View Full Version : Reluctant Paratroopers!
7th Nov 2013, 21:22
I got a good laugh out of this video.....Elite Troops these Para's!
Egyptian Paratroopers Don't Wanna Jump | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/paratroopers/egyptian-paratroopers-dont-wanna-jump/1168203672001/)
8th Nov 2013, 07:47
There was a Para on my basic Para course who sat down at the door. The jumpies tried to push him out, and he ended up outside the aircraft hanging onto the doorframe. By then, we had passed the DZ so the Herc had to fly a circuit around WoG with the para grimly hanging on until we got back over the DZ again, and he was prised away, never to be seen again on the course.
8th Nov 2013, 08:12
Had refusals when on the Hastings but none on the Herc. The paras only ambition was to get out of the Herc 'honk box' and get the weight off their legs.
On a max load para drop it was almost impossible for an individual to stop the 'train' once it had started.
8th Nov 2013, 08:14
UK Airborne Forces Green Light Warning Order:
"You are about to carry out a parachute descent.
You are to jump when the green light is displayed.
Failure to do so constitutes disobeying a direct order and disciplinary action may be taken against you.
In the event of the green light failing to operate the Number 1 will be dispatched on order of the PJI.
You are to follow in your stick order and carry out a parachute descent.
Failure to do so constitutes disobeying a direct order and disciplinary action may be taken against you."
Read to every qualified parachutist before emplaning.
As Trim Stab implied, no jump = don't darken our door again.
8th Nov 2013, 08:26
The other extreme is jumping too early! The lead scout on one of our sticks was a bit too keen, and jumped as soon as the green came on - unfortunately this was on a French Transall (the Frogs used a different lights scheme) and we were not even over the DZ. He ended up landing fully togged up in some sleepy French village, and got arrested by the Gendarmes, much to our amusement.
8th Nov 2013, 09:48
So much for NATO standarisation!
Like This - Do That
8th Nov 2013, 09:48
Recent amendment to Squadron ROs changed the Paratroop warning. No idea how long the old warning was in place, but none of us had noticed... the wording as strictly read addressed the parachute!
Oh how we laughed ... then nervously changed the topic.
8th Nov 2013, 10:20
We had a similar incident jumping from 18 SQN Chinooks in Germany during Exercise Gazelle Arabian. The Jump Instructors headset plug disconnected and as he bent down to pick up the cable, the No 3 in the stick leant forward and shouted Go. Obviously with the adrenaline pumping there was no stopping the No 1 exiting the Aircraft, the PJI was just in time stopping the No 2 leaving. The poor guy landed about 8km from the exercise area and unfortunately he also carried the heavy equipment (GPMG, Radio etc). He eventually turned up in time for the end of exercise photo. "Can't believe that was 28 years ago".
"He ended up landing fully togged up in some sleepy French village, and got arrested by the Gendarmes, much to our amusement."
French, no sense of humour :O
8th Nov 2013, 11:23
While in the National Guard flying Huey's.....one of our tasks was to support the Army Reserve Special Forces Unit.
One very dark cold night in the Blue Ridge Mountains, while dropping Six Man Recon Teams.....there was some discussion about the accuracy of our Drops. We replied that in the Spirit of the Airborne, knowing how real combat drops worked, we verified all the Teams were within the State North Carolina (as best we could confirm).
That seemed accurate enough to us as Aviators.
Most of the Troopers beat us back to the Rally Point which we were using as an LZ. Some that were exceedingly well dropped took the entire weekend to appear.
That their CO was the source of guidance on our method....and of course the one we dropped the widest afield that night....was well understood....finally.....but only after a lot of Moonshine Whisky being consumed around the Camp Fire.
8th Nov 2013, 12:20
Paddy was nervous about his first jump, and said so to his Jumpmaster.
"Not to worry Paddy," he said, "just as you step out of the door shout 'Geronimo' at the top of your voice and that will take your mind off things".
At the jump zone everyone tumbles out of the aircraft including Paddy and the Jumpmaster slides the door shut. As he does so he sees Paddy's face at the window, clinging on for dear life.
He opens the door again and shouts to Paddy, "Let go you daft bastard."
Paddy shouts back, "I can't......... I've forgotten the name of that bloody Indian!"
Chapeau, manteau, porte!
8th Nov 2013, 15:09
We had a similar incident jumping from 18 SQN Chinooks in Germany during Exercise Gazelle Arabian
Ah the horrors of jumping out of Chinooks - always struck me as an utterly stupid exercise - why not just land and let us walk off the ramp? We always had to jump from Chinooks in full noddy suits and S&M hats too - I still don't know why!
8th Nov 2013, 15:17
A well authenticated (I believe) story concerns Idi Amin who (long before his rise through the ranks of Ugandan government) did a para course in Israel. He showed great reluctance to jump out, and eventually returned to the ground. He then was persuaded to jump off a 6 foot wall, spraining an ankle in the process, a sandbag substituted for a body on the next airborne sortie and he got his para wings and piece of paper (failure to pass the course was not permitted). Plus ca change...
8th Nov 2013, 16:31
Ah the horrors of jumping out of Chinooks - always struck me as an utterly stupid exercise - why not just land and let us walk off the ramp?
Where's the fun in that?
8th Nov 2013, 18:21
Where's the fun in that?
If you think jumping at an hour before dawn, after a sporty low-level max range flight in a wokka, in full NBC gear, with kit for a two week LRRP exercise strapped to you is "fun" you're seriously deluded or have not actually done it!
8th Nov 2013, 18:31
United Nations detachment in Nicosia in 1968. Finncon were given permission to use a Whirlwind for an hour to practise free fall parachuting. This was done on a Sunday when the airport was very quiet.
Along come four Finnish lunatics who jump into the back of the helicopter. A max rate climb and ten minutes later we are up at 6.000 ft. Out they go with various cries in Finnish.
There is then a race to get down to the airfield. They would be there first so as we landed they would rush into the cabin with their parachutes rolled up in their arms. They would then spend the time in the climb stuffing the shrouds back into the pack.
6,000 ft again and out they would go. Large bits of silk showing at the seams but they seemed to open OK. Back on the ground and in they came again.
Usually three drops, sometimes four.
8th Nov 2013, 18:34
Reading some of the previous comments, I can recall a couple of unusual events when leaping from the C130.
The first was on my para course at Abingdon. I was #2 in a stick of 6 over WOTG. The green light came on and off we went. Canopy deployed, check all round and heard shouts from the #1. There he was upside down legs up in the rigging trying to untangle himself. What made it so comical was that the #1 was my father who as a PJI had joined the stick to show his 'son' how to do it properly. :D:D
Years later over Everleigh, lined up waiting the green light, the #1 was raring to go. The green came on off he went, but not with much drive. Hitting the slipstream he bounced back in the door and bashed into the #2 who had just turned into the door and released his static line. Dispatcher prompt booted #1 out the door then threw #2 after him. :confused:
Great days leaping out of the C130 and would love to do it all again.
Just This Once...
8th Nov 2013, 18:46
I hated it.
Did it because I was told to.
I never ever volunteered to jump and I especially disliked water descents!
8th Nov 2013, 19:15
Remember the one with the para who used the emergency chute system when he got tangled up in the static line, well off that link above is another of a Thai who suffered similar, unfortunately they do not have a similar piece of kit and the result is tragic as you see him fall away :suspect:
8th Nov 2013, 20:16
the device you refer to is called Hung Up Parachutist Release Assembly (HUPRA). to my knowledge we had two events. one form a C130 that was made into a TV documentary using simulated filming (mid 80s?). There is a second event you will find on Youtube of a GQ360 LLSL from a Skyvan over WoG. I am sure someone from PTS will correct me.
UK is the only nation to use this so far as I am aware. The US winch them in.
We used to have all sorts of huge debates about the relative merits of each system and what would be done in training vs actual ops. Do you just cut a hung up away and let him use his reserve. it was all very contentious. Was he conscious, could he reach his reserve handle. should we provide an AAD? PJIs had 20 different opinions as usual.
I am away from it all now and not sure what we are going to do with A400M. Someone above asked about NATO Standardisation. The was some loose STANAGs and AGARDs kicking around but frankly they were not worth a cent. Hell of a job to get clearances in place to drop T10s or any other chute from our 130s. Certainly no read across or grandfather rights. Our Anchor cables were different to the rest of the world. supposedly to support our heavy weight parachutists with all the kit.
The RWR installation on Chinook took the anchor cables out so no static line parachuting (to my knowledge) was done, probably after 85. I have seen the Falcons deploy from the Chinook.
8th Nov 2013, 20:17
If you think jumping at an hour before dawn, after a sporty low-level max range flight in a wokka, in full NBC gear, with kit for a two week LRRP exercise strapped to you is "fun" you're seriously deluded or have not actually done it!
Whoa there, where'd that come from? Obviously my light hearted off the cuff reply has offended you, however by your reasoning anyone who actually enjoyed their time in the airborne forces, is either deluded or a liar? What can I say, ya got me bang to rights, I've never jumped, in fact I've never served in the military I just made it all to impress the ladies. How's that, feel better now? Right back to the thread.
8th Nov 2013, 20:35
Drag Artist, I remember from the original thread the RAF was about to bin the system when it was used in anger saving the guys life, the link is here
Parachutists Nightmare a Reality | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/parachutists/parachutists-nightmare-a-reality/1924701731001/)
The unfortunate Thai incident that they say is fatal is here, I presume they were climbing to try and give him chance, though you do not see what happens thankfully after he comes free although it appears his chute does not deploy fully.
So BEWARE BEFORE WATCHING READ ABOVE
Thai Paratrooper has Fatal Accidental | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/military-aircraft-operations/parachute-jumping/thai-paratrooper-has-fatal-accident/2812742304001/)
8th Nov 2013, 20:55
Nutty I can't recall the exact date of the skyvan incident (early 2000s or maybe even late 90s) I am getting old! We still had HUPRA mk2 in use when I left the business in Dec 2011. The original HUPRA was only good for 12k ft. IIRC. the Mk2 had the GQ5000 Aeroconical chute and was specifically to support HALO above 12K ft.
Has HUPRA been abandoned since I finished? Do we now use the winch like the US? what are we doing with A400M?
This poor Tai guy. they appeared to have no plan B for when it goes tits up. The despatcher did not even appear to stop the stick jumping after the hang up.
"The despatcher did not even appear to stop the stick jumping after the hang up."
I was surprised at that as well.
Did they actually "cut him away" or did the static line break ?
8th Nov 2013, 22:18
I remember that descent particularly well - having emplaned in the field in some bizarre mixture of Cold War exercise (i.e. 3 hours max kip the night before in a sh!tty freezing wood) and strict GASO adherence (drawing chutes from the para bin in the dark and having to sign for the sqn load when I couldn't even remember the UIN, and not being allowed into the Chinook the night before to rehearse exit drills because 'you lot are all muddy and we've got to sleep in here tonight').
As I remember the early despatch of the No 1, the green light actually flicked on before the PJI had completed the equipment check and returned to the ramp, thus the No 1 self-despatched. Afterwards there was talk of intermittent equipment failure, whereas others talked of a nervous cockpit 'switch pigs' whilst preparing for the run in. All I know is that the unfortunate No 1 was very lucky not to have lost some vital reproductive equipment, having spent a considerable time hooked up in the trees miles away from the DZ.
Still - very little risk of injury - the DZ was like 18" of chocolate ready brek and everyone did stand up landings, due to tentpegging into the sh!te and having no chance to roll - oddly happy days....
9th Nov 2013, 07:59
One big NATO exercise we had two German Fallschwirmjaegers killed on the same stick - both landed in trees. This was in the days before GPS so I suppose the crews would have been DRing to the DZ, at night too. Can't have been easy. Would be interested to hear how it used to be done if any Herc navs on here!
Did they actually "cut him away" or did the static line break ?
Looking at that Thai video, you can see the unfortunate guy puts his hands on his head, which was the correct drill to show that you are still conscious after a hangup. There would only be any point in teaching that drill if there is a plan for dealing with a hangup. Either that means using a HUPRA - which was used in the first video of the UK hangup, or cutting free a guy who is conscious and relying on him using his reserve.
enjoyed their time in the airborne forces, is either deluded or a liar?
There is a difference between enjoying your time in the airborne, and enjoying the jumps. Nobody I used to jump with enjoyed the insertion phase just before the jump. However, everybody was massively pumped up and exhilarated once we had landed safely.
9th Nov 2013, 08:12
after despatching a full stick from our C130 you would not know you had a hang up until you went to retrieve the trailing para bags and looked round the door. Then the SOP was to use the HUPRA. If that was not an option for whatever reason the only recourse would be to cut him away by cutting the anchor cable and allowing him (and all the bags) to fall free. The hope would be that he was conscious and could use his reserve. Retrieving the hang up was not possible as the retrieval winches could only just cope with pulling the bags in.
That's a great video on the HUPRA. I watched it on youtube.
Didn't some soldier win a George Cross many years ago
by climbing down a static line and cutting away an
unconscious soldier and falling away with him ?
It is a very sketchy memory but recall something like
that happened in the UK pre 1980.
9th Nov 2013, 08:32
How much force are we talking about pulling someone back in?
9th Nov 2013, 09:02
A chap who was on my course at OCTU (and went on to become a Nav) was involved in the incident described below. I have "dotted out" his name to save embarrassment.
A remarkable incident took place on October 18th, 1975 at Ashbourne in England. A Cessna 182 aircraft, similar to that shown below, took off carrying three parachute students, an instructor, and the pilot.
The first student jumped without problems, and the second, ......., moved into position. While doing so he slipped between the wing strut and the starboard undercarriage leg. He fell, and hung vertically from the strut before letting go. His main parachute deployed, wrapping around the undercarriage, dragging him behind the aircraft.
The instructor ordered the pilot to climb, and tried to cut away the entangled main parachute with a knife so that ....... could descend using his reserve parachute. Unfortunately, ....... activated his reserve chute before his main chute could be fully cut away. His reserve opened normally, dragging the aircraft into an inverted nose-down position. Very fortunately for all concerned, the engine cut out, and the aircraft (with three occupants) dropped with the parachutist, all suspended below one small reserve canopy! The (rather grainy) photograph below shows them during their descent. The small dot below the reserve parachute is ........., with the aircraft below him, suspended from the lines of his main parachute, which are still wrapped around the wheel. The ground can be seen at the bottom of the photograph.
Sorry - the image would seem to be protected and I cannot show it!
9th Nov 2013, 09:13
too much for the despatchers to cope with. Remember the a/c is doing 115/125 Kts and the drag of the hangup plus the para bags is huge especially if a full stick of sim 31 on the MK 1 K has been dropped. If I recall correctly we used to drop just below the safety speed on the Hastings with the inboards throttled back. When the 'troops gone ' call came the inboards were banged back up just as the despatchers were pulling in the bags ! It was always useful to have a strong 'siggie' to come down the back and help.
9th Nov 2013, 09:23
Can anybody remember details of the navigation error that lead to a load of Para TA getting dropped in the Manchester ship canal? I only have very hazy memories of the story, and can't find any details on line.
There were quite a few drowned if I recall correctly, and also one killed when a load was dropped on him.
9th Nov 2013, 09:41
trim I can remember in Germany the opposite happening with I think the yanks and they were meant to be dropping into Dutch canals and they dropped them on a road by mistake at night.
If a loady goes out on the end of there safety rope how do you get them back in? Or is it not long enough for them to go out the door?
9th Nov 2013, 10:02
you may be thinking of Ex Bold Guard where some troops and equipment landed in the Kiel Canal during a night drop. I was on the lead a/c for that exercise when I was an airdrop instructor.
9th Nov 2013, 10:06
the 'safety rope' was a harness around your waist. It should be adjusted so that you cannot get out of the door. However if done so then your movement was very restricted. So it was possible to get beyond the door into the airflow. More than one despatcher has found himself being 'collected' by the para 'train' and being closer to the airflow than he would have wished.
9th Nov 2013, 10:25
Not sure what the advertising policy is here, but if anyone's interested, the son of an ex RAF REGT WO has just published a rather comprehensive book on the History of RAF Airborne Ops from 1942 - 2012. A google search should do it, a percentage of the purchase price is also donated to charity.
9th Nov 2013, 11:08
AA62 is correct, the static line retrieval winch would not be suitable for pulling in a towed parachutist.
Lots of the US FMs mention the TPRS but other than a few scant descriptions of straps fastened across the ramp to provide purchase nothing more. I can't find anything on the Ft Lee Quartermaster school web page. My login does not work anymore!
the above refers to the kit still being part of the role fit on US 130s in August 13.
AA62 will love this! He probably wrote the similar order book for UK.
I have a vague recollection of the HUPRA trails with dummies when we first got the J of the a/c becoming dented. another one of those mass debates. - would the jumper have survived?
I think I may have misread Nuttys post. perhaps the Skyvan incident reinforced the need to retain HUPRA. I must admit I don't recall any discussions about ditching it particularly as it has saved at least two lives.
9th Nov 2013, 11:26
There was an old thread covering the UK incident and in that it was said they had been looking at getting rid of the HUPRA as it had never been used, and they were looking at withdrawing the system until that Para incident occurred, it then I believe was kept, though whether it transferred over to the later aircraft I do not know.
9th Nov 2013, 11:54
PPrune does not like Bl0gsp0t links - the solution is to shorten them using Bit.ly:
The pic you wanted to link is here:
9th Nov 2013, 12:44
I was number 11 of a port stick somewhere in that formation on that night. A regular and nothing to do with the TA. I didn't even have my air bottle attached to the blowy up, thingy we wore because the screw thread was knackered. It just sat in the pouch zipped up.
At the time I remember being told don't worry about it "we ain't going anywhere near the canal"! The model at Pitts road didn't exactly show the canal as being 2/3 of a mile accross.
2 drowned from my aircraft! It was a complete cluster*uck that night and I remember it well, just sitting there in the dark somewhere tangled in the trees, no idea of how high I'm dangling but happy in the harness thinking this ain't right, listening to Scots accents shouting "get in the trees, get in the trees".
Hey, I'm in the trees, so I'm happy - then there is an enormous crash of breaking trees and the jocks start screaming "get oot of the trees - get oot of the furkin trees".
As the MSPs (very big platforms with landrovers and 105 Pack Howitzers on them) started to land yards away crushing everything. Yep - remember several blokes losing their lives that night because somebody seriously cocked up - I remember it well.
9th Nov 2013, 13:33
as you were on Ex Bold Guard perhaps you and the readership may be interested in my story which is as accurate as fallible memory will allow.
Bold Guard (and the similar Ex Deep Furrow) were Joint Air Transport Forces (JATFOR) exercises to practice the dropping of paras and their associated equipment into our area of NATO responsibility. To this end we used 37 Hercules Mk 1 a/c to carry out this task. The date was Sep 11 1974.
The lead a/c, XV 183, was crewed by airdrop instructors from 242 OCU, and for the despatching of our paras we had two X ALM and one PJI. I was the ALM on the starboard para door. The other ALM handled the intercom and generally kept an eye on proceedings which could get very frantic indeed.
We were all required to wear LSJs for the transit over the North Sea and as you say we there was no requirement to wear them once we made landfall and transited the DZ . A lot of the paras were TA, so in the interests of safety for this drop the normal operational drop height was raised from 800 to 1000 feet.
This decision, made with the best of intentions was responsible for most the subsequent problems.
At the usual 20 mins 'prepare for action' call we got the paras ready for dropping. As MOSTAFA and others will testify with a full load of paras fully kitted for an operational drop this is rather protracted and rife with potential problems.
Eventually I check my stick and we get permission to open the para doors, always a welcome relief in these circumstances. The number one in my stick is the army force commander (Brigadier ?) and he can hardly stand up straight with the weight so is leaning on me ! He is also fiddling with his reserve.
Suddenly his LSJ inflates, he has fiddled with the wrong bit. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.
I cannot let him jump with the LSJ inflated because he will not easily be able to reach his reserve parachute D ring should he need to do so. But he is determined to go regardless and asked me to do something. I punctured his reserve with my survival knife. As it collapsed he thanked me and then the green was on and they were all gone.
We did not find out about the problems with the drops until after we landed when all hell broke loose. My stick landed OK much to my relief.
If anyone is interested I will deal with the aftermath later.
9th Nov 2013, 13:54
As Trim Stab implied, no jump = don't darken our door again.
A bunch of us loadie studes did the Brize course with a bunch of Paras. We used to go along the course as far as the second jump; before they started with equipment and such like. It was mandatary in those days (for loadies).
I witnessed several baby paras imploring the jumping bean to push them out if they baulked. I saw the PJI on my balloon jump shove a guy out after 2 'grip-ons'. The kid thanked him later. nothing further said.
Some would rather be shoved than canned. (I'm not so sure!)
9th Nov 2013, 15:08
crews would have been DRing to the DZ, at night too. Can't have been easy.I remember an exercise in about 66, intention was to drop Dutch Special Forces on the Isle of Arran at night - they were then going to 'invade' Mull of Kintyre as part of a bigger exercise. It was a key part of the exercise so was given a high priority. One Beverley load of paras, join the low level route at Ower Light and go clockwise round to North Wales. Night time with atrocious weather both at Abingdon, all round the low level route especially through the mountains and at the DZ. The Bev had virtually no nav aids, no doppler, radar, vor, tacan etc etc. This was one occasion when I really was concerned. I remember getting on the aircraft and doing the checks on the bombsite and the red/green lights which were downstairs in the nose of the Bev, and turning round to see a freight bay full of paras with the MOST WORRIED faces I had ever seen. They knew the weather was awful, I knew as Navigator it was probably beyond my ability to get them to the DZ. We asked for another weather update from the tower - fortunately it was even worse than before so we scrubbed the sortie and flew a very grateful load of Dutchmen to Machrihanish at FL65 in the morning, without a para drop.
OK if we had flown we would have had to climb out of the low level route at some stage in the Welsh mountains and RTB, however the desire to push on and fulfil the mission can be the first step to disaster, as happened another time when we climbed out of the Low Level Route due to bad weather and a Vulcan that had just overtaken us ploughed into the mountains further along the route.
9th Nov 2013, 15:11
Bold Guard was a JATFOR ex, not my first, a year before I did one in Turkey, maybe that was Ex Deep Furrow? I only remember one fatality then, it was either an entanglement or possibly a total malfunction?
Remember being briefed on 37 aircraft but certainly nobody ever told me we would not be at the usual 650'. In those days we were dispatched by ALMs and only occasionally by PJIs unless it was stream trainng stuff.
Times have certainly changed and albeit safer nowadays, but then carrying enormous loads (140lbs) strapped to your legs, we would empty a C130 (Sim32s) in about 11 seconds!!!! If a despatcher got in the way he might find himself hanging outside (happened on more than one occasion). But dispatchers did a great job and generally kept a good eye on proceedings and yes they do get very frantic indeed! I remember a brave MALM stood spread eagled accross the door (drill) to stop the stick, got pushed out, adrenaline does strange things.
Not sure but I think the thing we wore was called a PLP if water was involved. It wasn't unusual for life vests ito inflate and puncturing it was the usual thing but I guess you never saw half of the daft things we got up too. It was regular for the new boys hooks to get clipped moving forward with the green light on - you had no option but to pick up the load, if you dropped it and carry on out the door. I can remember letting go of a container in the slipstream.
After 34 years, off and on of military parachuting both SL and MFF with toooo many to even to contemplate I never witnessed a single refusal other than at Abingdon during initial training when there was always a few.
I'd love to hear of the BOI afterwards but sadly I can't think of anything other than it was a series of mistake after mistake after mistake.
9th Nov 2013, 15:16
Slightly OT, but some "interesting" flying around the 2:30 mark of a civilian skydive:
LiveLeak.com - Pilot beats skydivers to the ground
9th Nov 2013, 15:34
Ex Deep Furrow was indeed the exercise in Turkey, I too was on that one. Yes PLP is correct, Parachutists Life Preserver. As you rightly say very prone to inadvertent inflation. I made the point earlier about the Herc curing any tendency to refuse ! As for stopping the 'train' well the briefing was 'as soon as the red light comes on stop dropping immediately' Not possible !! The idea that me (140 lbs wringing wet) could immediately stop over 300 lbs of para whose only thought is to get out of the a/c was not on . I used to reckon on perhaps the second or third might be stopped after the red on but only by putting my hand to his face ! Any attempt to block the exit would only result in the despatcher becoming a part of the stick.
Will conclude my Bold Guard tale in the next post.
Been there, worst was attempting to drop the SBS from a Hastings at twilight
as the mist rolled in ! From the para door I could hardly see the wingtips !
10th Nov 2013, 08:04
Bold Guard part two.
After we had landed and had the usual post drop de-brief we went home.
Back into work next day to find that the manure had hit the rotating cooling device. Despite wild newspaper speculation it became clear that the exercise had gone awry and six paratroopers had died, mostly in the Kiel Canal having missed the DZ. Most appeared to be Scots TA. The RAF COM.UKJATFOR had announced that 'heads will roll' before the inevitable inquiry had been set up or indeed before all that facts were known. Typical.
As you can imagine morale amongst the crews was not good.
We, the instructors were required to check all the paperwork etc although it was obvious that it had no bearing on events.
It was thought initially that the lights of ships transiting the canal had confused the crews, but everyone said, no, the DZ was well marked, so no confusion. The traffic in the canal was supposed to be stopped for the duration of the drop but the German officer responsible omitted to do so. I think he committed suicide shortly after. If so it was another needless death for it did not cause the casualties.
It was suggested that the despatchers had let the paras go out early/late (take your pick) but as MOSTAFA will no doubt confirm that did not happen.
Anyway some of the heavy drop avoided the DZ so that was a non runnner.
Perhaps the navigators had got their CARP (computed air release point) figures wrong. Well for so many to have made the same mistake was very unlikely unless the wind they had been passed by the DZ party had been incorrect. The DZ party records were checked against the navigators logs and they matched. Someone then had the bright idea of checking the German and Danish met record of winds for the time of the drop. It was discovered that above 600 feet the wind speed and direction was markedly different from that at ground level on the DZ. The culprit was Mother Nature playing one of her nasty tricks again. You will recall to help the TA paras the drop height had been raised with the very best of intentions. They jumped into this unexpected wind and were in it for longer so some of them and some of the heavy drop landed off the DZ. If this exercise had been carried out under war conditions, ie 600 feet no reserves everyone would have landed on the DZ with the usual percentage sprains etc. The Law of Unintended Consequences again.
I do not know if this came out at the formal inquiry but my OC had sent a critique of the DZ to HQ once he had sight of the original Op Order but as is they way of these things it was ignored.
Long time ago but it is amazing what memories an entry in my log book will trigger.
10th Nov 2013, 08:10
I did the 22 foot steerable parachute HUPRA trials and wrote the SOP. At the time it was only cleared for jumping from the ramp. It was an 'interesting' trial which if anyone is interested I will recount.
10th Nov 2013, 11:33
At Fort Bragg....home to the 18th Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne....whenever mass drops are scheduled....the Medical Unit at Womack Army Hospital are held on Alert Status in anticipation of "mass casualties".....evidently Parachute Operations have not changed much over the years. It remains a risky way to commute to work.
Regarding this poor Thai chap who died (http://www.military.com/video/military-aircraft-operations/parachute-jumping/thai-paratrooper-has-fatal-accident/2812742304001/) (discussed before) why there is no such thing like this? Device is dedicated to rescue operations for crevasse falls and you would be amazed what force can be exerted with it.
With slight modification it could work in this type of situations. It is called RescYou and quite easy to use.
10th Nov 2013, 14:47
these stories are interesting ancientaviator, please share your hupra story.
for the dz wind issue, was there no realisation that the wind was not as advertised for the crew/nav when at 1000ft?
10th Nov 2013, 15:50
I'd be interested in how you see a multiple rope pulley working in the environment envisaged.
We use a multi rope pulley for rescue inside wind turbines and they are a bitch to run and keep from twisting over any extended length.
10th Nov 2013, 16:00
I was a crewman on 33 Sqn at the time and all our Pumas were on the ground, hiding camouflaged in woods in the exercise area. We'd heard about the huge night stream para drop so one of our Pumas was tasked as the medivac for the drop. They positioned themselves somewhere near the DZ. The rest of us watched as the RAF's finest in line astern passed overhead for what seemed like ages. I understand you went back to UK to reload and then go for another drop. It seemed to go on forever. It was very impressive I can tell you. However, when our Puma (the medivac) had not returned from the DZ until the following morning we guessed that something had been amiss somewhere. Very unfortunate.
10th Nov 2013, 17:33
Bit of Hansard applying to Bold Guard 74.
It is interesting to note that I think you can detect the difference in risk appetite of the day, nearly 40 years ago.
Parachuting Accident (Kiel Canal) (Hansard, 15 April 1975) (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1975/apr/15/parachuting-accident-kiel-canal)
It is just heartbreaking to look at the poor chap and I was wondering if there could be some solution to pull him back.
If you look at this page (watch the video) you will see that you operate the pulley inside a/c and it goes in a slow but steady steps.
UKC Gear - Mammut RescYou Crevasse Rescue Device review (http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5313)
I see rather problem with the fact that clamps may work only on a rope and not on a sling used here.
Anyway, just thinking out loud...
10th Nov 2013, 17:52
There are already winch solutions to pull paratroopers back into the aircraft if they become a "Hung Up Parachutist", or HUP. There is also an alternative solution, used by the UK, called HUPRA, where you attach another parachute to the HUP, then cut him free of the aircraft. The HUPRA deploys a chute as he is cut free. There is quite an interesting video on YouTube of it being used.
The only question you have to ask is why was there no usable HUP capability of either type on the Thai aircraft. Given the technology is available and has been for years, there probably isn't a good answer that I'm afraid.
10th Nov 2013, 18:28
As today is the day to remember our Glorious Dead and having had a couple of sherbets and a really nice ruby with some old pals to talk about those days, sadly a great many of all our pals couldn't make it!
I just read what Mr Hansard published in 1975,Thank you JF - I don't believe a single member of the then 16 Para Bde at my level (Tom) ever got to see such things but can I say what is written there is utter utter tosh.
"All were equipped with lifejackets which are inflated by releasing gas by hand from an attached cylinder. In the case of the six men who were drowned, three, for reasons unknown, had not attempted to inflate their lifejackets; in the case of the other three the lifejackets had failed to inflate because the head of the gas cylinder had not been screwed home, one of them because the thread had become crossed"
Seems to me I wasn't the only one then! But disappointing is the no mention of the 3 possibly 4 young lives that also died that night having carried out their perfect parachute rolls on the pax DZ got squashed under (I'm guessing about 10 tons) of Medium stressed Platform (MSP) that should have been dropped on a completely different DZ.
As for windage! - how difficult it it to work out drift for a non-steerable PX4 from 650' or a 1000' come to that, when you have a man with an anemometer on the DZ telling you. As for temp inversions etc, gonads - I'm now into my 12th century of both military and professional helicopter pilot captaincy hours and I reckon I could have done it in the back of a fag packet.
As for the briefing about water - of course, we were told the DZ was boundried on one side by a canal! - But no furker ever told any of us or even hinted come to that, that the QE2 could drive down and probably turn around in it! At least 3 ships, the size of Africa chugged down it as most of us were kicking out the usual twists.
No matter what was published then or after - it was a complete cluster from start to finish and was the nail in the coffin for the Para Bde. As I said on a day like today I feel I would do those that perished that night a great injustice if I did not say that.
But it is true it was a very long time ago RIP.
10th Nov 2013, 20:00
Not so long ago, I found the documentary "The Para's" on Youtube or Liveleak. A very good documentary well worth a watch, as it follows a course of recruits going through their training in the early 80's.
What amazed me the most, more than the 80's moustaches, was the tale of one unfortunate recruit...
The recruit got an injury in training that caused him to miss the first few jumps. However, he soon made a recovery and rejoined his course as they progressed onto the "harder jumps" out of a lower flying C-130 with full kit.
But to qualify, the recruit still had to do the earlier jumps that he had missed.
So, up he went to 500ft in a balloon tethered to the ground. The door to the basket swings open and the PJI shouts "GO!" Then nothing. The recruit could not jump.
Unfortunately his refusal meant the recruit failed despite all the jumps he did out of a C-130 with full kit!!!
The recruit explained afterwards that when he was in the C-130, the noise, vibration, frantic activity and excitement meant he did not notice any fear, he just went with the flow. But when in the static balloon, it was all calm and peaceful and he had time to think.
10th Nov 2013, 20:18
I remember that.
10th Nov 2013, 20:36
Military parachuting's never been an ambition of mine. A view reinforced by my time on MAOTs. We'd wait just on the DZ, with wokkas ready to go to casevac the expected jump injuries. Saw some awfully bent limbs. A para CSM told me they expected 5% attrition from the jump. I guess they thought "well it's 20:1 that it won't be me".
10th Nov 2013, 20:57
Roadster - I did well over twenty jumps, probably more like thirty, and while I heard the 5% figure quoted I can't say I ever saw that many casualties. In fact I can't think of any who didn't walk off the DZ in all my jumps.
I only knew one guy who went to Headley Court. He slipped on ice coming out of a bar one night after completing a winter LRRP course.
10th Nov 2013, 21:37
More to posts from MOSTAFA and Ancientaviator62.
I've been reading your memories with interest and can add a couple of points. As to my part, I was lead navigator on the 5th wave and as such I was first to call "No Drop" as we saw a red Very Flare come up from the DZ. I was interviewed by the Board and I remember the events with much clarity.
The day drop was the day before, had gone well and all the crews had seen the DZ; so for the night drop, we knew what was below. At the first briefs we had also seen low-level recce stuff produced I think, by a Jaguar sortie early that morning.
Whilst not trying to teach anybody to 'suck eggs', the basics of producing a CARP (Calculated Air Release Point) involve applying a correction factor to both the reported wind from the DZ and the wind calculated by the navigator at release height. This wind was broadcast within the wave and checked by the other crews. Immediately after the tragic events, there was intense checking and counter-checking but it was obvious that multiple navigators were unlikely to have made an identical error.
Our No-Drop default was to land at GAF Hohne nearby and deliver the stores that way. On the approach we noticed a significant wind change at low level and this was the freak met conditions mentioned at post #47.
This was a significant factor in the events which followed.
For a day drop the navigator aims for his CARP (which eg. could be something like 600* early and 150* left) visually, with lots of clues including standard markings on the ground.
For a night drop the navigator is looking for a display of lights showing the desired landing point, plus 200yds left and right and also 400 yds short. He only has these visual cues to aim for his CARP. After the Inquiry, it was widely reported amongst the aircrew that the light supposedly 400yds short had in fact been positioned some 600yds short due to surface vegetation in an effort to make it more readily visible. If true, this sadly distorted the only visual cues and resulted in all loads being dropped even earlier. It is pertinent that it was not only the Para waves that dropped short, as I believe MSP loads also went into the canal.
I was also in Turkey for Deep Furrow and that Ex used 'Regulars. I think we dropped the Paras from 650ft!
MOSTAFA and ancient aviator62, pse check yr PMs.
10th Nov 2013, 22:25
My wife just reminded me it's almost 40 years ago.
I can only tell you exactly what I witnessed as one of those young paratroopers who jumped that night. It was widely reported that TA soldiers died that night, that may well be true but I can categorically tell you as many regulars jumped as reservists. I suspect manifests are kept somewhere.
My particular unit were numbers 11-17 (sim sticks) on most of the pax aircraft. (something to do with us all ending up close together) You are spot on with the containers; at least one Artillery piece ended up in the canal and when recovered a young soldier was attached to it.
I'm not trying to offend anybody involved at all but the bit from Hansard is a complete crock and I never ever saw it.
After a nights sleep on it - I seem to remember after the ex we were picked up from GAF Celle or maybe bussed to an airfield in Denmark? That bit is a bit hazy!
The TA bit truly doesn't hold much water, we all did the same parachuting course and in reality with all the other troubles going on around, the TA probably got more practice than we did.
As for accident rates - somebody always broke something or got scared witless, put several thousand parachutes (totally unsteerable) in the sky between 650' and the ground, each man carrying a personal container and weapon, released after canopy deployment, to dangle on a 15' rope below you AND THEN DO IT IN THE DARK that's why we got an extra £20ish less tax a month in those days - might have been a little more than quid a day! Less tax.
Now I remember why I applied for pilot training!!!
11th Nov 2013, 01:40
AA - maybe in the Hereford club, the size of the drop was much smaller?
The bn drops I saw certainly had a couple dozen casualties. As you say, most were walking wounded, but there were quite a few that were stretcher cases. Not very pretty, some of them.
Good luck to those that do/did it, but it was never for me.
11th Nov 2013, 04:48
Roadster - correct, casualty rates were far higher on battalion jumps when both doors were used dropping at half-second intervals. The figure I seem to recall that was used to calculate expected DZ casualties was 10% on night jumps, and 5% on day jumps. When both doors were in use there were inevitably many in-air collisions, entanglements, and even canopy collapses if you were unlucky enough to end up directly on top of another chute. There was also a risk of getting hit on the ground by various projectiles such as helmets and even entire containers that were not properly attached to their owners.
Even though LRRP jumps were always at night they were much safer as only one door was used at one second spacing, and a small 4-6 man stick had an entire DZ to themselves.
11th Nov 2013, 07:41
Used HUPRA in NZ, could have been the Bunny Rigold influence, but it was always available on every static line drop in the paraDak.
We used to practice every month with a 250lb sack o' bones.
Practiced both techniques; retrieve and cutaway with a 'chute.
11th Nov 2013, 08:41
I would be interested in your views on the root cause of that fateful nights problems . A PM would be fine if you do not wish to air your views in public.
Mention has been made about staggering the sim sticks of paras to minimise contact behind the a.c. This is a fine theory but is almost impossible to put in to practice on a full load of paras. You can start like this on Green On but as I am sure MOSTAFA and others will confirm the stick generates a momentum all of its own. The other problem for the despatchers is to try to get the paras to exit squarely from the door so they drive out and away cleanly. Again very difficult to achieve on large op stick drops. Several methods to deal with the above problems were tried but foundered on the very understandable desire of the paratrooper just to get out of 'that bloody a/c'.
I will recount the 22 foot steerable HUPRA trial story in another post.
11th Nov 2013, 09:12
A62 I've just edited my last post a little. You are spot on; there is no method other than, nowadays (and my latest para refreshers both SL and MFF Grade 1 were in 1997) that training now includes a much slower approach to the doors - with lots of warnings about repercussions. Staggering the sticks works; but it take a age to clear an aircraft and probably trebles the real estate required. We regularly bumped in the bloke exiting the a/c from the other door in the slipstream, how many times did blokes go through the rigging lines of deploying parachutes. Please, don't ask me the aerodynamics of why, but occasionally, blokes cross over (my 60 hours of fixed wing Chipmunk during pilot training) just didn't cover it - but it did occasionally happen and under the aircraft! I seem to remember it was about this time they added/changed something to the door (big flap) to make it easier to get out or change the slipstream or something?
I'm certainly not saying at all; that part of the blame comes down to the 'then' mentality! It's true we did have that ''GO' bit about us and I am delighted to see it still exists in our present airborne forces.
We truly wanted to be out that aircraft as quickly as possible - it was a real pain in the arse to trudge, what seemed like 3 miles off a DZ carrying everything that was not designed for anything other than jumping out of an aeroplane for! And that would be before the infamous TAB to whatever. I guess we thought (occasionally correctly) the sooner your out the shorter the tab off the DZ.
As for blame I guess I don't know, nor do I hold any malice toward anybody for what happened. But it was; error compounded by error and then add a few more errors to it - but it certainly wasn't the <15kts or whatever the max limit was in them days; from a 1000' - and those containers, the MSPs crashing into those trees beside me, (I didn't see them until the next morning) but by furk, I did hear them, felt them! - pushing down swathes of forest.
As for Hansard to even (perhaps that just my perception of reading it) to say it was because some!!!! TA soldiers jumped and died that night and they can expect that to happen occasionally is complete and utter gonads as I said before.
11th Nov 2013, 11:23
I think these guys have done this before!
Now you see him.....Now you don't!
One of the quickest exits ever recorded!
11th Nov 2013, 12:35
the first video clip looks more like a split stick training drop as to the best of my recollection the troops are not close enough to each other as they exit.
It does however very neatly make my point about going out of the door square on. Some of them are at such an angle that they hit the door upright as they depart. MOSTAFA can perhaps give a more experienced comment.
I do not recall any changes being made to the aerodynamics vis a vis the dropping. We always dropped with the air deflectors open, the jump platform fitted and at the slowest safe speed. But it was a long time ago.
MOSTAFA, I think you are correct when you state that the TA were perhaps more current that the regulars. Tours in NI and Germany left little scope for upkeep of your parachuting skills. I well remember doing several trips to Germany to emplane and drop paras who were on duty over there. I even have a pic somewhere of me despatching them !
When I was at JATE I was the ALM who carried out the 22 foot steerable HUPRA trial. In those days the 22 was only cleared for dropping over the ramp. It had been predicted by those wiser than I that cutting the anchor cable after the fitment of the HUPRA would cause it to whiplash inside the cargo compartment. So padded up like an American footballer, wearing a bonedome and protective gloves with visor down we set off.
The usual pre drop checks were carried out and the para test dummy was deployed. To carry out this procedure it was necessary to close the ramp (the cargo door remained open) and thread the HUPRA cable as per SOP.
The ramp was opened again and on the 'green' I nervously cut that cable as far aft as possible with the bolt croppers. Total anti climax ! The cable just flopped onto the floor and, away went the dummy. Huge relief. But not for long. 'They' were not convinced and thought that the lack of whip was due to only the dummy being on the cable and the tension would be much greater with the trailing bags of other jumpers as it would be for real.
So we repeat the test with trailing bags, dummy and all. Same result !
Even 'they' were convinced.
11th Nov 2013, 12:45
One of the quickest exits ever recorded!
One year the RSM suddenly realised that a lot of our guys were about to go "out of date" for static line jumps, and would thus have to do basic para course again, unless they immediately did the required qualifying jumps to stay current. In one of the more bizarre decisions I have ever seen, a balloon was immediately ordered and deployed to - Roundhay Park in Leeds! We all went up to Leeds for a couple of days to carry out our jumps. As luck would have it, it was a beautiful sunny day with no wind and thus perfect for some nice easy balloon jumps, without even any kit. Soon everybody was re-qualified, and then the RAF announced that as they had bought too many parachutes volunteers could jump as much as we liked until the chutes were used up. By now half the town had turned up to watch the unusual spectacle, and as it was the school holidays there was a surfeit of young nippers running around. It didn't take long for one young pikey to ask "what's this do mister?" and pulled the reserve handle. Soon reserves were popping out all over the airfield as soon as anybody landed, and so the sport was ended for the day. I got in six jumps that day!
11th Nov 2013, 12:57
My PB was three jumps from a Wokka before breakfast, at Everleigh.
Our balloon jumps were normally at Hankley Common; someone tried to get a balloon positioned on Wormwood Scrubs Park, but then realised that the publicity could be awkward :E
11th Nov 2013, 13:22
Any real Paratrooper will love this video.....as it catches the very essence of the Airborne!
11th Nov 2013, 13:33
There can't be a trained military parachutist alive today that's never done a "Rivet inspection" on exit from the side doors a C130 undoubtedly caused by not striking out squarely! The first 5-10 secs of most jumps was spent kicking out twists. I've seen blokes still kicking when they hit the ground! The single most important thing to do was to drop the container attached to your ribs with hooks and your leg with a very tight strap. - landing with it still strapped to your leg meant - your next stop was the plaster clinic.
We used to feel a complete prats with all that "Rear Foot Rear Foot" around the hangar stuff with one arm in the air as opposed to the "on your marks - get set - Go" which was what really happened. You were jammed between blokes and had little control over anything! Just concentrate on not falling over - not always easy when the floor was, covered in vomit!
Air deflectors, that's what the were called, thank you - they were mighty useful especially when coming from the other end (Ramp end) in sim 5s or 7s (can't remember) this time with the container on the back (but just as heavy) and from 25k+ During my MFF refresher we were limited to 18k, something to do with a valve somewhere. Believe it or not we practiced this in case the ramp wouldn't come down - personally I thought it was somebody's idea of having a laugh. By the time you got out of the door having done a sort of gymnastic pirouette and spent the next 2 minutes of FF trying to sort out your position with a container that had a mind of its own but I digress.
Sadly my machine won't let me see the 1st vid but the second certainly made me chuckle - I bet he felt a complete prat and for a very long time. Digressing again occasionally the PJI Standards people would be on board (PJI re-cat) I think and with the tailgate down! if you were one the last out a 'very controlled' ripcord handle would be accidentally on purpose, pulled! It was a part of their drills to recover the situation. Which they always did with the upmost professionalism.
11th Nov 2013, 14:41
For some odd reason I did not undersatnd the 22ft was only "cleared" from the ramp. Also used the short extension strop on the cable.
LLP also only went out of the sides.
I think the valve you refer to limiting your expolots to 18K ft was on the Interim O2 system. It was interim for a good may years! The problem was it was a constant flow not a demand system hence the snake in the pouch accumulator you would wear.
Back to the Keil Canal. - before my time. I never knew of any troops being killed by MSPs. Only a Cow up at Otterburn. When I was at JATE there was a MSP incident where the MALDROP party were not far away from being taken out. being so close made some spectacular video footage that was doing the rounds for ages.
This Keil Canal business was certainly influencing design of things well into 2000. When we introduced the LLRP we went through a mod programme to intoduce water pockets around the peripheral hem. You will recall being able to release the risers on the 22ft and also the LLP with the Capewell. there was no riser release on the LLRP It would have been useful in a water situation. we ended up with a dry fleet and wet fleet LLRP(W) Irvin proposed a 3 ring release for the LLRP. the point was it was too easy to inadvertantly release and so easily confused with your load lowering tab.
I will leave the explanation of crossover for another time. Lots of work done by QQ in South Africa on the subject when we got the J. Every jumper had to be a test parachutist. Cost us a fortune!
11th Nov 2013, 15:07
TA for that DA, times change and so do ideas. We all thought the 18k thing was ridiculous so did the all RAF para centres I was involved with then.
Just my thoughts but I'm not sure I'd still want to be attached to any parachute in fast flowing water if of course that is the implication? Capewells or come to that any other riser release system was a plus as far as I was concerned.
11th Nov 2013, 19:47
Slight thread drift maybe, but is there still a REAL need for airborne forces these days ? When was the last " in anger " drop ? I have the utmost admiration for paras ( I had not, even as a young man, had the balls to be a para ) but why jump out of a serviceable a/c...........
11th Nov 2013, 20:29
He ended up landing fully togged up in some sleepy French village, and got arrested by the Gendarmes, much to our amusement.
Was he sure they weren't trying to surrender?
11th Nov 2013, 22:35
I think we all know the last time UK deployed Para in any numbers was in Suez. Apart form the other guys who we don't mention and know nothing about. The French deployed some recently in Mali to good effect.
I know when I participated in war gamming on a couple of occasions there was never a time when any of the scenarios put to the MJP would have needed or benefited from an overhead assault buy more than a small recon patrol.
The argument for retaining the paras in the form we know always came from their senior officers as a recruiting tool primarily (No one would join the paras if they could not parachute - then join the Marines!) or to feed SF. The point was that the duty holders for the equipment and insertion part of the operation was always an RAF officer not their own CO. I just don't think they understood the risks. I don't ever recall one signing any papers. In my mind it never was ALARP and they had the balance wrong. No good telling their grieving mothers after the event.
This is just my opinion formed over the 15 years I had some responsibility for the kit. I am sure if we let it there will be a good counter argument. I think one of the guys above hit the nail on the head by claiming what good fun it was. I would not deny them that.
I think someone mentioned on the Falklands thread how things may have turned out differently had we been able to drop a battalion before the invasion took hold.
When we get the A400M..... Who knows.
If we are serious we need to train everyone in HAHO buy shed loads more kit. The hazards escalate by complete orders of magnitude with equipment complexity and the physiology of O2, we need to automate the parachutists navigation, deliver his stores by JPADS. All technically feasible these days but probably not affordable. I would also get rid of the swimming pool attendants from the equation altogether and put a warfighter in charge like they do in the US.
Or go by helicopter or for a silent approach a Horsa glider launched by catapult from a big bog off aircraft carrier.
Perhaps a good job I did not have that much influence over such things.
12th Nov 2013, 05:41
From the time the 'chute opens on a training drop how long is it before you hit the ground? Just wondering how long you would have to sort out twists etc. or, worst case, cut away the main and deploy the reserve?
(I didn't have the courage for Para so went flying instead! Got paid the same, three guineas a week!).
12th Nov 2013, 07:02
From the time the 'chute opens on a training drop how long is it before you hit the ground? Just wondering how long you would have to sort out twists etc. or, worst case, cut away the main and deploy the reserve?
About 20-25 seconds, depending on how much load you are carrying. As soon as you've checked that the chute is open and lines are not tangled, you try to orientate yourself by looking around for the Herc, and then check around for other jumpers to make sure you're not heading for an imminent tangle. Next job is to fumble around under the reserve for the container release catches. Getting rid of the container is a big relief because if you can't release it - as occasionally happens - you are almost certainly going for a trip to hospital. The rest of the way down you're just checking around for other parachutists, and trying to work out wind drift, and getting braced up for the landing.
At night, there is a lot less to do as you often can't see much so you're just hoping for the best, and listening for the thump of your container hitting the ground.
On the big battalion jumps it is not at all unusual to end up in very close proximity to other jumpers, and there is usually a lot of shouting and swearing going on. The most dangerous collisions are if you end up directly on top of another chute. It never happened to me, but apparently it is like being on a very soft bouncy castle. You have to fight your way to the edge and drop off. By then, your chute has mostly collapsed, so you fall quickly until it reinflates, then you find yourself directly underneath the first guy. So he now falls below you, and the process continues down to the ground. Usually at least one guy has a very hard landing and gets badly hurt. Other bad entanglements are getting a foot caught in the rigging, so that you land on your head.
Luckily I only did a few battalion jumps and most of my static-line aircraft jumps were LRRP jumps where things are less fraught. The main difficulty was trying to get the stick to land close together as on a dark night it was sometimes quite difficult to find everybody. We tried to put out the smaller, lighter guys out first and the bigger guys (who also had the bigger loads) out last to increase the chances of landing close to each other.
12th Nov 2013, 08:01
when I did the 22 foot HUPRA trials, tailgating was the only clearance for it. I seem to recall a trial had started (at BD ?) to use the para doors but had been suspended due to problems which I cannot now recall.
your description of the 'train' getting going is very evocative especially the vomit ! Worst case for all of us, despatchers and yourselves was to have the drop scrubbed, especially if we have reached the 2 min 'action stations'.
You had to be very careful to ease the lead para away from the door clinging on tightly to his harness all the time. If you let go he would be out in a flash. Then refitting the seats and trying to get everyone strapped in. The vomit count would increase exponentially, containing pure adrenaline. I have never been airsick but these occasions are the closest I have ever been.
High level free fall. We would sometimes drop from 35000 feet. Above 25000 the a/c oxy system could not cope so a special oxy bottle fit was installed at FS 245 with the tubes leading on to the flight deck. At least one hour sat on the ground pre oxygenating was the SOP. We always carried Two ALMs on these trials, one to do the work and one to 'see the wood for the trees'. Small problems at these altitudes could swiftly turn into a major emergency.
Because the a/c standard Mk4 portable oxy bottle did not last very long we had a special harness made so the ALMs could carry two. It was bloody cold up there and for me the best part of the whole business was the hot cup of coffee in the office after the drop. We were issued with special fur vests and longjohns for use on these drops. I still have mine and they have been very useful whist watching my grandson play rugby these last few cold winters.
12th Nov 2013, 10:04
Ref post 28 (500N)
The award of the George Medal was made to the following soldier, and was featured in The London Gazette.
"21012013 Sergeant Michael Reginald REEVES Special Air Service Regiment. On 17th September 1967, Sergeant Reeves, who is a fully qualified free fall parachute instructor, was voluntarily teaching pupils from the Herefordshire Free Fall Club. Parachuting was taking place in the South Staffordshire area of Halfpenny Green. During the afternoon Sergeant Reeves briefed the pilot of the Rapide Aircraft and the students, and having made all checks, the aircraft was requested to take off for its first pass at an altitude of 2,500 feet. There were two students on learner line drops and a number of others on normal free fall descents prepared for up to 20 second delays. The first student went away well and his static line was pulled in. The second student jumped on the instructions of Sergeant Reeves. His static line failed to open his parachute and he was left dangling some 16 feet below in the slipstream of the aircraft. Sergeant Reeves at once saw that the static line had fouled round the main parachute and could not be freed. The parachutist was conscious but spinning. The man was holding his reserve parachute release and looking up at ' the aircraft. Sergeant Reeves signalled him not to pull his reserve as this would, on development have removed the tail off the Rapide. Also by now the aircraft was well away from the Drop Zone and over rough country and buildings. An attempt was then made by Sergeant Reeves, helped by others, to pull the parachutist back into the air- craft. This was impossible owing to the weight and drag created by the forward speed of the Rapide. Sergeant Reeves then decided that the only way to save the learner parachutist, who had never previously pulled his own parachute, was to climb down the static line and carry out the rescue task himself. Before leaving the aircraft he instructed the pilot to gain as much height as possible and return to the drop zone. Sergeant Reeves gave his rigger's knife to an accomplice in the aircraft with orders to cut the static line when he signalled. He then climbed down the static line holding on against the force of the slipstream. The* friction caused burnt through his gloves causing some blistering to his hands. When Sergeant Reeves arrived at the end of the static line he found the learner parachutist had kept his head and was calm, though he was suffering from a severe buffeting and rough ride. He further reassured him. It was quickly apparent that the static line could not be freed from the parachute. Sergeant Reeves held the parachutist and then gave the signal to cut the static line to those in the aircraft. This was done and Sergeant Reeves went into free fall holding the learner parachutist. When dear of the aircraft Sergeant Reeves pulled the learner para- chutist's reserve parachute. Still holding together, he watched its successful deployment to ensure the 16 foot of static line did not entangle the canopy and that the learner was in control once deployment was effected. Sergeant Reeves separated from the learner para- chutist and, when he had put sufficient free fall flight
between them for safety, he pulled his own main parachute. By then he was at a height a little lower than is considered usual for normal parachute deploy- ment. Both he and the learner parachutist landed without mishap. Throughout the whole incident Sergeant Reeves displayed courage and a cool nerve, showing leadership and decisive action which prevented a fatal accident taking place to the learner parachutist and ensuring the safety of the aircraft and those in it."
12th Nov 2013, 10:22
One of the best examples of military psychology I ever witnessed was when flying as supernumary crew on board a C-130 out of Brize Norton carrying out paradrops for a new course in the 80’s.
Standing on the closed ramp, watching a right side 6-man stick going out in the morning, there was a refusal by Number 1. The chap parked both arms across the door and was forced out by two very firm shoves to the back, allowing the others to follow. Back on the ground, when the other troops went for lunch, the PJI’s ran him around the trainers in the hangar and kept him occupied. He explained that he had been OK going out when he was pretty much head down within the stick but as the first in the door, it had freaked him out a bit.
In the afternoon, he was again loaded onto the aircraft in a six-man stick, as Number 2. Once airborne, the PJI’s (pre-arranged among themselves on the ground) changed the order and placed him as Number 1 again. On the run in, he stood in the door, but the PJI’s made it clear to him that he would not be pushed out and they stood well back to make it clear. When the green came on, he went out on his own like he had been fired out, clean as a whistle with no assistance or encouragement. The PJI’s quite possibly saved the chaps career as he was a Parachute Regiment recruit.
12th Nov 2013, 11:39
This is of a pair tangled up
US & British Paratrooper Get Tangled Up | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/paratroopers/us-and-british-paratrooper-get-tangled-up/1949043361001/)
German Paratroopers Get Tangled | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/paratroopers/gerrman-paratroopers-get-tangled/2328106360001/)
and this just has to hurt
Russian Parachute Landing Goes Wrong | Military.com (http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/parachutists/russian-parachute-landing-goes-wrong/1858777535001/)
There is also one of a fatal Mi8 one on the site that spins down after a para drop, it says it has part of the Para equipment caught on the tail / rotor, but to me it looks like a para is still attached to it, luckily you do not see the impact :(
12th Nov 2013, 11:42
some great anecdotes here
i'd be interested to know why hupra from the side door isn't cleared (if I understood correctly). was the orange bundle getting snagged in trials?
what do you do with a HUP from the side door in the UK? winch?
12th Nov 2013, 12:01
glad you are enjoying the the tales. Perhaps I have assumed too much knowledge on the part of those followers without Mil parachuting experience. It is sometimes difficult to know at what level to 'pitch' my contribution. And remember I speak only of the K model . I know nothing about the J, it was late into service and I had retired by then. My discussion ref HUPRA was in respect of the use with the 22 foot steerable parachute. At the time of the trial I described, the 22 foot steerable was only cleared for tailgating and not the side door. The normal PX parachute as used by MOSTAFA and his compatriots for jumping from the side para doors was fully compatible with the HUPRA apparatus should a hang up occur. Hopefully I have cleared up any confusion.
12th Nov 2013, 12:16
Trim Stab - Thanks for that!:ok:
12th Nov 2013, 19:29
AA62 It was bloody cold for us too coming down from 30k+ and no amount of windproof made much difference ulmers iced up most of the way.- we did quite a lot in Norway, about 97? But during the restriction to 18k time In Jan/feb brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
I'll never forget the pullava of oxy sets bolted to the floor up the top end of the aircraft and El Centro never really trained you for the cold but I've done some great courses in the army but the MFF course and subsequent refreshers/ tandem were just great fun and all at the expense of the RAF (Ramada for 3 weeks). With your very own C130 and crew, 60+ descents - great fun culminating with patrols of 4 with the Tube.
You are right in your post about, I did start on PX4s but in 30 odd years off and on we used everything in the armoury but nothing - absolutely nothing could beat the GQ360 albeit the end cells could cause some problems at night, you just couldn't tell if they were open - most blokes would pump the steering toggles several times on opening just to make sure. In maybe 500+ on the 360 I only dumped her twice and that was because of end cell closures which just didn't want to inflate. Good days
12th Nov 2013, 19:47
Cutaway once per 250 jumps.....you are a braver man than me!:=
12th Nov 2013, 20:19
That's only on the 360, not my packing but in between military we did lots with Fury's 180s methinks?
But we are just talking military here. The others certainly had something to do with bunging it in, in mintes few! pro packing it used to be called!!!!