the name given to any situation where there is a problem with either the main or reserve parachute. If the problem is with the main, the usual course of action is to cut away the main and deploy the reserve. This is very rare - there are skydivers with thousands of jumps who have never experienced a malfunction.
A malfunction is a partial or total failure of a parachuting device to operate as intended. Malfunctions can range from annoying to life-threatening, depending on severity and on the type of equipment in which they occur. Parachute malfunctions may require a skydiver to cutaway his or her main parachute and deploy the reserve parachute.