- 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.