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Benson Lamb
Sunday, 1/14/2014

Observation of SD's Reserve Deployment

Many people report different scenarios when an incident occurs. This is what I recall.

I saw SD flying East towards the ridge between the Holy Hills and the R&R.  He was about 250 feet above the ridge and apparently behind the ridge enough to give him another 100 feet or more of ground clearance.  One side (60 to 70%) of his canopy was deflated by turbulence or rotor, and the glider began to rotate into a spiral dive almost immediately.  An instant later the canopy was in a full stall configuration, horseshoe shaped with the wing tips up, and still in a spiral.  It appeared that the full stall prevented an increase of spiral G-force, but the canopy and SD were still rotating… the canopy was not stabilizing overhead.  I figured SD had stalled the glider to re-boot the canopy.  About 50 feet above the ridge I caught a glimpse of something coming from SD, at a 45 degree angle to the North.  In the next instant the Reserve opened and slowed the descent slightly, but also seemed to increase the spiral slightly, and the main canopy’s attitude went more horizontal.  SD disappeared over the ridge and instantly reported that he was OK.