“If we can design our equipment around how people behave when they are under stress, then we will have much more success.”
In this brilliant video Dr Matt Wilkes explains his findings from an important study into how paraglider pilots throw their reserves.
Taking 52 pilots on a zip-line at the Thames Valley Big Fat Re-Pack, he videoed how each pilot deployed their reserve. He then analysed the footage second by second, to come to several important conclusions.
His results, which are published in full in Cross Country 206 (Dec/Jan 2020), include
- Average time to throw is two seconds
- Pilots feel for the reserve handle first, look second
- We all naturally pull up
- Short pilots need short strops
- Front-mounted reserves flip up without an anchor
- Practice on a zip-line or SIV helps
- Standardise the position of under-seat reserve handles so they are on the hip
- Ensure strops are the correct length for the size of the pilot
- Make deployment bags extractable with any angle of pull
- Secure front-mounted reserve containers at the base
- Deploy in a single, backwards sweeping action
- Increase reserve-location drills by an order of magnitude.