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182 Pilots Must Watch the Door

Jump pilots, especially Cessna 182 pilots, must always be ready for a premature parachute deployment. 182s seem to more susceptible since jumpers often need to twist, turn and maneuver in the confined space to reorient from a sitting position to one ready to climb out. It is easy for pilot chutes, drogue chutes, and ripcords and closing pins to be dislodged during these movements. Fortunately, 182 pilots, being right beside the jump door, are in a good position to monitor jumper movement near the door, and to take action when a pilot chute or deployment bag are dislodged. Once the jump door is open, a jump pilot must split his or her focus between flying the airplane and watching the door and jumper climbouts, being ready to grab any jumper and halt a climbout if anything doesn't look right about a jumper's rig. In this video, a jumper's main deployment bag is dislodged and falls to the floor as he pivots out and onto the step. The jumper behind grabs the deployment bag and tosses it out, with the quick deployment just missing the tail. While it all turned out okay, there is a case to be made that the third jumper or the pilot should have grabbed the exiting jumper and prevented him from climbing out, while also containing the deployment bag and pilot chute to prevent their exit. Two more points: 1) 182 pilots should always be ready to quickly hit right rudder to swing the tail away from a deploying parachute. 2) Gear checks save lives; skydivers should check their gear before they put it on, should get a full gear check before boarding the aircraft, and should check their handles before moving toward the door on jump run.

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