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You are Here: Parachute History.com >> Malfunctions >> Down Plane

Down Plane

A downplane occurs when two ramair parachutes are inflated simultaneously and both fly towards the ground. The descent rate under a downplane is very high. Landing a downplane will usually result in severe injuries or death.

The most common ways jumpers end up in this dreaded scenario are:

  • pulling the main when the AAD fires
  • pulling the reserve after a pilot chute in tow and the main comes out
Both of these cases imply that the jumper is low. Quick action is required. Disconnect the RSL only if time permits, and then cutaway.

A study done by Performance Designs showed that downplanes happened when the main bag tumbled while deploying, creating line twists on the main.

In most cases, what started out as a downplane quickly evolved into a side-by-side with no input from the jumper. The main would usually still have line twists in the side by side. This configuration would suggest a cutaway.

Downplanes are a situation to be avoided. This can be done by:

  • pulling the main above AAD activation altitude
  • pulling the reserve if a jumper knows he is at or below the AAD activation altitude
  • avoiding a pilot chute in tow

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