Like most sports, skydiving is dependent on the weather outside – weather that has not been entirely inviting, as of late! However, while you wait for the opportunity to make your next jump, there are plenty of ways to plan, prepare, and secure yourself for future adventures.
Make good use of that waiting time by getting your equipment properly checked, fixed, and replaced by a rigger, as needed.
Check Your Canopy Lines
The fabric of a canopy often proves to be very resilient and can last for some time before ever needing repair or replacement. Canopy lines, however, wear at a faster rate and can become prone to failure much quicker. To further complicate things, the lifespan of lines varies greatly. Dacron or Microline may last several hundred jumps before showing major signs of wear, whereas, Vectran may not make it past a few dozen. Take the time to have your line set checked out by a rigger, even if everything looks fine. It isn’t like you can take it out during a snowstorm, anyway.
Get Your Chute Up to Snuff
Even though a chute is certain to last longer than most lines, it is always a good idea to verify yours is in good, useable condition, whenever possible. An unchecked chute could lead to problems such as hard, delayed, or even failed openings due to easily avoidable circumstances. Pilot chute replacement is usually cheap and can be done while replacing the lines, so why not? Just like the cliché, it is better to be safe than sorry.
While you’re at it, be sure to check your risers and keepers, replacing them whenever necessary. Like everything else on a rig, these have lifespans of their own and should be maintained regularly.
Repack Those Reserves
Although, reserves are something you never want to use, it’s nice knowing you can rely on them if needed. Why would you not want to make sure it is packed properly? Even if you’ve never used your reserve and know that it was previously packed appropriately, there’s no telling what has happened to it since. Set aside some free time to repack your chute, so there’s no need to worry about it later on! For those not certified in rig assembly, it is advised to have your canopy and reserve professionally packed by a rigger. Remember, riggers often charge more to hit early deadlines, so take advantage of the off-season by having them pack it as soon as possible.
Keep it Clean
Make your equipment look like new! Get a rigger to disassemble and clean your rig while you aren’t using it. While it doesn’t typically affect performance, it’s always good to keep stains and grime off your parachute and container.
It is important to note that cleaning your equipment often requires much assembly and disassembly. If you’re not certified – even if you think you have the time to learn before your next jump – make sure to have it properly cleaned by a trained professional. Riggers don’t tend to charge a lot for these kinds of services and it will save you from the risk of more time-consuming trouble.
To sum things up, when the weather’s bad, use it to your advantage! Pay your favorite rigger a visit and have them perform some maintenance, wherever needed. Doing so could save you time and money, keeping you free the moment the sky is ready again.