With winter in full swing and many of us who have been on the ground since November (yes, I’m slightly ashamed by this fact) are getting the itch to do anything skydiving related, now is a great time to get those pesky little to-dos out of the way.
You know, rig inspections, reserve repacks, cypress maintenance, all those little safety things that, come May, you’ll be so thankful you did so that you’re not out of commission, or worse, spending your hard-earned cash renting gear while your Cypress is in for it’s 4-year.
So if you haven’t already, pull out your reserve repack card and take a look. If you’re due anytime in the next few months, it might be time to start thinking about setting up a time for a repack so you can spend every moment of nice weather this spring doing what you love most – and no, that doesn’t mean hovering over your rigger for that last-minute repack so you can get back in the air.
Speaking personally, I’m kinda kicking myself for not having thought about this sooner. In all reality, in December I should have remembered that my Cypress is due for it’s 8-year maintenance and sent it in – especially knowing that I’m due for a reserve repack in February anyhow. For those who are new to the sport, when you’re dealing with AAD maintenance, it’ll require a reserve repack as well – do yourself a favor and time it right so you can kill two birds with one stone.
One thing to remember when you have an AAD, especially a Cypress, is that you have regular intervals where this little bomb on your back needs some TLC. Battery changes and manufacturer maintenance can come at the most inopportune times if you’re not diligent. With Cypress, you have to send the device in for two weeks – add shipping time in there and you’re looking to have your rig out of commission for the better part of three weeks. What a more convenient time to get this out of the way than during winter when, if you’re like me this year, it’s very likely you’re sitting on the ground (well, for at least 3 consecutive weeks at some point or another).
Another good suggestion, while your rigger has your gear, is to have him give it a good once over. Some riggers don’t include inspections in their reserve repack pricing, so you can’t just assume it’s going to happen. Most good riggers do take the time to look over your rig, after all, your safety is their priority (if it wasn’t they wouldn’t waste their time getting paid pennies to ensure you have a reliable back up ride in case of emergency, now would they?). But you can’t just assume that’s going to be the case as every rigger is different.
Take time this winter to establish a rapport with your rigger. Let him learn about you, your skydiving habits, your wants and desires in the sport. Build up a little trust in this person who may be packing your next reserve ride. Having a solid relationship with your rigger will help, trust me. Besides, if they know that you typically throw your rig on the bottom of the closet in your damp basement, at least they’ll know to look for black mold during a repack.
For those that didn’t catch it, that was a bit of sarcasm. Please, never, ever store your rig in an unsafe place. Invest in a gear bag, keep it in a cool, dry place. We may all be thrill seekers, but most skydivers I know don’t seriously have a death wish…
Alright, enough with the black death talk. Point here is, take care of your gear. Do it now before the weather turns nice and you’re spending a day on the ground because your reserve repack date was on the most beautiful day of the spring.