Cloud Dancer
Canopy Relative Work
2001 World Freefall Convention, Quincy, IL USA
August 5, 2001 (Sunday)
Speaker: Wendy Faulkner and Bill Runyon


The following material does not necessarily represent my opinions and represents my best effort to capture the material actually presented in the seminar. This material may contain significant errors.

Dacron lines are common on CRW rigs. Request all Dacron lines when you order. The center lines are red for visibility. As an option, the outboard lines may also be red. The end lines and centerlines are not cascaded. This allows CRW jumpers to slide all the way up or down the lines.

The pilot chute retracts. A pilot chute trailing behind the canopy can get caught when making docks.

Many CRW jumpers use deployment bags. However, some CRW jumpers prefer a tail pocket instead of a bag. A tail pocket provides for more consistent on heading openings while deployment bags are more likely to rotate during deployment.

Wear an altimeter. You need to observe breakoff altitudes as well as the hard deck for clearing wraps, etc. A chest mount altimeter is preferred. Hand mount altimeters can catch on lines.

Some CRW jumpers like a double toggle. It's nice to have something big to grab when you often switch between the front and rear risers. Front riser toggles have two to one tension. Often, when on the end of a formation, you need some front riser pressure to maintain the stability of the formation.

A wrap is when a canopy is wrapped around another jumper. An entanglement is when the parachutes are entangled. In a wrap, the lower jumper should cut away first. In an entanglement, the upper jumper should cutaway first. If below 500 feet, you should deploy the reserve into the mess. When in an emergency, communicate to the fellow CRW jumper(s) the altitude, the problem and the plan. If you just simply shout, "I'm going to cutaway," the other might think you are giving them the command to cutaway.

A drag plane is different from a down plane. In a drag plane, one is below the other. There is a lot of tension on the grip.

With an intentional cutaway rig, the chest mount parachute is deployed first.

If the third canopy up in a four stack collapses, the fourth or top person should not drop the bad canopy. The two bottom good canopies should be dropped first so that they can fly away. Bigger stacks sink downward more quickly. You can smack on center and the end cells will briefly surge forward. Get big so you don't go through the lines. But if you dock off center, one side of your canopy can wrap around to the front.

Toggle turns generate speed. When you stop, this converts into lift and carries you to the top of the stack. You should set up low and make a straight in approach.

Exits are important. Do a two to three second delay and deploy. If you are in a turn as you exit, you will turn into the formation as you open. An on heading opening is safe especially when doing a tight exit.

The most experienced CRW jumper should be the "pilot" up front. Use the toggles or the rear risers to dock to center of the pilot's back pack. The third and fourth person to dock will have to start their approach from an even lower position. A quick pump on the front risers will kill your lift if you have too much lift. During the last 50 feet of your approach, watch your canopy in relation to what you're docking on. Use this sight picture like a gun sight. If you overshoot, hit the brakes. If you have lost eye contact for more than five seconds, make one S turn off to the side by using a front riser. A toggle turn will lift you, which is not good.

4-way Diamond: It's important to plan ahead. Specify who will be the pilot, who will dock second, and who will dock third. Specify who will dock on the right and which side will dock first. When docking, the wing CRW jumpers can approach from a 45 degree angle and from below. Deliver the end cell to the shoulder of the pilot. If the pilot must reach too low, this can upset the formation. The pilot must maintain a dedicated heading, especially when there are 9 persons or more. Wings should come in at an angle so that momentum is absorbed on three different axes.

Because you create a burble, never fly in front of the formation. However, you should stay in front but off to the side so you can spiral down. CRW formations sink more than a single canopy. A center dock should be performed exactly on center and not from an angle. The wing people use an outside front riser. When receiving an end cell of another CRW jumper, the pilot doesn't want to make body movements in his harness as this causes his canopy to turn. It's more common to dock using the rear risers. They provides more lift without loss of drive. Don't do 360s. Use a S turn movement to position yourself. Always have an eye on the formation so you can adjust your S turn. Adjust how flat or diving your turns will be. If you're low, turn in half brakes. Don't get behind the formation. Don't get lower than your slot. Don't initiate any docking at an attitude lower than your cut away decision height. This is usually not below 1500 or 2000 feet.

While flying side by side, if one jumper is just ahead of the other you can get end cell suck.

Jumprun planning: Know the upper winds, the heading of the aircraft and jumprun and how this relates to the upper winds. It is ideal to fly into the wind. Get out short of where you will land. In strong winds, go past the spot anywhere from 1-12 miles. Learn by trial and error.

A Plane is different than a Stack in that the feet are below the slider. Climb down the lines evenly and hook one foot at a time. You need cross connectors so you don't pull up the slider. Especially bigger formations require cross connectors because of the greater tension. However, you can do a 4-way without cross connectors.

Wendy and Bill discuss some Parabatics and using a cross connector strap between their harnesses.

Regarding general skydiving survival skills... In dealing with an off heading opening, lean in the harness or use a rear riser to steer. If you are going to hit the lines of another jumper on collision course, get big. You may be able to back out. However, you will have line burns. On a collision course with a fast canopy, get little. Your objective is to get through, clear on the other side. If you have a good canopy above your head but you end up with nylon wrapped around you, you can simply just peel through it. Not being able to see can be scary. Don't cutaway as the mess about you can prevent your reserve from deploying. The jumper whom's canopy is wrapped about you can cut away safely. If on a collision course with a body to body strike, protect your head.

Cloud Dancer
© Copyright 2001. Tamara Koyn. All Rights Reserved.