USAF Test Parachutist Video

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This is a pretty sweet video showing USAF test parachutists at work. All are jumping the BA-22 (Z variation for test jumps) harness/container system and C-9 28' flat circular round main (one is actually a 35' chute for use on the U-2 Spyplane). "Stuff" seen either dropping away or hanging below the jumper under canopy are survival kit containers (empty shell falling away) and life raft/ survival kit items. Jumpers wear a Butler HX-500 chest mounted belly conical reserve with Cypres AAD. Video shows Thunderbird ejection seat footage, head down terminal round opening, bailout "tuck" body position opening, line over/ mae west malfunction with holes/tears, spring loaded pilot chute "hesitation", 98% perfect PLF (Knees should be together...but who's grading them anyways) and a terminal total malfunction with belly reserve deployment.

The US Army and USAF are the only two services that have current test parachutist. The test parachutist in the USAF comprise mostly of SERE Specialists, Life Support Technicians, and Parachute Riggers.

Learn more about an exciting career as a SERE Specialist:


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The Air Force used to use Cal City's Otter for test jumps during the '85 to '95 timeframe. It was tough to get on load with them. I couldn't get on even with an Active Duty card at the time. Norm Krackk was a jumper with them and told me he landed an 18' experimental round around that time. It wasn't put into production. A lot of the jumps on the video were deliberately deployed the way they were to simulate emergency bailouts.

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The Air Force used to use Cal City's Otter for test jumps during the '85 to '95 timeframe.

Actually, Van had a contract with the USN as well to drop Navy Test Parachutists all the way up until the Navy shut down their Test Parachutist program 2005. ... and then he / Cal City Skydive continued to do contract work with the USAF Test Parachutist program all the way up until Cal City closed its doors in late 2007.


It was tough to get on load with them...

Reeeallly???? :D;) :)

Some additional Navy Test Parachutist stuff...



June 9, 2005

Parachute test team packs it up

For 61 years, members of the Naval Test Parachute team were ready and willing to be first out the door, risking their lives testing new parachutes and escape systems. However, June 1, that long tradition ended when the team was disestablished at China Lake.

Col. Mark Bamberger, Commanding Officer, Military Operations, Research and Engineering Department, praised the Sailors who formed the team, saying it wasn't so much the training or even the skills that made a difference. "Their key asset is their heart." He added that their commitment and willingness to strap on a new parachute system to ensure it worked when a pilot needed it in an emergency made a real difference to many pilots who survived emergency ejections and bailouts.

Retired Air Force Col. Joseph Kittinger, who made his first parachute jump with the Navy team in 1955 as a young fighter pilot, was the guest speaker. Kittinger's first jump began with a 10-second free fall. In 1960, while serving with the Air Force's Escape Section of the Aeromedical Laboratory, he flew a balloon to 102,800 feet, and then stepped out of the gondola into the black of space. This time his free fall set records, taking him nearly five minutes to reach 17,500 feet before his parachute opened. During his free fall, he reached speeds of more than 600 miles per hour, still a record for un-powered human flight. Following three combat tours in Vietnam and 11 months as a POW, Kittinger went on to set many ballooning records, including becoming the first person to fly a balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Kittinger said this was a sad day because of the decommissioning, but that the test parachutists should be proud of their legacy. The 339 men and women who served on the team made more that 67,000 jumps during 61 years and have a great tradition of success.

"The Navy and the country are indebted to you for your accomplishments, " Kittinger said of the test team. "You have a great tradition and in the words of one of your pioneer jumpers, you are immortal, bulletproof and invisible."

Former NAWCWD Commander Rear Adm. Dave Venlet sent a message congratulating the team on its history of success and noting that he was proud to have jumped with the best during his tenure at China Lake. "Do not sorrow for the sunset of a team, " Venlet wrote, "but tell your honorable stories of bravery long into this night, and carry your noble memories of comrades, your daring work, in your hearts forever. I will never forget you. Thank you for your inspiration to me, and all who knew you. Carry on, shipmates! Well done!"

The team was established at Lakehurst, N.J., in 1944, moved to El Centro, Calif., in 1946, then moved to China Lake in 1979. Among the systems tested by the team were the Navy's first ram-air parachute; the P-3 thin pack, the advanced ram-air system, the modified reserve parachute system, the E-2C personnel survival ensemble and NASA's space shuttle crew escape system. They also worked in testing NASA's Pathfinder parachute used to land on Mars. In addition, they trained people from many commands and all services in basic parachute skills. During the 61 years, 35 test parachutists died in the line of duty testing equipment for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

While June 1 marked the disestablishment of the Naval Test Parachute team, which is the result of workload and budget decisions, it does not mark the end of the team's legacy or the future of parachute testing. Civilian and military employees, men and women of the Human Systems Department at NAWCWD and qualified parachutists throughout the fleet continue to work with these systems, and new systems as they evolve, to ensure the future safety of parachute systems.

Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Lewis, officer-in-charge of the Test Parachute Branch, concluded the event by setting two traditions in motion. "At the end of each day, when the duty officer retired or at the end of each log book, there would be a signature and a notation of "No Further Entries," Lewis said. "Additionally, the Navy honors the sacrifice, courage and steadfast devotion to duty by the current crew and those from the past by having the oldest and youngest present take part in a ceremony."

To close the book on the team and 61 years of accomplishment, the oldest test parachutist, retired Master Chief Hal Picard and the youngest, PR2 Mark Cusimano made the final entries to the team's log and the team marched into the history books.

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Interesting link about Misty Warren.

The website states that "On her 75th jump Misty experienced an equipment failure during a routine jump."

It was my understanding that the "equipment failure" she experienced was on her main, and her reserve had been packed with a clamp(s) on her reserve making inflation impossible.

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