WestPoint Skydiving Adventures
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WestPoint Skydiving Adventures: Professional Skydiving Instruction - The Safest Place To Skydive In Virginia*


- Freefall from 13,000 feet
- Fly more than 120 MPH
- Excitement of a lifetime!

What Kind Of Tandem Parachutes Do You Use?

Most skydiving students are unaware that there are different types of skydiving equipment available to drop zones to use for tandem skydiving or solo skydiving. For tandem jumps in the U.S., there are three major manufacturers for tandem systems. At West Point Skydiving Adventures we have chosen to use the Strong Enterprises Dual Hawk tandem system. Ted Strong and Bill Booth (www.unitedparachutetechnologies.com) came up with the idea for tandem skydiving over 20 years ago in 1983. While both Bill and Ted have created terrific tandem systems, we have chosen to use the Strong system over the United Parachute Technologies Sigma for our customers.

We use the Strong system for several key reasons, most of which would be hard for the average tandem student to understand. But we will try and explain it in a way that the average new jumper can understand.

  • The Strong SET-400 main canopy has been in development for over 10 years and provides excellent flying characteristics, particularly for openings and landings-the two most critical points for tandem canopies. The canopy opens very soft and reliably, and the landings are excellent.
  • The harness and container system that the tandem instructor wears for the tandem jump include critical safety systems which help ensure that the instructor and student remain safe-Even if the instructor does not perform emergency procedures correctly! Here is why: Many of the early errors in tandem emergency procedures came about because there is an extra step to tandem emergency procedures which are not part of regular sport jumper skydiving emergency procedures. That is-there is an additional handle involved which is used to release the drogue parachute. During actual emergency situations, some tandem instructors failed to pull the drogue release handle first, which is a critical step in tandem emergency procedures. Strong Enterprises studied videos of early tandem instructors failing to react correctly, and modified their tandem system with simple yet ingenious changes that ensure that even if the tandem instructor does not release the drogue parachute first, the drogue will still be released when the main canopy cutaway handle is pulled. Another modification, developed over the years, involved the main container to ensure it stayed securely closed during freefall. The system now uses a 12-inch long cable and two closing loops to secure the main container. By comparison, a sport skydiving rig for solo jumpers uses only a 1-inch curved metal pin and one closing loop. While this sounds like Greek to most of you reading this, suffice it to say that this system is in place to virtually eliminate the chance of the main container opening before the actual main canopy deployment sequence. These two modifications have made this tandem system safe and reliable, even if the instructor should pull the handles out of order. Of course, our tandem instructors have been thoroughly trained and review their emergency procedures on every skydive, so the equipment modifications are simply a nice back-up for our training program.

The two-loop closing system

  • The reserve system is tough and durable, with a reserve parachute which is rated to 500 pounds total exit weight and a deployment speed of 180 knots. Each tandem system is equipped with a computerized Automatic Activation Device which senses the altitude and descent rate during each skydive. If the system is passing through 2,000 feet at a speed of 78 mph or more the reserve parachute is automatically deployed by the AAD.

We have chosen the Strong Dual Hawk Tandem system because of the excellent system design, the safety features, and excellent performance for the benefit of our staff and the safety of our students.

Tandem two-loop closing system