RANGER AGAINST WAR: Malfunction Junction <

Friday, February 19, 2010

Malfunction Junction

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find

You get what you need

--You Can't Always Get What You Want
Rolling Stones

I regret nothing, since it is meaningless to regret

--The Fifth Woman
, Henning Mankell

Some further reflection on my equipment malfunction dream from the previous post.

Unless it was provoked by the multitude of Viagra ads in my Inbox, this really was a dream about parachutes, so a little further explanation may be helpful.

Only once was a main chute malfunction experienced and that was simply a Mae West, which is usually caused by a weak exit. This was possible since there was a lot of weight hanging from my body.

On one night equipment jump on a tactical exercise Ranger noticed a plethora of blown panels on his main chute. Since he was experienced with jumping Double L's and 7 Gore TU's, his inspection indicated that the while the main was indeed full of holes, his descent relative to other jumpers was not too much greater. Hence, no punch out on the the reserve because this employment is always problematic without a cutaway with the main.

The OZSO also comes to mind. His function is to let you know if you've got a problem, so presumably you can snap into action. Wouldn't it be nice in life if we had such watchers on the lookout to tell us when we are off-course?

My experience with malfunction has been negligible and largely academic, but the contingencies must be well-understood, since going to a reserve can often make things worse. Observation and evaluation before action is critical.

What you have might just get you through.



Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one of the biggest things that chutes have working for them is that by physics and design, they want to work, and tend to work even when little things go a bit wrong.

leonardo's designs didn't have vent holes in them, the chutes wobbled and didn't maintain a steady down pace because of that.

i'm not surprised that your chute, even with some extra venting did just fine.

once on the ground, i've had more than one "holy fuck" moment.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 6:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

You know, depending on a piece of rag tied to your backside to get you where you want to go isn't my idea of "just going to work". Especially when the work involves metal projectiles coming in your direction. All for what, $50, $100 extra a month? There's got to be an easier way to make a living. Don't take me the wrong way, I know it isn't just about the money. I can understand the motivations. What I want to know is, does there come a point in time where you realize that you only get so many near misses and realize maybe you've used all yours up?

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 9:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

ok barca, i'll bite.

because it's fun.

halo jumps are fun. just about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.

the realizations about the piling up of near misses, finally did start to hit me. thing was, it didn't hit until i was over 40 and long gone from the action.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 1:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

some parachutes can be slightly modified to be safer and more reliable like this one....

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 5:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


This looks like a Swiss design. I like it :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

barca: ...and there is something to be said for an exceptionally high degree of strategic mobility. The ability to leap over defended chokepoints or critical terrain is a great advantage to have in your pocket.

Personally...MB is right that jumping is fun - to a point. I didn't enjoy it as a private, when you were shoved out the door like a bundle. I was in the kinder, gentler Army so I missed the era of the "stick-pushers", the big guys the JM would put in the front of the aircraft whose job it was to get the entire stick out on a single green light. But it was still chaotic, noisy and intimidating.

All that changed after jumpmaster school. Getting some control helps, as well as being able to make sure that everything's rigged right and good to go. Plus I did a couple of admin jumps from altitude and got to hang out under the canopy for a while - that IS fun.

But the bottom line is that there really is no "safe" way to go to war. My feeling was and is that I'd take my chances with my 'chute before I'd let myself get crammed into the back of some aluminum-
"armored" box on tracks (crammed with fuel and ammo) and trust my driver not to skyline or wander into an RPG trap delivering me to the LD. Brrrr. Sod THAT for a game of soldiers...

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 1:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You felt like a bundle b/c that's what you were-a bundle of trouble rigged to land on a battlefield.
People fail to realize what you point out-armor/mech/leg/Ranger/Marine amphib/are only modes of transportation to get you to the fight,which also affects the way that you fight.Light/leg/airborne are all the same once you get there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  

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