BASE Jumping a Pin Rig

By: Todd Shoebotham


When you step up to the higher performance of a pin-closed BASE jumping container, you need to step up your own performance too because pin rigs demand more user knowledge and awareness due to components and characteristics not found on Velcro-closed containers.

1. Loop length. The loop must be the right length. If it's too long, the pins may come out too soon if it's too short, they may come out too late.

2. Loop thickness. The loop must be thin enough to slide easily in and out of the grommet. If it is too thick, it can jam in the grommet and impede deployment.

3. Loop type. The loop type will increase or decrease pin tension as the material is changed. The standard nylon (Type 2a) loop inflict medium friction at the pin. A Spectra (725) loop will reduce friction at the pin (possibly better for low free falls or static line). A loop made of Dacron (525) will increase the friction.

4. Canopy compatibility. The canopy must be the right size for the container. If it's too small, the pins will be loose and may extract prematurely no matter how small you make the loops. Conversely, if the canopy is too big, you can make the pin loops so tight the pins can't extract at all. This is not a problem with a Velcro rig if the canopy's too big for the container, it won't stay closed. With a pin rig, however, a determined jumper with a pull-up cord could close such a canopy-container combo, and it would stay closed – potentially all the way to impact because the loops are too tight.

5. Pack job distribution. With a pin rig, even the right canopy/container combo can cause problems if the pack job is improperly distributed in the container. Too much or too little material under one or both pins could cause either premature deployments or towed pilot chutes.

6. Pin protector flaps do require force to open. In most high airspeed deployments this is not generally an issue. However, in low airspeed deployments the pin protector flap may hesitate pin extraction. If a pin rig is going to be used for hand held or any low airspeed jumps the user should seriously consider opening the pin protector flap. Opening it will allow the pilot chute forces to go directly to the pins.


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