All the moving parts making up your kill-line collapsible pilot chute add maintenance requirements, some very important. You kill line can be too short, too long, break, and tear up your bridle.
The most serious problem is a short kill line, and they shrink a little each time you jump. That can ultimately prevent the pilot chute from producing full drag, leading to pilot chute hesitations, slow D-bag extractions, bag locks, line twist and worse.
You can check it as you pack. Fully set the pilot chute and hold it set with light tension. Look inside the mesh portion of the pilot chute. The internal limiter tapes running from the base of the pilot chute to the handle should be taut with the kill line slightly relaxed. With the hand that holds the bridle as you set it, you should barely feel the kill line inside the outer bridle if at all. You especially should not be able to slide the outer bridle along the kill line once the pilot chute is cocked. If you can, it’s time to adjust or replace your kill line.
Sometimes, you may feel a friction bump as you set the pilot chute like it doesn’t want to set all the way. It happens especially with Vectors as the kill line starts to wear, and that needs a rigger’s attention. Fortunately, a broken kill line isn’t all that serious unless you’re trying to go “swoosh” in the high-performance landing area. Since the pilot chute will stay inflated after opening, they’ll just go “fwoofff-b-b-b-ouch!”
If your bridle consistently twists up, it may be that your kill line is too long. In the extreme, it can keep the pilot chute from fully collapsing.
Your friendly riggers in the Rahlmo loft can adjust or replace your kill line, but sometimes—especially if the bridle is badly burned or frayed, it may be time for a new pilot chute. We keep them in stock, because these things do wear out!
Kevin “Rahlmo” Gibson
Master Rigger, DPRE
Rahlmo’s Rigging provides full-time sales, packing, and maintenance support of all major brands of new and high-quality used skydiving equipment. Rahlmo’s FAA master riggers provide reliable training for packing, inspections, buyer support, from A-license student skydivers to training and testing for FAA Rigger Certificates. Visit the full-service rigging loft, showroom, and accessories case at the top of the stairs in the operations hangar at Skydive Orange.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.