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Articles from Saturday and Sunday, 1/13 & 1/14/2001  [SD Saturday]  [SD Sunday Flight]  [SD Sunday Reserve Deployment]
[Ron Faoro Sat & Sunday] [Tom Beidler Comment] [Benson Flight] [Benson Observation] [Kevin Dumain Reflections]

01/14/2001

Sundowner's Article about his Sunday Reserve Deployment   see also SD's Flight Article

A NE wind about 5-8 was riding over the top of lower air drawing from the South.  Coming back from Cathedral I thought I could climb up the north side of the clouds and searched for a thermal just downwind of the ridge east of the Tit.  I thought I would drop below the north at lower altitude but was still drifting from the north just a few hundred over the ridge.  Toward the east end of the ridge the NE increased, I presume due to the drain path out Flores Flat. I was getting some turb due to the sheer and the lee side action so I decided to fall off down wind to the right and get out of the sheer zone.  I got whacked and looked up to access the configuration.

The decision to deploy was the obvious choice.  I didn't analyze the configuration but more than 50% was tucked under and possibly cravated.  I had lost control and the canopy was starting to spiral dive. I didn't think I could regain control with the available altitude even if I wanted to try.  My altitude was low, maybe 300 feet, so there was enough room for a successful deployment, but I needed to be deliberate.

Once I decided to deploy I quit trying to fly and focused my attention on finding the reserve handle.  I pulled myself to the right and visually found the handle, grabbed it and pulled.  I was going to pull and throw in one motion because I was in a hurry but didn't feel I had enough momentum.  I gave the handle a wind up swing and release.  I never saw the reserve canopy until after I was on the ground.  I did catch a piece of something flying away in my periphery.  There was a surreal moment where it was like one of those falling dreams.  I thought the reserve had detached and I was still falling.  Of course it was just the deployment bag.

I could feel the deceleration but was still in a spiral with plenty of speed.  It took a rotation or more to settle out and I wasn't sure if I would hit on the bottom of a pendulum.  It all settled out and 3 to 5 seconds later I was in the brush.  The ground cover was thick and about 10 to 15 feet high.  I went through to the soft dirt on a 30 slope.  My helmet was still on and radio undamaged.  I called back to report in, and Dan Keyser notified the Sheriff.

My medium Bonanza is a DHV 2-3, but only in accelerated asymmetrics.  It behaves pretty well for it's performance but does tend to get behind me.  I've flown higher performance wings but I'd been flying the Atlas and the Quantum for some time.  The lower aspect-ratio wings are a lot more fun in the nasty air and I can't go all the places in the Bonanza that I used to go in the Atlas.  It's all a trade off.  When I hit the nasty stuff I'd rather be on a 1-2, but the speed, glide, and sink rate of the higher aspect ratio is addicting also.

This was my eight reserve deployment (do I get to use 9 or is 9 all you get).  I've had 2 in skydiving, 2 hang gliding, and 4 paragliding.  My number 2 & 3 paragliding deployments were unsuccessful so I'm 2 n 2 now.  To my knowledge, this was the first successful paragliding reserve deployment in Santa Barbara.  Jim and Rolf both had previous unsuccessful attempts. 

 

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