Mar 18, 2012, 6:26 PM
Post #1 of 7
1961 Helicopter jump
On May 13, 1961, Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ, was celebrating it own Armed Forces Day. We were scheduled to jump out of a HRS helicopter. Again, none of us had ever jumped out of a helicopter of any kind. Before the jump we looked over the HRS to try an figure out the best way to exit the aircraft. We couldn't sit in the doorway and tumble out because we would hit the wheel. The wheel was too far out of reach to climb out on. The door was too short for a standing exit. So, we decided we needed to crouch down and dive out over the wheel.
Okay, everyone agreed! The first guy to go out didn't crouch down enough. As he dove out the door, his backpack got caught on the top of the doorway. The heels of his boots were caught on the edge of the bottom of the doorway. His body was hanging out side the aircraft. His arms were waving all over the place trying to grab anything, but to no avail. We couldn't push his feet out the door because he would have dropped down and hit the wheel. Two of us grabbed his backpack, and tried pulling him back into the helicopter. That was not an easy task. And, he banged his helmet on the outside of the helicopter because he was not crouched down low enough - again.
When we got him inside, he was wild eyed, and said he wasn't going through that again. The jumpmaster told him he had two choices, 1) exit the aircraft on his own, and we would make sure he was crouched low enough this time, or 2) exit the aircraft with the jumpmaster's boot in his butt. He took option 1).
The rest of us made darn sure we crouched low enough.
Yes, the guy did jump again. After a night of 10 cent beers, we were all laughing about it. In fact, for quite some time, when we would see him walking towards us, we would stop, bend forward at the waist, and move our arms in big circles. We didn't say a word, we didn't have to, he even laughed.
You asked if there was any video? WHAT??? At a salary of $86 per month, high tech. for me was my Kodak Brownie Camera, that I owned before I went into the Navy.
We used to Army (static line) jump out of a H-34 helicopter. It looks very similiar to the one you mentioned. When it was your turn to jump you sat in the door, and then pushed out. There was one jumper in the door at a time. This made for slow exits.
The Marines had these helicopters for a long time.There was a fear that if the helicopter crashed and went over on that door, it would be extremely hard to escape from.
We had an S.F. jumpmaster who never tied himself in. He never wore a rig either. There he'd be (with nothing holding him in that chopper, but gravity) looking out the door, spotting the load. I don't know how many tours of Nam he had, but he had lot's of guts....
Wow! That jumpmaster without wearing a chute brings to memory some of the scary stories I used to hear from former paratroopers that I used to jump with. They claimed that on occasion, when they exiting the aircraft with full battle gear, someone would grab the jumpmaster on their way out the door, and all of a sudden he was unexpectedly airborne.
The other story I remember was: One of two guys would put a small amount of split pea soup in a barf bag, then roll it up, and take it on the plane. On the way up to jump altitude, this guy would fake being air sick. Eventually he would grab the bag, and fake throwing up in it. When he pulled the bag away from his face he had split pea soup around his lips - except no one though it was soup. The other guy, that was in on the joke, would take the bag out of his hand, and pretend to drink the contents. This would cause the guy next to him to actually throw up, which would cause the guy next to him to throw up, which would cause.... It wasn't long before most of the guys on the flight had thrown up. I felt sorry for the ground crew when that plane landed.
I think I told these stories earlier. At the risk of sounding like a broken record here goes. I ran out of stories....
When my Dad was a kid he lived with, and worked for, Bob Johnson....the owner of Johnson's Flying service. He ended up flying co-pilot on the early day tri-motors and travel airs.
They would often drop smoke jumpers and cargo throughout western Montana and northern Idaho.
One day my Dad was throwing out a cargo bundle....without a rig of course. They hit some rough air. The plane tipped, and out went my Dad. Luckily, he hung on with one arm to a static line cable inside the plane. That's all that kept him from going out with the cargo bundle.
This was during WWII. Conscientous Objectors refused to serve in combat. Many became smoke jumpers during that era.
One day, my Dad was flying co-pilot with Slim Phillips. They got orders to pick up a load of C.O. smokejumpers off a fire in Northern Idaho and fly them back to Missoula. Now Slim hated Conscientous Objectors. My Dad couldn't figure out why Slim had brought along a wash tub filled with ice and watermelons.
When they landed in Cascade, to pick up these smoke jumpers, Slim made sure that all of them had all the water melon they could eat. It was a hot day and there was lot's of rough air on the flight to Missoula. First one of these guys started puking, and then another. Before long their was puke everywhere. Slim had a big grin on his face.
When they got to Missoula these sick smoke jumpers started to deplane. About then, Slim started hollering at them. "You guys aren't going anywhere, till you clean out my airplane!" So, that's what they had to do.
In those days, if you were a Conscientious Objector, it was best to keep it a secret....
(This post was edited by steve1 on Mar 19, 2012, 11:54 AM)