View Full Version : Parachute HUPRA Use

Follow Me Through
22nd Feb 2012, 22:26
Does anyone have a copy of the video or a link to the video shown on the BBC 999 of the use of the Hung-Up Parachute Release Assembly on LXX Squadron C130 in the mid-90's? I suppose an episode number and year, 1995?, would be a start. Thanks in anticipation.

Airborne Aircrew
22nd Feb 2012, 22:32
This one?

Parachute hang up ( HUPRA) - YouTube

22nd Feb 2012, 22:52
Engineering authority for them a while ago, packed em many times, fitted em lots, never seen one used!

thanks AA :ok:

22nd Feb 2012, 23:48
Take it he was ok, fascinating stuff, would put me off for life! I take it he could be dropped anytime, the delay being bringing him back over the field.

Daf Hucker
23rd Feb 2012, 06:31
He didn't do very well, he was miles away from the pit when he landed! :E

23rd Feb 2012, 06:50
I thought they and he did well, dropped from 1000+ft, small chute,
no steering what so ever.

Better landing on the flat grass away from the pit than in the trees, the road
or the water they flew over.
23rd Feb 2012, 07:06
What happens if the short drop and stop renders the parachutist unconscious (whiplash for example)?

Suspension trauma could also induce fainting or even death if there is a long carry back to a safe drop area.

I thought the video was going to show a clever method of recovering the parachutist to the aircraft.

23rd Feb 2012, 07:22

Here's a Link ( with some further links on HUPRA. Also a link on Arrse (

Trim Stab
23rd Feb 2012, 09:37
That must have been terrifying, especially the second between the static line being cut and the chute deploying, as he probably had no idea what was going on.

On my basic para-course we were never trained nor even briefed on HUPRA deployment. I only became aware of its existence a few years later. He probably had never been briefed on it either.

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Feb 2012, 11:10
What happens if the short drop and stop renders the parachutist unconscious (whiplash for example)? The drill used to be that upon realizing you were hooked up you were to tap your helmet with one hand to indicate you were conscious and they would cut the cable. You were then expected to pull your reserve. HUPRA was developed after a man was cut free when he was unconscious. The slipstream had caused one arm to flap and appear to be tapping his helmet. He died. The HUPRA can be used whether a man is conscious or not because it has it's own parachute though they prefer you to be conscious in case of a malfunction, (you pull your reserve if that happens). When I was taught HUPRA drills we were to hold one hand or the other firmly on your helmet to indicate you are conscious.

Trim Stab:

I did my course in 1979 and we were taught it there at Brize. When did you do your course.

23rd Feb 2012, 11:10
I did basic para course in May 82 and I know we were briefed on and shown the HUPRA. I think we even had a run through on the ground in the dummy fuselage.

23rd Feb 2012, 11:36
He does give them a thumbs up at 55 seconds,
one would have thought you would need to be briefed as if when cut loose if he pulled the reserve that could cause complications when the other deployed..

Still a frightning thing

Top Bunk Tester
23rd Feb 2012, 11:42
If memory serves, I believe HUPRA was due to be withdrawn due to it never having been used and the week before it was due to be removed from all S/L Para sorties they had the first live hang up over WOTG. HUPRA was successfully deployed and HUPRA continues to be carried to this day. :D

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Feb 2012, 11:45

I know that was a worry for the crew. The claim is that jump speed, (120kts IIRC), was sufficiently close to stalling that the deployment of a reserve would stall the aircraft.

On the bright side, once someone has done a couple of aircraft jumps the sequence and timing of events and the associated feelings is so consistent that one would very quickly realize that they were hooked up and, like all else in the parachuting, the training kicks in automatically*.

* I really can't say enough about how good basic parachute training was for causing men to immediately revert to training when things go wrong.

23rd Feb 2012, 12:26
Reminds one of why Para's are a special group of folks!:ok:

But then parachute jumping.... is just a way of getting to the Work Place.

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Feb 2012, 13:05
Reminds one of why Para's are a special group of folks!

One of my favorite statements regarding those of the Airborne fraternity is paraphrased as follows:-

What sets the Airborne soldier apart from his earthbound brothers is that he knows all his battles will begin with him outnumbered and surrounded. :ok:

23rd Feb 2012, 13:53
Prior to emplaning for any descent, the sky gods will be given, from the PJI, a DZ brief and then a brief on all phases of the jump which include the do's and don't when being hung up and a HUPRA being deployed.

The main point being emphasized is you DO NOT pull the reserve. If you do, it would probably cause the aircraft to stall and so the pilots, switiching to survival mode, would apply full power to keep the aircraft flying.

The deployment of the reserve would cause either
1. The aircraft to potentially stall and so the command to cut the cable regardless of wheter HUPRA has been attached or not will be given.
2. The deployed reserve parachute to be ripped from the harness.
3. The harness itself tearing apart .
4. Or the static line detaching from the main parachute.

If this causes the main chute to be deployed then the parachutist would be a very lucky guy otherwise he'd be enjoying his first and most probably his last free fall jump.

The "hands on the head" is more to keep your hands away from the red handle rather than indicate you are okay. You can wave or give the thumbs up if you want to.

The aircraft will then climb to a safe height, do a gentle turn on the side the parachutists is hung up on to stop them from bouncing and denting the side of the aircraft and then the cable is cut!

Then I guess the big paperwork moutain will appear!

Dutch Holland
23rd Feb 2012, 16:33
I have read with interest your comments on HUPRA and it's use. For my sins, and there are many, I was the operating Air Loadmaster on the first use of the HUPRA from the C-130. Before my remuster to Aircrew I had the privilage of being a PJI. This I think allows me to comment on the subject in hand.
If it can possibly happen, then it probably will. For years the debate about the need for HUPRA simmered and then undoubtably the question was answered. A life saved with very little drama, but pure professionalism from training by the RAF. The question of taking HUPRA on any parachuting sortie is simple. YES.

23rd Feb 2012, 17:25

Forgive my ignorance but are you able to explain more clearly than the video shows how the system works. My guess is that you attach one end of the HUPRA to the static line and the other end to a hard point on the aircraft. you then release the original static line from the aircraft and away goes the parachutist. It would look like the individual on the bottom of the chute now has no control on where he goes but does he have any control on how he lands (in particular adopting 'the position') or will he become like any FJ aircrew and land like a sack of spuds?

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Feb 2012, 18:09

A hangup like you see in the video is usually the result of a mis-routed static line that goes under another of the harness straps preventing the parachute bag from being pulled off the back.

The HUPRA is similar to that parachute bag in that it contains the parachute and stays with the aircraft as the parachute is pulled from it by the falling body. The HUPRA bag is affixed to a strong point on the floor adjacent to the door. A steel(?) cable attached to the parachute in the HUPRA is then passed through the D-rings of all the static lines on the affected anchor cable, (to avoid mistakes), and the devices on either end clip together to form an link that can't be undone. As has been said, the aircraft is taken to a safe height over as safe an area as possible in a gentle turn to the side the para is and the anchor cable is cut at the forward end, (I think that's where they cut it).

The warning we were always given was that once we felt ourselves go not to look up because, invariably, the metal parts of all the static lines come raining down on your head...

My guess re: control is practically none depending on how the static line was mis-routed.

23rd Feb 2012, 18:36
Just for interest the concept of rescuing a hung up para by attaching another parachute (ie HUPRA) rather than winching him back in (or just cutting him away:eek:)dates back to 1944. Remember, this was a time when Britain's Airborne Forces didn't use reserve parachutes (they only came in in 1956).

Ali Barber
23rd Feb 2012, 19:02
I remember a Spry article about a DC-3 doing a para drop in India or burma just after WW2 and they had a hang up. The loadie called the single pilot who engaged the auto-pilot and came back to have a look. The pilot strapped on a harness and jumped out the side to cut the hang up free, then the loadie hauled him back in. The pilit got a "Well Done" if I remember the story correctly.

P6 Driver
23rd Feb 2012, 19:49
Back to the original & second posts, was that film taken from a C-130 or a Skyvan?

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Feb 2012, 20:40
I'm sorry chaps but that isn't side/para doors exit from a C-130 unless things have really changed. Arms and legs apart would be a reasonable exit position from a tailgate but not from the side door. You'd end up in so many twists you'd still be kicking out of them today. A door exit from a C-130 is done with feet and knees tight together and your arms crossed over your reserve.

Additionally the camera zooms out just enough to show the fuselage on both sides of the frames just after he's released.

Edited for a confusing typo...

23rd Feb 2012, 20:47
Well, would you believe it. I've still got my orange HUPRA bag which I now use for toting around tools to make fixing houses easier - it of course unzips completely and lays flat.

I had to wait on a list with the Squippers at Lyneham - luckily I was on 30 Sqn at the time and Safety Equipment was virtually bolted onto the same building.

I'd rather have my experience with the HUPRA than that poor soul . . .

24th Feb 2012, 05:53
An Andover perhaps?

24th Feb 2012, 07:59
The Video is from a Skyvan and its nice to see the SLES doing its job of absorbing the shock of the hang up.
The SLES (Static Line Extension Strop) came into being following the inital HUPRA trial on the Skyvan. Before any live static line jumps are carried out a HUPRA dummy drop is carried out. This requires a crash test dummy to be despatched and towed about the sky until over the DZ and HUPRA deployed.
Unfortunately, on the Skyvan when the first dummy was despatched the shock on the static line as it came to a halt snapped the aircraft's anchor cable and the dummy fell away deploying the HUPRA canopy, the pack of which was only being held by the trials PJI rather than being anchored to the floor. Redesigning the Skyvan anchor cable would have been hughly expensive so the SLES solution using the ply tear webbing from the HSP was devised.

24th Feb 2012, 14:45
Hi Dutch,

nice to know you are still out there.

This was a view I only had once, luckily, plus one from a balloon of course.

Why the "crucifixion" position, what about "hands across the reserve" exit we were taught?


Trim Stab
24th Feb 2012, 20:45
Trim Stab:

I did my course in 1979 and we were taught it there at Brize. When did you do your course.

I did my basic para course 1989 and I certainly don't remember any HUPRA briefing. I don't rule out the possibility that I was blotto with a hangover though:-)

Airborne Aircrew
24th Feb 2012, 20:52
Trim Stab:

Maybe they dropped it... Defence cuts and all that... Let's face it, if you need HUPRA there's bugger all you can do but accept it...

24th Feb 2012, 21:00
"Trim Stab:

Maybe they dropped it... Defence cuts and all that... Let's face it, if you need HUPRA there's bugger all you can do but accept it..."

If the Para school already owns HUPRA, how would defence cuts affect it
and why would they drop it if it's already in use (assuming it can be repacked) ?
A small price to pay for saving someone from a hang up.

Does that mean that all faulty Ejector seats are left as is because defence cuts don't allow for servicing or replacement ?

Courtney Mil
24th Feb 2012, 21:03
Thanks, AA. I wasn't sure how it worked either and appreciate the explanation. :ok:

As a pilot and afraid of heights, parachuting to me is either an emergency procedure or sport for the amazingly brave! Although I do have a idea about facing my deamon. Maybe one day.

Airborne Aircrew
24th Feb 2012, 21:06

Sorry, I was being a tad sarcastic. The "dropping it" bit referred to the briefing not HUPRA itself. Big savings to be had by not doing a 30 minute minute briefing...

That's sarcasm again... ;)

24th Feb 2012, 22:04
Sorry AA, my bad, I've misread a few on here lately !

Re briefing, what briefing ?????
My first jump was on an SF selection course, they wanted to see if everyone was made of the right stuff. We were taken into a gym, given 30 mins of being shown how to put on the main chute, reserve and then strung up once by the risers.

Then we were taken straight out to the 'bou, sat down, flown over the lake, hooked up and thrown out.

I believe it was the last year they did it as I think OH&S rules curtailed these sorts of things which was a pity.

Anyway, good fun.

You are not the only one. I am scared of heights so parachuting, climbing, rappelling et al, all of which I had to do was always suck it up time.

Courtney Mil
24th Feb 2012, 22:38

Amazing how many people that do do things at heights hate heights. Weird! Glad it's not just me.

24th Feb 2012, 23:09
As a Squipper engineer, occasional parachutist and sometime pilot, I can honestly say parachuting is great fun - However...the stop at the end is not ...My solution was to do it into water resulting in much more acceptable `termination`...:ok:

Airborne Aircrew
25th Feb 2012, 00:47

One of my favorite jumps was a clean fatigue, 1200' jump into Bridlington Bay followed by fish and chips bought on the seafront and several beers in the lifeboat house's bar afterwards... A darned fine day by any standards...

Trim Stab
25th Feb 2012, 20:51
We once jumped into Bodensee (Lake Constance). Due to pressure from local umweltschutz groups, we were instructed by German army that in no circumstances were we allowed to pee in the lake while waiting to be picked up by the safety boat. Guess what we all did!

Airborne Aircrew
25th Feb 2012, 21:00

Red rag, meet bull... :D

25th Feb 2012, 21:34
Yes - my first was from a whirlwind (Remember them?) into Akrotiri bay.Lurvley! .No beers waiting on the MCU pinnace (remember them?) - but the Kokkinelli bowser was waiting down at Arifs Magic Bar in the evening.

Great times...:D

Airborne Aircrew
25th Feb 2012, 22:10

I heard about Whirlwinds... They flew alongside Pterodactyls I heard... ;)

Bridlington, Cyprus... Bridlington, Cyprus... Difficult eh??? :}