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steve1

Scary stories from the old days?

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This thread could use some new stories, and so I'll add a few minor ones, even if they aren't from the crazy days of the 60s and 70s:

These were mainly static line students in the 1990s, which is still 'old days' in that that was the main way to learn at the time, at local Cessna DZ's. Among the many students, 20-30 every weekend day in the summer, there were always ones that did their best to hurt themselves. It's amazing nobody every got killed around where I was. Watching students do dumb things was part of the excitement of the sport, sort of a life & death hazing ritual, or like watching car races for the crashes. Now when doing tandems or AFF there's more of an expectation that you have to keep your student alive...


1) Nearly an unintentional cutaway low
One student has a minor canopy problem on opening, closed end cell or tension knot that's starting a slow turn. He starts to pull his SOS handle, but then remembers or hears on the radio to do his normal toggle grab and flare first. This he does, the problem goes away, and all is fine. He comes in normally to land, and I go over to meet him as he approaches, as his metal SOS handle can be seen dangling from his chest, well away from its pocket.

I reach him as he touches down, and the DZO comes up too. Looking at the students' cutaway cables, one is only 1 cm (< 1/2") past the white loop. The DZ dodged a bullet that day. The student could have had a riser cut away at any moment. (The RSL wouldn't have helped, as the non-RSL side is supposed to cut away first.)


2) Grabbing something other than toggles
Static line student has a good canopy, but then the round reserve streams out and inflates for a two-out. He chops the main and it clears fine so he lands OK. What happened? On the old gear that was a sort of Wonderhog style, the RSL happened to be a big Type IV yellow strap exposed at the shoulder, going up to the link on the riser. The student had grabbed that while looking for the yellow toggles... Not a good design.


3) Turning downwind at low altitude
There was a clueless student who kept coming back for years, just a few jumps a year, never enough to progress much. One time I'm on radio helping guide her down. She's at 100-150 ft or something, not far out infront of the crowd line, on final, when she gets confused, and cranks a sharp 180. Now she's low, heading straight downwind, and headed for the side of two C-182s parked nose to tail maybe 20' apart. I tell her to steer between them and then "Flare like hell!" Not standard radio procedure but the best I could think of. She flies between the two planes and skids in, and is uninjured. She never had a rational explanation of why she turned like that.


3a) Another bad student landing
Another static line student wasn't following commands well, at a time when the instructor had brought him in pretty close to the crowd line for landing. The student on low final angles off of the LZ, and heads for the firepit. He's coming in fast, and not flaring in time. He just misses hitting one of the huge solid logs that is seating around the fire pit, and ploughs into the large wooden box that contains all the empty beer bottles. That created quite a spectacular crashing & smashing noise! The student managed to limp away without serious injury.


4) How not to propack
One DZ learned about propacking when it was pretty new, back in '91. With limited packing space in the packing trailer, they decided to give it a go for their students and packers. Well, the technique was new, and the person who brought the technique to the DZ didn't know all the tricks yet -- in particular, the danger of wrapping the brake lines around towards the nose.

I was a newly licenced jumper, and had my packing down pat, as I had had my rigger rating at 50 jumps. I had learned to propack from what was a new video put out by Precision for their industry-leading Raven reserves. But for the rest of the DZ, there was a student mal pretty much every second weekend. One got to watch students float around under round reserves a lot. Good amusement. A number of students who got licenced that year had their first cutaway already under their belt.


5) Deploying reserve into the main
I had one student who got broken, my first year of dispatching students. She was the last out of the 182, her canopy looked OK initially, I glanced away, but as the 182 turned I looked out again and saw her in a rapid spin with one side of her canopy collapsed.

The student wasn't cutting away so the radio instructor called for her to to do her emergency procedures. After another 10 seconds of spinning, with I and the C-182 pilot looking out the door, we see a reserve canopy come out, stream up beside the malfunctioned main, and after a couple seconds of two canopies fighting for air, the main departed without snagging the reserve. The pilot and I look at each other, both thinking "Phew!", after seeing the near main-reserve entanglement.

The problem had been that she had deployed while falling backwards off the step, snagging one riser under the reserve container, causing the rapid spin. When she pulled the SOS handle, that riser stayed snagged for a few seconds while the reserve came out, before clearing. The student broke a couple bones in her foot or ankle, landing the round reserve.


6) Bad reserve toggle colour
This one was surprisingly only 6 years back but anyway: A DZ had a lesser known, non-U.S. brand of rigs for students, a type that was getting pretty old and has thankfully been replaced since then. A student has a mal, gets his reserve open, then floats off into the distance and gets slightly injured as he hits a small tree on landing and just misses a fence. What happened? The reserve toggles were BLACK, on black risers, and the student never found them. I can't believe anyone would build or pack gear like that...


7) Blown up canopy
A heavy student did a 5 second delay or something and opened up. At first he seemed to be doing OK, so the instructor on the radio looked away and dealt with a less experienced static line student still in the air. Maybe he didn't keep a close enough eye on the advanced student, but he then noticed that the heavy student was a lot lower than expected. The guy wasn't spiralling down, but somehow was losing altitude relatively fast. At first the instructor called for the student to cut away, but soon the student was too low for that , so he was just talked in to a landing, emphasizing to do a PLF. The student slammed hard into a muddy field and was taken away with back pains but it later looks like nothing is broken. Turns out that the pilot chute attachment point wasn't all that well reinforced on that design of canopy, and after a lot of use the canopy had split nose to tail on the topskin on that opening. The canopy had flown just well enough that nobody understood what the problem was in the air.
(Can't recall what model it was, maybe a Man O War. In any case, the couple other such canopies that the DZ had, went to static line direct bag only.)

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I can remember the student who cut away from what looked like a perfectly good canopy on his first jump. He later said that he got his feet tangled in the lines because of a bad exit, and cut away because he didn't fancy landing on his head. Good thing he separated! He ended up with well over a thousand jumps.

Another couldn't find the toggles on a cheapo. Turns out that particular cheapo had the toggles right up against the connector links, with the steering line run through the connector link. Yeah, it was definitely possible to miss them, especially since they were just wood right by dirty lines.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Just stumbled onto this thread and enjoyed the h*** out of all the "there I was" stories. As someone mentioned in one of the posts, if you weren't there in the early days, you just can't comprend what it was really like. Kind of how I can't believe some of the videos that I watch now days......base jumping a mountain then flying down slope through the valleys...DAMN. My first jump was in 1966 and last one in 1997 and ended with a little over 1100.
There simply seemed to be a different mind set back then. It wasn't smart or safe but we would jump any rig, out of any thing with wings, in any conditions, into any target (think county bars with backyards just big enough to fit your para commander between the powerlines and trees)and walk away feeling happier than any human has a right to feel!!! My first demo was on my 20th jump into a race track using a double LL cheapo out of a C170 with the door off (damn it was cold on the climb out).
As great as the jumps were, the people (characters) that were around were even better. I jumped out of a small club in Superior, WI. We got together a lot with fellows from other small clubs from Osceola and Eau Claire, WI .... the jumps were a blast and the after jump stories are MEMORABLE!
One comment about gear. If you haven't cut away using shot and a halfs then going to a front mount reserve with no pilot chute, you haven't lived! The first time I had to chop a wildly spinning square using 3rings, I thought I had died and gone to heaven it was so slick.
I don't know if this post will ever even get read but thanks for letting me write it. B6666, C5281, SCR 1399, FOB 303



Well said Duluth! Your words brought back a lot of memories....

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The first one (feet caught) was, the other one was at Spring Creek. They fixed that cheapo after that I'm pretty sure -- I was just a student then, so I don't know much more than that.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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I spoke with a security officer Friday 22nd March at Charlotte airport in North Carolina. He was swabbing my rig after X-ray since none of the security officers knew what a parachute was and he did. He mentioned that he had been skydiving way long ago. I asked him some questions and he then told me about his only jump and my chin dropped!

His only jump was in the military he told. He was transferred to a EOD unit and was sent to report in. Upon his arrival he was informed that he was already scheduled for a jump. He pointed out that he didn't have any training at all. His fellow soldiers just told him that they would train him exactly on what he should do. So they did and he then did his jump, got a pat on the back, the wings and "good job".

His jump was a night jump into a POW camp during the Vietnam war... :D:D:D
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return." - Da Vinci
www.lilchief.no

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He didn't say any names and I didn't ask, but when I read about the Son Tay raid, there were no parachutes there.

But by the way he talked about it I had no reason not to belive him.
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return." - Da Vinci
www.lilchief.no

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He didn't say any names and I didn't ask, but when I read about the Son Tay raid, there were no parachutes there.

But by the way he talked about it I had no reason not to believe him.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_forces


"In February 1967 Operation Junction City was launched, it would be the largest operation the Coalition Force would assemble. During this operation, 845 members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), the 319th Artillery (Airborne), and elements of H&H company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade made the only combat jump in Vietnam".


IF he made THAT jump he's be what...66-67 years old now? :|;)

He probably told the next guy through the line he was a Navy SEAL in Granada! ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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well, his age was about that, so it could be that jump he spoke about.

When I return to Norway, I'll transit through Charlotte again. Maybe I'll meet him and get some more info. Too bad you can't sit and chat with TSA security ;)
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return." - Da Vinci
www.lilchief.no

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He didn't say any names and I didn't ask, but when I read about the Son Tay raid, there were no parachutes there.

But by the way he talked about it I had no reason not to believe him.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_forces


"In February 1967 Operation Junction City was launched, it would be the largest operation the Coalition Force would assemble. During this operation, 845 members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), the 319th Artillery (Airborne), and elements of H&H company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade made the only combat jump in Vietnam".


IF he made THAT jump he's be what...66-67 years old now? :|;)

He probably told the next guy through the line he was a Navy SEAL in Granada! ;)



Junction City wasn't the only combat drop. The Army did at least 15 other static line jumps, the Marines did 3 and there where at least 5 HALO drops...at least that's what I hear on the Interweb. The story is still really a stretch as most know for sure.
Propblast

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Sorry, I don't. He was about my hight - 5'10'', white hair and glasses..+ TSA uniform. He was at work, friday 22nd around 4 pm. If you're able to find him and hear more about his story, that would be great! :)
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return." - Da Vinci
www.lilchief.no

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He didn't say any names and I didn't ask, but when I read about the Son Tay raid, there were no parachutes there.

But by the way he talked about it I had no reason not to believe him.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_forces


"In February 1967 Operation Junction City was launched, it would be the largest operation the Coalition Force would assemble. During this operation, 845 members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), the 319th Artillery (Airborne), and elements of H&H company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade made the only combat jump in Vietnam".


IF he made THAT jump he's be what...66-67 years old now? :|;)

He probably told the next guy through the line he was a Navy SEAL in Granada! ;)



Junction City wasn't the only combat drop. The Army did at least 15 other static line jumps, the Marines did 3 and there where at least 5 HALO drops...at least that's what I hear on the Interweb. The story is still really a stretch as most know for sure.




Combat jumps?

really??? B|

Where & When? :)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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He didn't say any names and I didn't ask, but when I read about the Son Tay raid, there were no parachutes there.

But by the way he talked about it I had no reason not to believe him.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_forces


"In February 1967 Operation Junction City was launched, it would be the largest operation the Coalition Force would assemble. During this operation, 845 members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), the 319th Artillery (Airborne), and elements of H&H company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade made the only combat jump in Vietnam".


IF he made THAT jump he's be what...66-67 years old now? :|;)

He probably told the next guy through the line he was a Navy SEAL in Granada! ;)



Junction City wasn't the only combat drop. The Army did at least 15 other static line jumps, the Marines did 3 and there where at least 5 HALO drops...at least that's what I hear on the Interweb. The story is still really a stretch as most know for sure.




Combat jumps?

really??? B|

Where & When? :)



:P :)


BTW, I just noticed happy 12 anniversary to me....although I am sure I was on this site as early as 1999.
Propblast

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Very few combat jumps were made in Vietnam. I don't think any involved jumping into a POW camp. There were some early HALO operations, but very few.

When I went through S.F. training in 1970, there were some rumors circulating concerning an upcoming mission, somewhere in Nam. Supposedly they were looking for volunteers. Maybe this was a rumor about a rumor. I don't know. We heard a lot of tall stories. I was still a trainee then.

Then later, that winter, we heard about a mission that really happened. It was a raid on a prison camp, somewhere in Vietnam. It was a joint mission involving Army Special Forces and Navy Seals. As far as I know there was no jumping involved. The camp was empty.....no prisoners were found. They had apparently been moved to another location.

I read about this later, in the newspaper.

I'd venture to say that anyone who talks about a jump into a POW camp, in Nam, is probably telling a big windy....

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Combat jumps?

really??? B|

Where & When? :)



Yeah, man I made one myself.
You see, a bar full of Air Force drunks started picking on two ROKs....I jumped under the table to avoid getting hit by the flying bodies. Table got crushed but me and my buddy were fine.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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Combat jumps?

really??? B|

Where & When? :)



Yeah, man I made one myself.
You see, a bar full of Air Force drunks started picking on two ROKs....I jumped under the table to avoid getting hit by the flying bodies. Table got crushed but me and my buddy were fine.





"How did you get wounded in the war grandpa?"





DEAD ANTS! :ph34r:










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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