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Neck Srain?? Ground Rush?? What garbage!!

May 26 2009 at 8:45 AM

Response to WWII ADT

Pardon me, David, but that's a bunch of shit!
You make jumping sound dangerous.
It was highly dangerous, but that was way back in the early 1940s when they were experimenting with technique, equipment and aircraft, but these days, school girls go through jump school!

Back in the "old days" much of Airborne School was physical conditioning. Today, it's simply how to put on the gear, load onto the aircraft, exit on jump run, and how to land. School girls do it! Ain't no big deal.

Neck muscles? Man, what kind of shape had you gotten into that you needed to strengthen neck muscles to get used to wearing a helmet? You gotta be kidding! You want to really give your neck a workout, try jumping with my old movie camera helmet from the late 1960s. (It was my old Bell helmet - if you look closely at the bottom sides of the helmet, you can notice the rubber trim around the edge worn away by the risers hits over the course of a number of jumps.)

The camera is a 16mm aircraft gun camera from a WW2 fighter. The ring sight is a gun sight from a WW2 bomber's fifty cal. To power the camera, I'd jump with a waist belt filled with 9 volt lantern batteries. Talk about heavy. Both the belt and the helmet. Combined, they probably weighed as much as I did back then. happy.gif-

When I got ready to fire off the main, I'd place my left hand on the top of the helmet to keep both the helmet and my head from being yanked off. It had nothing to do with neck muscles.

And what's this about "Ground rush"??? What a load of bull!
Yes, I'm familiar with American PLF training where the jumper is taught to look straight at the horizon upon landing and not down at the ground. But ground rush??

I've personally trained hundreds of students, and I've always used the technique taught at Rivers, where the jumper looks down at the ground upon landing, rotates his feet to compensate for the direction of drift, and tucks his/her head into the chest.

This gives the jumper better preparation for a PLF and also allows him to tuck his/her down and in, helping to prevent the back of the head from smacking the ground. We were also taught to rotate the feet to compensate for the direction of landing. It works.

In all my years of jumping there was only ONE occasion when I did not look at the ground upon landing, and that was on the freefall jump when my main (a prototype square, back in the days when everybody else was jumping rounds) did not deploy out of the bag. Upon cut-away and firing off the reserve, all I got was garbage. The apex of the front mounted reserve caught on my left Capewell cover, resulting in a horseshoe mafunction on my reserve. It took some doing, but I ended up cutting the reserve loose with an old USAF pilot's rigger knife but I never did get a full canopy. It streamered in with the lines twisted up to the skirt from me spinning while on my back, and when I looked down, the thought in my mind was that my knees were going to be driven straight up into my shoulders, so I shut my eyes.

Other than on my first exit from the thirty-two foot tower, I'd never shut my eyes before, either exiting an airplane, or upon landing.

Hey, jumping is real easy today. Don't scare the shit out of everybody.

Here's a shot of my old gun camera helmet ...

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And Dan, thanks so much for being such a good sport. I felt a bit bad for being so heavy on you and hammering the hell out of you. Thanks for being a good guy! My apologies. Airborne!

I'm not an expert on helmets, Dan. The guys who really know helmets on this forum are Ed Storey and Roger Lucy. Roger really knows them. I'm just an amateur collector of US and Canadian jump helmets and odds and ends from my period of time in service. Those two guys know everything there is to know about helmets!

I've read about the WW2 group you're jumping with - they do airshows, and although I might be mistaken, I think they were at Oshkosh last summer. Or maybe it was a bunch of reenactors dressed up like old WW2 82d or 101 guys. They take their jumping seriously.

The Brit group, I believe is called the Pathfinders. There was a link posted on another thread quite recently. They may even have a rep in Canada or the US. They train and give old military dope rope jumpers an opportunity to jump again.

Nothing much I can tell you, except that you'll be surprised upon exiting a C-47 to feel the prop blast. The old Gooney Bird, unlike modern military transports, does not have a blast deflector.
My first free-fall out of one - it was actually a USN C-117 which was, I believe, a more powerful C-47 with a larger tail - surprised the heck out of me. Not expecting the blast, I inadvertently flipped right over as soon as I was outside the door. Embarrassing ...

Do you have to get rigged up in WW2 Canadian BD for your jumps? I recall seeing some old WW2 photos of Canadian jumpers at Rivers or Shilo dressed in US airborne jump jackets, pants and the old Cocoran jump boots, so you could still represent a Canadian even dressed in US gear.

Have fun .... and yeah, I'm older. Rivers Serial 336, 1960, and I was test jumping Rogallo wings and Parafoils back when they were experimental prototypes. My most memorable jump, other than the one described above, was a free fall from twelve grand on a Rogallo wing rigged with a static line, no ripcord. And the static line fastener was not hooked up to the airplane ... it's amazing how a static line can whip around in the air while in frefall, but that's another old jump story...

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