Not only was it my first jump at Deland or in the U.S. in general, but it also ended up being the jump that I had to deploy my reserve. The jump started well as a 5-way group with the local instructor Carl. We broke off the formation at 1.500 m and opened at approx. 1.200 - 1.000 m. The parachute opened a bit slower than usual but I very quickly realized something was very wrong, the canopy was making me go in circles, but not spirals, I wasn’t loosing height quickly but it all came down to my first cell from the left (the parachute is a 7-cell Atair Dragon 170). Nothing helped, including pumping risers or brakes or doing turns. I had no alternative than to revert to my basic training for emergency procedures: my parachute was unstable and not safe to land so I had to cut-away and deploy the reserve.
There was a bit of confusion as to where the reserve was but others managed to find the free-bag and the parachute, but not the red cut-away handle - a new one was installed by the makers of the rig itself as they have their factory only 100 m from the Deland DZ. I even got the grand tour of the place :-) Thanks Terry.