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Usetawuz

Towed Jumper

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I seem to recall some one, long ago, being intentionally towed behind a military aircraft - C123 or 130 - in flight. I think it was J. Scott Hamilton conducting some kind of experiment. Anyone remember the details?

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The older I get, the better I was!

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Hi Usetawuz,

J. Scott was an instructor in HALO when he was in the Army. In one test program he worked on he was on the ground (he had a rig on) and he stood between two poles that held a lanyard between them that was then attached to him. Along came a C-130 or so with a grappling type of hook and snagged the lanyard pulling him up into the air. Then they reeled him into the aircraft.

As he told me the story back in '66 he said that when he was being towed he could control his body just like in freefall.

Now you have the rest of the story,

Jerry

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I remember seeing photos of J. Scott Hamilton flying on a tether as he was reeled into the C-130.
With the agreement of the pilot, I put together a 100-foot long tether with a Capewell release on the end and "flew" at the end of it from a Cessna 182 a couple times back in about 1972-73.
I'd just cutaway from the lanyard and open my ParaCommander after a short freefall, and the pilot would reel the line back into the airplane on his way down.
I think we quit doing it because the static line attach point on the floor of the airplane wasn't quite strong enough for the load and the ring the static lines and the tether attached to bent out of round.
It was a fun thing to do, and you really could "fly" relative to the airplane, depending on the airspeed. I found that at 100 knots, more or less, you could "flost" up to almost level with the airplane, and dive down to a low trail position. The pilot told me that he could feel it when I would try going side-to-side behind the airplane. I could also get spinning so fast on the end of the rope that it would make me dizzy ... but I've been like that most all my life.
Zing Lurks

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> Now you have the rest of the story

Did we jump together at Taft? I keep trying to place
where we know each other from.

Scotty and Norm Heaton came down to Taft several
times when PCA headquarters was in Monterey.

I remember Scotty telling these stories too. It was
testing a possible way to rescue downed pilots.

You send up a balloon with a cable attaching the
balloon to the pilot, and then a C-130 flies by and
snags the cable and hauls the pilot to safety.


He said that on one of the tests the cable reeling
in device jammed, and he was out there for a long
time, an hour or more, while they tried to figure
out what to do.

I guess there was no quick release on the pilot
end of the cable since in real use the pilot wouldn't
have a rig on anyway.

He said that while he was out there hanging around
he tried lots of freefall stuff including tracking
positions, and that he could get above the tail
of the C-130.


Sounds like an early military wind tunnel prototype
to me :-) :-)

Skr

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You both seem to be describing the Fulton Recovery System. I don't know who the first person to be a live guinie pig was, but the second was Johnny Johnson (unless every '60's skydiver I knew as a child was lieing to me. Johnny was extracted off of Eubanks Field at Fort Benning, GA in front of a large gathered crowd. Yes, the system was designed for recovering downed pilots and extracting "high value targets". Anyone wanting to see the system in action need only sit through a viewing of "The Green Berets". They use the system in that movie.

The military still has C-130's setup for that use. At least they did the last time I was at Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

Chuck

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Hi Skratch,

Nope, we have never jumped together.

I have only seen you one time in my life, at the Old Farts (ParaPioneers to be politically correct) Getogether in Denver a few years back.

These days I get up in the morning, check the obit column to see if I am there; if not, I go on with my day. B|

Jerry

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> Is it "Masters of the Sky" that has scenes of a jumper towed behind a Cessna?
>
> I think the jumper is Gary Patmor and he also had a movie camera on his head.

That was Carl Boenish at Elsinore.

I believe it was Jay Gifford lowering him down,
and doing the filming from from the door, and
I almost remember Jay doing a couple tows
with Carl filming from the door, but that's a
pretty tenuous memory.

And I think maybe it was Jim Wilkins flying.

Jim used to zero-gee us off the Cessna.

We'd sit on the floor with our feet out on the
step, and he'd lower the nose a bit and build
up some speed, then he'd pull up and do a
short zero-gee parabola over the top and
we'd float out under the wing and hang out
for a while before going our separate ways.


Jay Gifford and Ed McKay started up north
somewhere (Idaho?). They took turns putting
each other out on static line.

I met them when they came down to Oceanside
in the early/mid 60s, where they contributed
substantially to the legendary scene there.

At least it was legendary to we who were there.


Gary Patmor was more of a Northern California
jumper, although he did get around quite a bit
as a camera guy.

Skr

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I could also get spinning so fast on the end of the rope that it would make me dizzy ... but I've been like that most all my life.



They actually have 'legal' medication now, that you might wanna look into Zing! ;):ph34r:










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

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skratch...

You would know and I wouldn't....though I think Gary Patmor was in "Masters of the Sky," doing something.

But anyway... I am looking through my vast archives to find more stuff about Chuck Alexander, an engineer for Pioneer, who jumped out of one plane and deployed. His canopy bridle was then snagged by a hook from another plane and he was winched back into it. Don't know what year -- mid-sixties sometime -- though I did know him slightly. It was not a stunt, but done for a military contract, as I recall.

The same half-vast archives also disgorged the attached picture of a jumper being towed under a Beech 18. I don't know the story about it, but will ask the person I think it came from.

HW

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> though I think Gary Patmor was in "Masters of the Sky," doing something.

When they were jumping into the snow and ski scene in
the mountains is one place.

It's been a really long time since I've seen those movies,
and it's hard to keep straight which scenes were in which
movie.

I also remember footage of Gary jumping some really odd
shaped canopies, but I don't remember what was in Carl's
movies and what I just happened to see in some other
context.


> Chuck Alexander

I didn't know about this jump. That sounds pretty touchy.

In Scotty's case there was a lot of cable between him
and the balloon, plus he was on the ground holding still,
which would make it easier for the C-130 pilot to guage
his flight path.


> attached picture of a jumper being towed under a Beech 18

I had forgotten about that. Wasn't that a camera guy
trying for some shots from an unusual angle or something?


Camera guys are a strange lot. I remember once at
Oceanside when the Cessna caught on fire in the engine
compartment, and everybody was running for fire extinguishers ..

Except Carl, who ran for his helmet camera :-) :-)

Skr

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Hi Jerry,

Now that you've jump started my memory cell (both of them) I do recall the "rest of the story"

Some place along the line HW points out the scene in "Green Berets". I hadn't made that connection.

I think Scotty said at times he was able to fly higher than the AC tail! Gonads!

_________________________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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> attached picture of a jumper being towed under a Beech 18

I had forgotten about that. Wasn't that a camera guy
trying for some shots from an unusual angle or something?



I now have the following from Kim Emmons Knor, D-223. I scanned the picture from her collection last fall.

" This one .. was taken at Taft, California where I was jumping in 1962. We used that for a jump plane and the pilot was Art Armstrong. The man hanging below to photograph our exits was Don Molitar. We used to load the plane with jumpers in Van Nuys and fly up to Taft trying to get as much altitude as possible and then jump in to Taft and continue jumping for the day. I logged my longest delay up to that point ...85 sec...there on April 8th, 1962....just 45 years ago today. Probably on a Sunday too."

HW

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My first introduction to Skydiving was a demo by a Russian team in New Zealand in 1975 or 76. One of the demo's was a jumper towed behind the airplane. I remember the plane coming down low over the runway with the towed jumper perhaps less that 100 feet off the deck. Then they climbed to altitude and he cutaway from the tow rope. Dont remember much else from the demo, but I started jumping the following year.
...Paul

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You both seem to be describing the Fulton Recovery System. I don't know who the first person to be a live guinie pig was, but the second was Johnny Johnson (unless every '60's skydiver I knew as a child was lieing to me. Johnny was extracted off of Eubanks Field at Fort Benning, GA in front of a large gathered crowd. Yes, the system was designed for recovering downed pilots and extracting "high value targets". Anyone wanting to see the system in action need only sit through a viewing of "The Green Berets". They use the system in that movie.

The military still has C-130's setup for that use. At least they did the last time I was at Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

Chuck



Chuck: First live pickup using the FRS was Gunnery Sergeant Lee Woods, USMC. Don't know the actual date but it was prior to summer of 1962.

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You both seem to be describing the Fulton Recovery System. action need only sit through a viewing of "The Green Berets". They use the system in that movie.



We had some training with this system back in 1970. Can't say that I ever saw anyone pulled into the sky though. We were told that there had been a fatality using this system when someone came unhooked while being reeled in....Steve1

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> I thought that the towed jumper in Masters of the Sky
> was Gary Patmor as well.

Now you guys are making me wonder about my memory.

The shots I'm remembering are:

1 - A shot forward from inside the plane catching a glimpse
of the right side of the pilot's face - and Jim Wilkins keeps
coming to mind.

2 - A shot of the strap going around the strut, going around
a section covered in black tape, and a guy in a blue jumpsuit
doing the lowering. I'm not remembering a face but Jay
Gifford had a blue jumpsuit and worked with Carl during this
period.

3 - A shot looking down at the towed jumper. He hangs there
for quite a while, does a few barrel roll turns looking up at the
plane, fumbles with the release for a long time, and then falls
away for several seconds and then the camera looks away.

He looks like Carl to me - red jumpsuit with white wings, gun
camera on the side of a black helmet, front mount reserve.

Gary had a red jumpsuit too, but I seem to remember a red
helmet with a fancier enclosure for the camera, and he was
an early adopter of the Security piggyback.

I wonder if I'm remembering other footage that wasn't in
the movie.

Hmmph, it's very inconvenient when the facts get in the way
of a good jump story :-) :-)

Skr

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I haven't seen "Masters of the Sky" for a couple of years. I showed it at a boogie at a local DZ; I was the only person there who knew how to run a 16mm sound projector and I had to explain on the PA that these were movies, not videos.

And I remember a helmet with Patmor on it, but it could have been in the Lake Tahoe ski scene. Your recollection of the camera tow scene corresponds well with mine. Every time I see the scene of the demo jump into the parking lot, I just know that someone is going to break an ankle, but they never do.

By the way, I have recently run across some old Skratch articles on early RW rules, etc., complete with headshots of the author. Should these be the next old stuff I scan and post? :)

HW

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ok I couldn't stand this any more.
I called Gary and asked him what the story was.

So here it is, straight from Gary Patmor.

Yes it was Gary in Masters of the Sky.

He wanted another camera view so he was experimenting at a DZ out by Sacto.
He had a doubled nylon strap that went around the strut of a C-182.
He climbed out and let go of the strut. The excess line was fed out by someone in the plane.
He had a quick release that allowed him to cutaway.
He also had a jumpsuit with extra wings that allowed him to fly off to the side and get better shots.

He did these tests in the Sacto area for preparation for the Nationals later that year. (Sorry Gary did not remember what year it was)

.
.
Make It Happen
Parachute History
DiveMaker

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> early RW rules

Rules!!???!! Nooooooooooooo!!!

Don't print any of that.

I know I was irresponsible for some of those rules,
but I plead youth and inexperience and ignorance.

I had no idea how much damage I was doing!

---

I'm glad Jan got the actual facts on the towed jumper.

We must have seen that other footage at the Rumbleseat
or the Gypsy Moth or somewhere.

I know it was Carl because we made a lot of jumps together.

Skr

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Rules!!???!! Nooooooooooooo!!!
Don't print any of that.


Aw, shucks, :S

I had so wanted to illustrate proposed jump #2 for the 1970 Nationals: "Star-Baton Pass-Star."

And no doubt the CRW dogs would object to "It is OK to land on somebody's canopy on the ground," but anywhere else is a ZAP. "..no canopy tangles allowed."

HW

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