ITEM: (TICC) Training Syllabus, Appendix M
IDENTIFICATION: (TICC) Training Syllabus, Appendix M, PN 590011 Rev L Dual Hawk Passenger Harness, PN 240075-4
BACKGROUND: Strong Enterprises started tandem parachuting in 1983, developed,TSO'd and has marketed the Dual Hawk Tandem system since 1985. Tandem jumping is the most popular method of providing a skydive to people interested in experiencing the sport. Presently there have been over 2,000 Dual Hawk Tandem Systems manufactured and sold thought the world. There are over 4,300 registered Tandem Instructors certified to use the Dual Hawk Tandem System. It is estimated that there have been over 2 million tandem jumps made on the Dual Hawk tandem System. Although there have been parachute malfunctions and canopy damage, there has been no incidents or reports of harness (student/passenger or instructor harness) failure. A recent (May 27, 2006) tandem passenger fatality, in which the student/passenger slipped out of the harness backwards between the back diagonal straps and the horizontal back strap during main canopy deployment has led to this Service Bulletin.
FACTORS: This specific accident involves a 5ft. 4in. female student/passenger that weighted 230 lbs. The Tandem Instructor was 5ft. 11in. and 145 lbs. Ground video footage verifies that the harness was not properly adjusted and extremely loose on the student/passenger before boarding the aircraft. Video footage of the drogue fall shows the student/passenger's horizontal back strap was located under at least one leg strap (between the leg strap and the passengers leg), not around the lower back as intended. Also, the main lift webs, diagonal back straps and lower attachment points from the tandem instructor to the student/passenger harness are all out to the maximum length.
SERVICE BULLITEN: It is important for Tandem Instructors to know that they are ultimately the responsible person for all aspects of the tandem jump. They are responsible to assure a proper fit of the harness, it's comfort and safety as well as the entire performance of the tandem jump for themselves and the student/passenger. The procedure of fitting the harness must be accomplished on the ground, where adjustments in proper harness fit can comfortably be made, thoroughly checked and verified, before boarding the aircraft.
Each and every current Strong Tandem Instructor should review the TICC Appendix M, to re-familiarize themselves with instructions for fitting the Passenger Harness PN 240075-4 to the student/passenger. These instructions are attached to this Bulletin.
It is also important for Drop Zone management to establish guidelines of any physical or mental limitations for evaluating potential tandem student/passengers to as certain that they are capable of being able to provide a safe and comfortable tandem parachute jump within these parameters.
QUALIFIED PERSONNEL: Current Strong Rated T/I
COMPLIANCE DATE: June 2, 2006
DISTRIBUTION: FAA, USPA, Foreign Parachute Organizations, Dual Hawk Tandem owners on record, Parachutist, www.strongparachutes.com.