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The Skyhook

By Jim Crouch

Reprinted from November 2005 Parachutist magazine

As president of the Relative Workshop, Bill Booth has spent decades testing different types of cutaway systems. All that testing and research eventually led to the development of the Skyhook RSL system, which is mandatory on the company’s tandem and student containers and an option on its Micron sport rig.

The Skyhook goes two steps beyond a normal RSL system. It automatically releases the non-RSL riser in case the riser with the RSL releases prematurely (ensuring the reserve will not deploy with half the main canopy still attached). The Skyhook then uses the departing malfunctioned main canopy as a super pilot chute to deploy the reserve canopy, taking about a half second from breakaway to reserve line stretch (reserve canopy out of the bag). This is three to four times faster than a pilot chute alone can do, and the average sport reserve can inflate within 75 to 80 feet after a breakaway, according to Booth.

Booth originally developed the Skyhook for tandem systems to speed the reserve deployments, adding a greater margin of safety against the tandem pair’s fouling the reserve deployment after a cutaway.

For more information, visit Relative Workshop's website.