Apr 10, 2009, 7:41 PM
Post #1 of 14
1964 Para-Commander MK1 Serial# 64736
My wife is gone visiting family this week, so I had a chance to dig into my collection. I like to hear your guys stories about the old days!
1964 Para-Commander MK1 Serial # 64736. This was received from the children of a deceased old pioneer, USAF Test Parachutist, and Master rigger. His name was "Grammer". On the pilot chute cap was also the name "Jesse James" with a 413 area code number which is Western Massachusetts.
The PC is in excellent condition. I was suprised to see a "Para-Commander" label on the stabilizer, I haven't seen one on another MK1 before. I also noticed a big difference in the material, it almost felt like plastic while as the others I had handled felt like a regular lopo. The others had alot of jumps on them, and this one I'm guessing did not.
I uploaded a few photo's of a similar PC (maybe the same one?) from Happyarms Flickr photo page as well.
If I'm not mistaken the 1964 MK1's in RWB with the f-111 style apex are/ were us team PC's, I own two of the four in the Richmond Indiana collection, and this info was from trusted old farts who would know that kind of shit, Jerry B. (not bird) being one of those. I've heard it fom more then one person, the key is the white f-111 apex, only the team canopies had that, is what I was told.
New tafata will feel kind of plastic like. I have a mint american made (by pioneer) PAP and that fabric is really plastic feeling, it's not tafata though like a PC.
Nice looking canopy. I've seen a number of them with the paracomander on the stabs.
(This post was edited by stratostar on Apr 10, 2009, 8:14 PM)
NOT F111. F111 did not exist before circa 1978.also american Paps(papillon) were manufacctured under license from E.F.A(etudes fabricationes aeronautiques<france)for Steve Snyder enterprises(SSE INC) in chronological order by1)welson inc,hartford ctmade of i.5 oz ripstop,2)security parachute company,made of 1.9 oz ripstop and finally 3) I.L.C. steinthal,jokingly reffered to as a jewish american pap made of prestex brand taffeta.these canopies were made of "wet look" fabric and were the biggest pieces of crap. so many manufacturing problems, the least of which were built in turns.
(This post was edited by javelin1 on Apr 10, 2009, 8:47 PM)
I said f-111 style fabric, for point of ref, your right I should have said ripstop. As for my PAP, I'm not able to get to it for days and I'm not unpacking it to find out until it get's jumped who made it, what I posted is from memory.
I can see the logo in my mind on the data panel, it is really in good shape and you can read it. I remember it being made in the USA because the last time I jumped it Jay Stokes was on the plane and asking me about it, but I can't recall if it says SSE or Steinthal, I'm thinking steinthal, because of the "wet look" fabric. I was thinking pioneer made it, getting old is a bitch.
While to some it made a "joke or Jewish pap as you say, and thought of as crap, I can say with out a doubt the one I own flies stright and true and is a great canopy.
I own 2 jumbo PC's, 2 RWB Mk1's from 64, one blue and blk Mk1, one red yellow blk MK1, a PAP and a t-10 and parts for two more rigs awaiting building.
Richard "Jesse" James (D-794), who died last year, was the long-time DZO pf the drop zone at Turners Falls, MA from the early 60s to maybe as late as the early 70s. "Happyarm" is Vince Marchese, with whom I made many jumps. His PC pix are mostly at Orange, MA, including the first two in your album; I don't think he jumped at Turners Falls.
(This post was edited by howardwhite on Apr 11, 2009, 6:34 AM)
Since I owned Serial # 64363 ( or merely 363 as we said in 'those days' ) I'll jump in.
While this color combo was used by the '64 US Team it was not a 'US Team color.' This color combo was all that you could get them in for about the first year.
All of them had the 'PARACOMMANDER' logo sewn onto to one of the stabilizers; I quickly removed it from my canopy.
The apex is 1.6 ripstop fabric in these canopies.
The 2nd color combo made was in Army Team Black & Gold colors and still had the 1.6 ripstop in the apex. Then, when they begin to offer other patterns, they changed to apex fabric to the taffeta that the rest of the canopy was made of.
This change to the taffeta fabric in the apex lead to many 'discussions' on Saturday nights as to which was the superior canopy. I've jumped both and felt no difference; but it did make for some interesting 'discussions.'
Ok, so not F-111, but some weight of ripstop nylon then?
I used to own one of those 1964 R/W/B PC's, but I sold it about 30 years ago. It wasn't in very good shape by then and I was patching it with duct tape (which worked just fine).
Paracommanders were made with 2.2 oz taffeta fabric, though the 1964 models had the ripstop apex. Pioneer started using 1.5 oz. ripstop on their RW Paracommander, which was pretty much a clone of the MK I, though it was said to land a lot harder than the original (never jumped the RW model myself).
I sure did love that canopy and I get a lump in my throat every time I see a picture of that color pattern. This one here looks like a real treasure !
I bought a new MK 1 PC in 1973 or 1974 (Red Devil color). My memory may be about gone, but it seemed like the entire canopy was made of rip-stop. Does that seem right? Maybe it is just a fig newton of my imagination....
I jumped another PC a few years back, and it seemed to be made of a completely different material.
At any rate, my old PC did burn fairly easily. I had ripstop tape in several places on it (particularly on the stabilizers). Never tried duct tape, but I heard it worked great.....
Well yes & no, the orginal MK1's from backk in the day were not ripstop. However in our collection we have a MK1 but it's mot maked as an MK1 (mid 80's I think) it's marked "pioneer delivery systems" it's really a MK1 or what they call now a MC-3. http://www.pioneeraero.com/2-5_fre_fal.htm