of the human body under these conditions.
I was in just such a situation when a skydive went wrong (I am an experienced skydiver) and was unable to cutaway the main canopy due to the forces exerted upon my body. I pulled the reserve parachute ripcord at 1,800 feet having had a malfunction of the main parachute at 5,500 feet with a rate of descent of approximately 6,600 FPM which I later timed using the video footage.
Although the rotation and the vertical speed reduced I never saw the reserve parachute at anytime, and not knowing if it was fully and properly inflated or not, I was not prepared to even attempt another go at cutting away the main as I could have been cutting away into an even worse situation.
Later when someone else pulled the cutaway handle on the ground it came out with ease as it would do due to the unrealistic so called 'Test'.
The end result was a stay for over two months in hospital.
I have just retired as an airline pilot and during my flying career also taught aerobatics.
Unfortunately, in the skydiving world we do not have scientific equipment to analyze why, and what, prevented a person carrying out what is really a very simple drill, and which I have done on numerous occasions. By trying to understand why I was unable to cutaway using theory as no measuring equipment is carried on skydives, I hope to shed some light on what happened that day.
Unfortunately, a few others have died in just such an emergency, but I survived to tell the tale.
All I can do is to make people aware of the forces involved and how unsuitable a certain type of cutaway pad is under these conditions. As for me, I have already decided to use a different, and not so commonly used handle, as after all I was able to pull my reserve parachute ripcord under the same forces!
Thank you in advance for your help.
Dear Les Cooper
Your request has been logged under our reference 2019/00658 and the target
date for response is 12/02/2019.
Air Command Secretariat
Dear Mr Cooper,
Please find attached response to your recent FOI request.
Air Command Secretariat