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riggerrob

Black Forest Parachute Club

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This thread is for former members of the Black Forest Parachute Club to share memories of jumping at Canadian Forces Bases Baden-Baden and Lahr, West Germany during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

I arrived in September 1985 and promptly started instructing, rigging and flying our Cessna 182 jump-plane. I left in 1987.

Master Corporal (retired) Rob Warner, CD, BA, a couple sets of military jump wings, etc.

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Never was a member.... but when visiting Germany in the summer of 1992, I stopped by at the Lahr DZ one weekend. Put in a few jumps in until the airplane transponder went on the fritz and they couldn't climb high. The fellow in charge maybe took pity on a student roaming the country who had walked to the air base from the local train station, so he didn't charge me any club fees, and gave me free rig rental. Slept on a barracks couch. I think fuel was at military prices, not high European civilian prices, so DZ jumps were cheap compared to pricy jumps at civilian DZ's in Europe. So I got a sweet deal. 

After a hop and pop to demonstrate I wasn't a total idiot, I did a couple two ways, breaking off at 3000'. ("I mean, it's only a 2 way, why break off up at 3500'?")  Looks like Volker Kock signed my log book, though I didn't jump with him. Peter Landry (at least once a Canadian Nationals meet director) also showed up.

Rental / student gear was EZ Flyers with Mantas or the super sluggish Laser 288's.
They had new Telesis rigs but they were temporarily grounded after some student a few weeks earlier had had a main riser catch under the reserve tray during a mal, leading to him spiralling in and being paralyzed. While I was there someone else renting failed to catch an FXC set to 2000' and came down under the main but trailing the round reserve, the diaper having held it shut.

It was the best defended DZ I had ever seen:  DZ ops were housed in a large hardened aircraft shelter, complete with siren and rotating beacon as the heavy blast doors opened.  Very impressive... but then there's a little C-182 inside! They called it the Yellow Banana I believe.

By 1992 after the end of the cold war, at CFB Lahr the F-104 Starfighters were long gone, the Kiowa helicopters were gone, and many personnel were off doing peacekeeping things in Yugoslavia, so it was a quiet place, only a couple years before the Canadian military bases in Germany shut down.

I did take some perhaps illegal photos on base, as attached.
I had also been to Germany a bunch of times as a kid -- Great fun in the cold war, with so much military hardware to see on the streets and in the skies. Note the "Panzer crossing" sign outside the main gate.

That's all for my most minor of exposures to the Canadian military's German sport parachuting club!  Cheers Rob.

 

CFB Lahr 1992 main gate.jpg

CFB Lahr 1992 the yellow banana & DZ ops.jpg

CFB Lahr 1992 inside the DZ hardened aircraft shelter.jpg

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(edited)
On 7/27/2021 at 11:22 AM, pchapman said:

While I was there someone else renting failed to catch an FXC set to 2000' and came down under the main but trailing the round reserve, the diaper having held it shut.

LOL, that was me.  As the main was deploying, I heard this weird buzz sound followed by some fluttering behind me.  Looked back to see the reserve sneaking out, still inside the diaper.  I pulled it in and initially held it under my arm, but then couldn't fly the main.  So I held the reserve between my knees.  I think I dropped it as I landed.
Edit:  This is why when people ask how many reserve rides I have, I say "three and a half".

I saw the German student on his second jump have the reserve go through the risers.  I was one of the first two guys to get to him.  We had just unloaded jerry cans from my car (we used fuel from the base gas station, so not military fuel, but not German/economy prices either).  I got in my car with this guy Merlin and we blasted out to the landing area between the runway and the parallel taxiway, almost hitting one of the taxiway lights.  I was amazed this guy was alive and seemed likely to survive.  We radioed for an ambulance did some basic first aid.  We stood on the canopies while the ADAC helicopter came in and life flighted him.  There was a guy with a camera helmet on the strut when the student jumped.  We almost never had video.  Pete and some other guys (probably law enforcement, base flight safety officer) reviewed the video and determined that he spun as he exited and that somehow trapped the right rear riser.

Weird that I thought that happened after my incident with the FXC.

They took the wings off C-GBBL the Crazy Banana (was also the name of some German bar or band or something), put it in a sea container and shipped it to Petawawa.  Last I heard it was flying out of Arnprior (https://www.airhistory.net/photo/310025/C-GBBL).  Flightaware shows it flying from Victoria to South Cariboo on 20 Feb.

Edited by TitaniumLegs
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