Two emergency parachutes are de rigour for acro pilots. Now there is a proposal from CIVL that all entrants to Category 1 competitions follow suit. Coming from the review into competition safety, it sits alongside a range of other proposals.
There appears to be suspicion rather than evidence that lives would have been saved by a second parachute. There have been a number of tragic incidents where pilots have failed to deploy, but the reasons aren't clear. Could the pilot's hand have been trapped in riser twists? Possibly the pilot could not reach the handle for some other reason? Maybe excessive G-force caused the pilot to black out? Can we be sure that the disorientated pilot was able to make the decision to deploy? There are documented cases of parachutes failing to open properly, for example when they get caught in the lines of the glider.
If past history is an indicator, it is fair to assume that a rule change in Category 1 events will also be taken on in Category 2 events, so lots of pilots could be affected. If a second parachute would be a genuine step forward in safety in competitions then isn't it also a good idea for general XC flying?
Opinions are split and personally I am unconvinced by the proposal. I would prefer it be left as a strong recommendation for the time being. I can understand that pilots are very wary of the additional weight, expense and complexity. Thankfully it won't require a change of harness for too many: in addition to the reserve installed as normal in the harness, a front mounted second parachute would do the job. It would have the added benefit of being deployable by either hand.
Perhaps this is a proposal we should not resist. There is strength in the argument that if a second parachute saves just one life then it it worth it.