0
cjsitfly

Old 82nd Airborne Fatalities

Recommended Posts

Bear with me as I am new to this site and am unsure where I should post information such as this. If it needs to be moved that is fine. This information is historical however it holds value as it relates to some posts I have read herein. Since I am new to the site and have never posted this information I wanted to do it at least once.

I spent three years with the 82nd airborne 319th Field artillery division from 1977 to 1980. During that time I witnessed, or was aware of, two incidents that I believe have some significant value to share.

One day in 1988 we were on a routine drop over one of the four DZ’s at Fort Bragg. We made our first pass allowing jumpers to leave the plane until the red light came on and then circled to make another pass to allow the rest of the jumpers to exit. Standard procedure at that time was the yellow light would go on and the jumpmaster would yell to the first jumper, “Stand in the door”. Upon the green light going on the Jumpmaster would then yell “go” and start grabbing static lines as jumpers exited until the red light went on. At this point he would extend his arm across the door and not allow any more jumpers out. After this particular flight, and I will never forget it, things changed forever at Ft. Bragg. As we finished the first pass and the red light went on the jumpmaster extended his arm across the door but caught his left thumb in the belly reserve handle of the next jumper in line (I was on the right side of the plane, as you face it, so the jumpmaster would place his left arm and partial body across the door). The force of his arm movement was enough to start the deployment sequence of his reserve. The reserve immediately sprung out and inflated outside of the plane. The soldier was immediately pulled and slammed hard against the door (the impact of this probably killed him even though he had a steel pot on). His static line was still attached which eventually deployed his main also. However, for anyone who knows the C-130 it used to have a steel cable that ran from the upper fuselage to the upper tail (it still might). This gentleman was dragged across the cable and decapitated. The fact that he had two-out is irrelevant here, obviously. I was the seventh man back on the stick when this incident took place. There was blood all over the door and the jumpmaster. Our C-130 went immediately back to Pope AFB and we were offloaded. I did not here anymore about this incident other than a man had died in a training incident (The 82nd did not release much detail in those days). A friend in the riggers division shared the decapitation details with me later. However, after this incident the 82nd Airborne changed their protocol to never interfere with a jumper going out on a red light. It was better to have misdrop than a potential injury or fatality.

The other incident(s), that I did not witness, but was there for was the static line cutting scare of “78-79”. Someone who had access to the parachutes from the time of rigging thru transport to Pope AFB was cutting the static lines inside the bag. On Ft Bragg in those days they moved parachutes around like cattle. I have no idea how many people had access to the rigs. You showed up at Pope and where given a rig and off you went. There were gear checks but only external checks. By the time it ended, or by the time I left, 7 people had been identified as potential victims of this saboteur. I am not sure if anyone was ever arrested for these crimes although a close friend who joined the 82nd soon after I left said he believed they did. If you’re wondering why these victims did not pull the reserve please understand we were jumping from anywhere from 900 to 1200 feet. The majority of these guys were there to collect an additional $75 dollars a month by going airborne. All the training in the world did not prepare these teenagers to execute a belly reserve rip cord pull, slip your hand into the reserve container, grab the canopy and throw it in the direction of your spin (gosh I hope I got that right, I can’t remember now its been 30 years), and prepare to land. Some just freaked out and let’s face it, by the time you know you have a problem, i.e. 1001, 1002, 1003 and 1004 you are practically on the ground from those altitudes.

So what is the point……. As I said I have been away for many years. As I reenter the sport I am very excited about the advancements made in the equipment we are using. The % of no pulls and total malfunctions is very encouraging for our sport. However, the number of fatalities of experienced jumpers just making poor judgment can be so much better. This forum is hopefully a place we can evaluate fatalities and make changes as needed, i.e. the 82nd changing their protocol for red light jump runs.

Take time to do proper gear checks. I have been amazed at how fewer total gear checks are done prior to boarding the plane. When I started freefall in 87 it seemed like everyone was adamant about having someone else perform a gear check for them. Are we getting over confident with the equipment? The other day a tandem was boarding the plane and his rear flap was up and his drogue pin was exposed. When I pointed it out I got a response of, “oh it doesn’t matter it will be out in a minute anyway”. Well I am not anywhere near a rating for tandem, but I still think I want my stuff in neat order if I am taking someone else on a ride, especially when I am about to bump around against a bunch of people in the plane.

For those of you who can’t decide whether to check your rig or carry it on a plane I ask you this. Will you reach your destination and take that checked rig and jump it as is? Are you F%$#ing nuts? If your rig leaves your side and is in the hands of non-skydiving individuals for any length of time, especially airport personnel, you put yourself at risk, i.e. the static line incidents herein mentioned.

Sorry this is so long and I won’t post anything like this again. For those who just say, well the sport is dangerous and deaths will happen I say even one death avoided is a triumph for us all. I have a young son and daughter who will appreciate the next person who does my gear check.

Thanks.
Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I actually enjoyed reading this post. It was more of a heads up, do your gear check post for me. I do two gear checks before I leave the plane. One just before boarding and one at about 10,000 feet. All kinds of things can happen while you are moving around the plane on the ride up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Are we getting over confident with the equipment?



Yes! Fortunately the gear is so good that this overconfidence is not killing too many people.

Something that I see more of now is that people in the back of small Cessnas are not even getting up on their knees on jumprun to check their handles and reach back to see if their flap has opened. They just go from sitting on their ass to exiting.

Quote

The other day a tandem was boarding the plane and his rear flap was up and his drogue pin was exposed. When I pointed it out I got a response of, “oh it doesn’t matter it will be out in a minute anyway”.



A typical poor attitude. That is why tandem gear manufacturers have had to go (back) to cable style closing pins, to save people from their poor attitudes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was an army jumpmaster from around 72 to 75. I've jumped most of the DZ's at Bragg. Most of them are huge. I can't imagine them stopping a stick like that. I've never seen it done. I can see the purpose though, if you had a really short DZ. I also think it would be hard to stop a stick. It would be easy to snag a reserve handle.

D.Z. Clyde was probably the smallest drop zone that I jumped into at Bragg. In the last phase of S.F. training we made a equipment, night jump into it. On the first pass, two entire sticks went into the trees. A buddy of mine broke his leg.

I jumped the 2nd pass over that D.Z. It was so dark, I never did see the ground. Rode my equipment right into the ground, but I missed the trees.

I can see your point though. Carelessness kills. In the army everything is rigger checked carefully, before you jump. There is a lot to check, particularly if people are jumping equipment.

I'm a real believer in the Army Jump Master school. You do a head to toe check, (front and back) where you shouldn't miss anything. Sometimes I wish the same check was done skydiving.

In the 70's it seemed skydivers were more vigilant about checking each other. That might have been because there was more to check, then.

I had one friend that burned in back then, because he had a bungee over his reserve rip cord handle (on a belly reserve). A rigger check would have caught that.

Today's skydiving equipment is simpler.

Many skydivers don't want anyone messing with their pins. Most skydiver's rely on themselves to check their gear. But I still think a mandantory rigger check would save lives.

When I started skydiving again, after a very long lay off, I forgot to buckle up my chest strap correctly. Luckily another skydiver noticed it. That's the kind of stuff that get's missed when you hurry to get on a load, and check your own equipment.

Maybe an old salt, with thousands of jumps, doesn't need a rigger check. I think there are a lot of jumpers who do.

A good rigger check might take a few seconds, and it could save your bacon.

Just some rambling thoughts from an old paratrooper....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with Steve1 about the military style of the Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection (JMPI) each and every jumper receives prior to boarding the plane as well as some in the aircraft checks. It is easy for the military to do inspections because everyone (usually) has the same rig on for static line and freefall, as well as set inspection procedures. I think a big issue with the sport is that on any given load, their could be 10 different styles of rigs on board, which the jumper checking you might not know how to close/inspect properly. It is also an activity you are paying for (usually), not getting paid to do and thus other than the BSR's you can choose to do whatever you want to do. I agree though, a buddy check prior to boarding and prior to exit is never a bad idea. The US Army Freefall school for 2007 did just over 31,000 jumps with only 11 minor injuries, pretty good safety record.
We're not fucking flying airplanes are we, no we're flying a glorified kite with no power and it should be flown like one! - Stratostar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

The other day a tandem was boarding the plane and his rear flap was up and his drogue pin was exposed. When I pointed it out I got a response of, “oh it doesn’t matter it will be out in a minute anyway”.



A typical poor attitude. That is why tandem gear manufacturers have had to go (back) to cable style closing pins, to save people from their poor attitudes.



More than likely that TI was me, and it's not a poor attitude, at least not on my part. The Sigma main closing flap is pretty worthless at staying closed. [edit: the addition of magnets has helped immensely] However I know this, and conduct myself in the aircraft accordingly. On nearly every tandem I do on Sigmas the flap is checked prior to donning the rig, and shortly after putting on the rig it's open. Closing at that point usually means it will open 10 steps later on the walk to the aircraft. What is good about the flap is that when one sits down in the aircraft, it pushes back up to cover the pins.

The OP may also not know about the drogue safety pin and the way the Sigma tandem system functions. Because I've just done a complete gear check and loading on the taxiway isn't the best time to explain the differences in systems is why I might come off with a "joke" like the above. But if the OP or anyone is interested I am more than happy spending hours boring them with all the possible details of the gear. It's something I really do enjoy doing.

As to gear checks, all of my students are encouraged to get and give them. There is an etiquette to them that sometimes overlooked. A gear check should always be done with the knowledge of the gear wearer. And if something is unfamiliar to the checker then NEVER just figure it out.

I personally have dropped out of the habit of asking for a gear check for a few reasons:
1. I always check my own gear on the ground.
2. I can check my gear myself on the airplane.
3. Too many times I've had someone reach over and adjust my gear without asking.
4. I jump a less common system, and may jumpers are puzzled by it.

I will explain that system to anyone who asks, and when I cannot check my own gear or have some doubt about it I will ask someone I trust.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

More than likely that TI was me.....



What!? JP, say it's not true! (Sounds of drama, strife, etc.) OK, I'll just continue.

Quote

The Sigma main closing flap is pretty worthless at staying closed.



You know, all I ever hear about that rig is how "safe" it is compared to older designs, blah, blah. I'm thinking that people need to tell the manufacturer about that. (JP, not you necessarily.)

Quote

Closing at that point usually means it will open 10 steps later on the walk to the aircraft.



I understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Sigma main closing flap is pretty worthless at staying closed.



You know, all I ever hear about that rig is how "safe" it is compared to older designs, blah, blah. I'm thinking that people need to tell the manufacturer about that."

They have which is why the magnets are on the newest versions.

I have found that with a little care in the packing and closing that the flap will close every time and stay closed till the drogue is set.

One can always place the closing pin cover under the top flap as opposed to in the slot on that flap. This will shorten the reach the pin cover has to make and will help to keep the pin covered till the drogue is set. IMO though this and the magnets are just remedies for poor packing and closing, which usually caused by us T-I's yelling at the packers to hurry it up!:S

Matt
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

You know, all I ever hear about that rig is how "safe" it is compared to older designs, blah, blah. I'm thinking that people need to tell the manufacturer about that. (JP, not you necessarily.)



I have.:)
I'll trade a floppy flap for the removal of the drogue three ring and it's added malfunction path.:)
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is one that could have turned ugly quick. This was just a few weeks ago. I spent the day hiding from my desk with a camera on Sicily.

The lower guy was suspended head down from the upper guys suspension lines until about 20 feet off the ground, the somehow managed to get it untangled and they both walked away.

http://www.gregbaker.smugmug.com/gallery/6492702_ZFdtB#412293049_qNS9G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All this talk brings back memories from a distant past. I was in the 1/75 Rangers in GA in 1976-1977. I made some jumps at Bragg in the early '80's with an SF reserve unit.

While I was still in jump school, the Command Sgt Major of the 1/75th and a specialist died in a jump after colliding and entangling with each other on a fun jump day with family watching. Seemed like in those days accidents were not that uncommon, at least in terms of broken legs and tree landings and such. Not due to any lack of concern for safety, but mass tactical jumps were often challenging, and we often had to lug a lot of equipment leaving the aircraft.

Anyway, I recently got into skydiving as a sport and was amazed at how much the equipment has changed. I was impressed how the folks at my DZ in Texas are always concerned and aware of each other, and frequently check each others gear both on the ground and in the plane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope this thread has started something for those who want to share their time in the airborne units and also for those who might enjoy the stories . I have many memories of my brief time with the 82nd in the late 70’s and am excited to share them, hopefully you are too. Before I share the next story I certainly want to say that the sport as we know it today is so much safer than it has ever been.

In mid 1980 I made a simulated wartime mass assault into Ft Walton Beach, Florida (I think it was Ft Walton) in what was named “Bold eagle”. Unlike typical assault jumps or fun jumps on Bragg this was intended to be the REAL DEAL. For anyone out there that sat on a plane ready to go to Iran during the failed rescue attempt that went south in the dessert you know how much equipment we had to carry. On this particular jump I had the distinct pleasure of being right in the middle of the stick….not a great place to be. As fast as we would exit it is amazing what the mind and eyes can take in in a split second. As I ran out the door on the man in front of me I was awe struck by the number of C-141’s in the air, much less all the canopies, it seemed like an endless sea of parachutes. Now for all of you who have seem the military videos, or personal videos, of 82nd jumps over the DZ’s at Bragg I am certain you haven’t seen anything like this. When the 82nd does a wartime mass assault training exercise it is usually unannounced and out of state to ensure few to no spectators (at least back then). Our jump altitude was said to be 900 feet AGL, although I swear it seemed lower. It was a minimum of a battalion exercise (I was in the 1st battalion 319th FAR) although it included many others from the division. As I said I piggy backed the man in front of me in an almost fetal position. I had a relatively uneventful opening although a little slow. My feet planted right on his T-10 or MC-1 (I don’t remember) as my own parachute reached deployment. I had been told how to walk off a parachute but never thought I would experience a situation like this. I pulled a hard right riser to slip away and then proceeded to………………………..walk off his canopy. Holy sh#t did I really just do that. Out of the fire and into the furnace….As I slipped right with a slow right body turn I was immediately confront with another canopy. Hum… what now, oh yea spread eagle, which I did and it worked. I bounced off his canopy lines about a body length above him and slid right by. I encountered two more near misses just in time to do a BMA (should be a PLF-Parachutist Landing fall, not BMA-Bust My Ass). As I recovered from my landing I looked to the sky and was absolutely amazed at what I was watching. Parachutes everywhere and many, many entanglements and certainly injuries in the making.

Nonetheless, as I experienced and watched this exercise take place I was humbled by the thought……….what if this was war. Can you imagine what it was like for our troops during real wartime? Bullets flying everywhere! I think about this every time I jump at my home DZ which has a gun club right on final approach. Thanks to all the airborne war vets!
Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was an Army Brat in high school living at Fort Bragg when the accident cj mentions happened and was fascinated by all things airborne which eventually led to my skydiving life. I remember our dads talking about this accident. (Note: when your a kid, "My dad is bank president, my Dad's the mayor, my Dad's the richest lawyer in town...etc" can't hold a candle to "My Dad and all oif his best frioends jump out of airplanes in the middle of the night." A friend who's dad commanded 1-505 was one of the first to reach the body on the DZ. When I went to jump school in '85 the blackhats still used it as an example of what not to do in the aircraft in terms of trying to stop a stick. They related that the Air Force loadmaster was the one who tried to stop the stick.

As I recall, there were a number of serious entanglement accidents during this time at Fort Bragg. One was a three-way entaglement that got written up in the Paraglide, if I remember correctly. The MC1-1B was in general use for mass tactical jumps at the time. The speed with which the jumpmasters cleared the aircraft putting jumpers very close together, simultaneous exits from both doors, and steerable canopies that weren't under control for the first few seconds made a bad combination, especially if a jumper had a weak exit. All of this lead to switching back to the old reliable T-10 and slowing down the exit speed to ensure alternating door exits. There were two techniques which were called Alternating Door Exit Procedure Option I and II. This of course was ADEP Option I and ADEP Option II in Army speak which the troop quickly modified to "Ate Up Option I and II".

Moral of the story from a safety standpoint: Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. (In this case use steerable canopies) and don't ever get caught by "we've always done it this way." (In this case, very rapid mass exit procedures).

CDR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't been in a lot of mass exit jumps, but I have been in a few. Usually three aircraft were dropping jumpers in formation. What a sight to behold! Green canopies everywhere.

We were always told to wait at least a second when following the guy out in front of you. That way there would be less chance of an entanglement.

I knew several army jumpers who were often scared to jump. They jumped every time though, and you had to have courage to do that.

A buddy of mine didn't like to jump. Since I was a "bad ass" skydiver and army jump master, I would usually jump first, and he would follow me out the door. It made jumping a little easier for him that way.

The only trouble was that he wouldn't wait a second after I jumped. He would be right on my tail going out the door. This was particularly bad when we jumped helicopters.

I'd get canopy, and there would be Bruce. I had to have a heart to heart talk with him after that, to convince him not to follow so close.

When we jumped C-119's there were a lot of jumpers opening close to each other. The reason being that the two side doors were so close together.

I guess that dates me some, to talk about jumping c-119's. I don't know if any of them are still flying.

I've done a lot of skydiving since those army jumps, but I still miss those days.

On completing jump school, I was one proud kid to pin jump wings on my greens, and to wear jump boots for the first time.

I love to try making a mass tactical night jump again, with equipment. I'll bet I could still do it, even though I'm pushing 60...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Special Forces may have been the first to use steerable canopies in mass exits. In 1969 or so, the army came up with a crude version of a steerable canopy.

In 1970 I jumped a canopy with one big hole in the back of a T-10. Above each (two shot) cape well was a metal fork which held your risers together and prevented them from slipping.

After you got canopy, you would pull both these forks, allowing your risers to slide through a buckle above the capewells. This system was primitive, but it did allow some turning and forward speed.

Later we jumped a t-10 with steering toggles. If I remember right, they were 9-TU's.

I can see how this could increase the likelihood of intanglements.

We were trained to walk off the top of someones canopy, knee deep in nylon. That could be hard if you were loaded down with equipment.

I once jumped a long wooden ammo box, filled with gravel. This was inside a PAE bag. It was hard enough just to stand and make it to the door. I don't know how anyone could walk off someone's canopy with something like that dangling.

We also saw a fair number of Mae West type malfunctions, back then. This was the days before anti-inversion netting. One friend rode a line over malfunction right into the ground. There wasn't time to get his reserve out. He was a tough old bird, and he bought drinks for everyone that night.

I'll bet the new kevlar helmets are a big improvement over the steel pots we used to wear. I'll bet there aren't many soldiers who miss them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(Special Forces may have been the first to use steerable canopies in mass exits. In 1969 or so, the army came up with a crude version of a steerable canopy. )

I have been told how to use the quote feature but only twice. It takes me three time to commit things to memory...........pychs say that is normal.

During my time with the 82nd in 77-80 they were phasing in the MC-1 steerable canopy.(please correct me if I am wrong). I say this because through Benning and then the first 6 months on Bragg everything was a T-10. I remember the special traing we received for the MC-1 (I really don't remember what the name of it was but my good buddy Charlie Brown, Golden Knight says so and if charlie says something I go with it.) Nonetheless I do remember the accident rate went sky high when they introduced the steerable canopy. As I mentioned in previous comments most of the guys I knew in the 82nd weren't that into the jumping. Hell, I knew one guy who was terrified of jumping but wanted the extra money. Anyway, someone mentioned herein that the 82nd went back to a T-10 style parachute. I would like to know if that is the case?

PS - did anyone go to Panama for jungle traing? Do you remember the prostitutes that would swing out the windows when the GI's were in town? Prostitution was illegal, imagine that, so they would swing out the windows on ropes to avoid being picked up on the street. It was the funniest thing. Imagine walking down a staright street and seeing all these women swinging in and out of the windows totally nude..............as david Lee Roth would sau...where have all the good times gone
Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If I remember right, The MC-1 was the name of one of those steerable parachutes.

I had a few friends who went to jungle school in Panama. I wish I could have gotten that school. You got a really large, cool looking, patch for it also.

Panama sounds like my kind of place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The MC1-1B (frequently called the dash one bravo) is still in use, but you can only exit one door at a time with it due the high collision potential presented by the forward movement. Consequently, T-10s are still the norm for a mass tacs in any unit. They were used in every Afghanistan/Iraq mass jump by Ranger Regiment, the 173rd, and Eighty Deuce (yes, a platoon plus did jump into Afghanistan and someone claims to have seen a tracer so they got their mustard stain).

At Bragg, whenever the general would come along, he, his adjutant, RTO, etc. always had to jump the MC1-1Bs, so we could only exit one door till all of them got out. You can guess how much fun that created.

The potential for stopping a stick at Bragg is very high contrary to what an earlier poster said. Sicily, the biggest drop zone, gives 54 seconds of green light assuming no tail wind. Most of the DZs are closer to 30. The generic math is one jumper per door per second. Soooo, if you have 60 jumpers on a C130, then you need 30 seconds of green light to get everyone out assuming that all goes perfectly in the plane. More often than not, if you aren’t jumping Sicily, you’re doing more than one pass. This is usually built into the plan. In a C17 with a 100 jumpers – no option. Current policy is for the jumpmaster to sound off repeatedly with ‘RED LIGHT!’ and put his hand up where the jumpers can see it. No physical effort is made to stop someone probably because of that incident that the OP described.

Sorry for rambling. Former 82nd jumpmaster/air operations planner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the only aircraft I jumped at Bragg were a few 141's, mostly C-130's, and a couple C-119 jumps. Perhaps we had shorter sticks. I've never seen a stick stopped once the green light went on, even on smaller D.Z.'s. But it sounds like this has been done.

This was back in the early 70's before larger aircraft were being jumped. Back then there were rumors that the C-5A might be used for dropping jumpers. I've heard tell that even bigger planes than that are being used today.

I can see how even a big drop zone could be too short for a long stick out of a jet aircraft. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

We always jumped both doors when the MC1's came out. I imagine it took some accidents to change policy on that.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This was back in the early 70's before larger aircraft were being jumped. Back then there were rumors that the C-5A might be used for dropping jumpers. I've heard tell that even bigger planes than that are being used today.


We always jumped both doors when the MC1's came out. I imagine it took some accidents to change policy on that.....



When I was on Bragg we jumped C-141's almost as much as C-130's. I remember many two pass loads in those days. They tried jumping the C-5A while I was there, I was not on one, but they were having problems slowing it down enough to allow a jumper to deploy with damaging his canopy or spanking him into an injury. I spoke with my friend Charlie Brown, golden Knight and 82nd and he said they did eventually jump the C-5A but dropped it as not being an efficient use of the jet.

Indeed when I was at Bragg we jumped both doors with the MC-1. As I mentioned in a previous reply they were phasing them in while I was there so everything was experimental. The thought of staggering jumps between doors never came up. That must have come later after they realized how many people where being injured.
Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Things do actually change in the army airborne community albeit slower than macroevolution. I know that keeping a one arm interval with the jumper in front of you is much more strongly stressed now than it was back in the day if it was at all. This has probably increased the time needed for a pass and increased the red light chances. It’s a big deal when you are trying to get your night assistant jumpmaster duty done to get your star and there is only going to be one pass.

I only jumped a 141 in airborne school, and I’ve heard, though I’ve never confirmed or completely believed, that the vortices were far less thereby decreasing the likelihood of high altitude entanglements and making it possible to jump right on top of the guy in front of you. Not sure if I’d stake my life on that.

Me, I was always scared to death of a collision, and was probably more scared in general due to having a skydiving background before I ever started army jumping where you can plainly see people waving to you from their backyards on jump run. It was a great relief when I became a jumpmaster making it possible to go out last and avoid the swarm of 19 year old dirt darts flailing around in the dark with 60lb rucks, machineguns, tripods, mortar base plates, etc. Even as the assistant, I would wait till the PJ’s door was done before I went, usually with a good ‘2 count’ beforehand.

You gotta love how the army deals with accidents – mostly by making sure as few people as possible know about it. As some have already mentioned, the safety focus in the skydiving world is a wonderful thing where incidents have always been published, instantaneously now on the internet, and there is commercial incentive to improve gear.

Not long ago there was a legendary accident at Bragg involving a jumpmaster student. As I’m sure you all know, the reserve ripcord was on the right side of the pack. Now it’s in the middle with the handle pointing up. This particular student was executing a clear to the rear, and the side mounted handle caught on the door, activated his reserve, and pulled him up and out of the bird decapitating him in the process. So someone comes up with this $.10 plastic insert that goes underneath the handle when you’re doing a jumpmaster duty and supposedly makes it resistant to that kind of pressure. Problem solved! We can all sleep easy now!

Incidentally, the handle is now in the middle in the event your right hand is pinned or immobilized, and they added a spring operated pilot chute eliminating a lot of the old heroics required to operate it. Good ideas but should it have taken 50 years to come up with them? You’d have to be one bad mo-fo to be going in with a spinning or total malfunction under 800’ and be able to beat on your reserve, perhaps throw it in the proper direction, and god forbid, reel it back in for another attempt!! Also, the metal grommets that used to close the reserve have been replaced with a ‘soft loop’ system greatly reducing the likelihood of it jamming shut. You know, stuff that has been on civilian rigs since who knows when.

And then there was the whole inversion thing. How many people bit it over that? So they add a few inches of ‘anti-inversion netting’ to the bottom of the canopy. Good to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like it is safer to be an airborne trooper than ever before. A center pull reserve does make sense.

I always worried about bent pins on the old cone and grommet rigs. They were harder to pull too.

In jumpmaster school, clearing your bundle was important, if you wanted to pass. The guy I was pardnered with didn't look long enough out the door, only giving a quick glance, before telling me to stand in the door.

He was an ex-smoke jumper with tons of jump experience. That didn't mean much to the army though. He was promptly failed from jump master school, (for not clearing his cargo bundle). Army jumpmaster school was easy to flunk out of....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0