First jump test-driving the new rig that I'm thinking of buying. The container fits nicely; the weight is comfortable. It has the little extras that I want like dive rings and a collapsible slider. The AAD still has four years left on its service cycle. The price is really good.
I step out at 14,500 and the container flies great. I can move cleanly on all three axes; I can invert and I can back-fly without any resistance.
It's an unfamiliar canopy so I deploy at twice my usual altitude.
I feel the container pop and I get pulled into a standing position but I do not slow down.
Looking over my shoulder I can clearly see my lines leading up to the deployment bag, in which my canopy is still tightly tucked with only a few feet of material hanging out into the wind that do virtually nothing to slow my decent.
With hand on cutaway handle, my eyes flash back and forth from my altimeter to the mass of lines and bridle trailing behind me. I say to myself, 'This is not my parachute. I can't go back to Falconer and tell him that I cut away his main first time out.' Of course this is with the caveat that I am still speeding towards Mother Earth at over a hundred miles per hour so that thought soon shifts to, 'If I'm not open by 3500, I'll chop it.'
Two heartbeats short of me cutting away, the bag slides down, the canopy opens and I find myself sailing gracefully at three thousand feet with naught but a closed end-cell to show for the near-malfunction.
I stand up directly on target and make three more incident-free jumps on that gear that day.
I love this shit.