Basic Para Course

Crispy

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What does the actual parachute training consist of and is it all “static” line or does it include some free fall training? What is the maximum height you’ll jump as a Paratrooper?
 

Big_Shep

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All static line. HAHO and HALO are conducted by the Pathfinders who are the Brigade Reconnaissance experts. This requires a separate and extremely arduous selection course to join.
BPC is the easy part. It’s a jolly away. Max 1000 ft
 

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The BPC is held at RAF Brize Norton and run by the Parachute Training Squadron, RAF Airborne Delivery Wing.
Unless it’s changed recently to complete the course, candidates must complete:

1000 ft single stick formation (no equipment)
1000 ft single stick formation (with equipment)
800 ft single stick formation (with equipment)
800 ft single stick formation (with equipment) at night
800 ft simultaneous stick formation (with equipment)
700 ft simultaneous stick formation (with equipment) at night
600 ft simultaneous stick formation (with equipment)
 

4 PARA HQ

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The course is changing constantly, I'm sure someone more current will comment but the previous 2 courses that have been sent have had all jumps with container/equipment - 4 to qualify as LCR in Skyvan, CR conversion in Herc.
 

Iron

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You’ll enjoy it. Compared to the rigours of Depot and P Coy it’s a holiday. It’s still three week course at RAF Brize Norton. There is a mock C-130 and Skyvan at Brize where you will conduct most of your training prior to jumping. Going over different drills. The course is a very enjoyable, there is also down time in the evenings and you can make use of the gyms in the evening. DONT OVERTHINK IT.
 

Chelonian

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The Dad's Army balloon unit at RAF Hullavington was retired as late as the 1990s. Aside from the BPCs at Abingdon and then Brize a balloon could be trundled across to just about any location to get the jumps in and keep blokes current.

 

Chelonian

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Why did they stop using balloons for jumps ?
Many factors involved. Most economic.
The infrastructure required to support a specialist RAF balloon unit unit was considerable. With the passing of time it became an anachronism and went the same same way as other niche units such as the Camel Cavalry and the Bicycle Corps.
 

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The Dad's Army balloon unit at RAF Hullavington was retired as late as the 1990s. Aside from the BPCs at Abingdon and then Brize a balloon could be trundled across to just about any location to get the jumps in and keep blokes current.


I remember you pointing out that if the reserve chute was ever needed, it probably would of deployed after hitting the ground....
 

Chelonian

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...if the reserve chute was ever needed, it probably would of deployed after hitting the ground....
Apparently it was compulsory for RAF PJIs to mention the probability. 🙂 Realistically, balloon jumps were done at an altitude of 800 feet (if memory serves) so a canopy total malfunction left v. little scope for deploying a reserve.
 

Mad Frank

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The Dad's Army balloon unit at RAF Hullavington was retired as late as the 1990s. Aside from the BPCs at Abingdon and then Brize a balloon could be trundled across to just about any location to get the jumps in and keep blokes current.


Rhyme written by Bill Watts – to be sung to the tune of ‘Mountains of Mourne’!

“We all think this Ringway’s a wonderful sight, With paratroops jumping by day and by night
No more ten mile runs with rifle and pack,
We all survived Hardwick and we’re not going back!
And Kilkenny’s Circus is something to see,
We sail through the air on the flying trapeze Introduced to the Whitley, a hole in the floor,
We prefer the Dakota where we jump through a door!
The balloon went up slowly to 800 feet,
When it stopped with a jerk I was white as a sheet Then it swayed side to side as I waited my call,
And I clung to the cage so afraid I might fall
When the Sgt said ‘OK! It’s your turn to go!’,
I jumped into space far too proud to say ‘No!’
As the ground rushed towards me I looked to the sky, ‘God! My ’chute hasn’t opened, I’m going to die!’
Still falling I scream, but no sound from my lips, Then the parachute opened, a crack like a whip. A tug on my shoulders, I’m floating in space.
I feel I’m in heaven, there’s a smile on my face But the Sergeant below is shouting at me,
‘Pull down hard on your lift-webs, you’re close to a tree!’
Feet and knees close together I’m coming down fast, But forget to lean forward and fall back on my arse!”
 

Alec_Lomas

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Must be a strange sensation jumping from something not moving!

I remember you pointing out that if the reserve chute was ever needed, it probably would of deployed after hitting the ground....

It fulfilled a very specific training purpose. It's design made it 'weathercock' in other words it faced into the wind, therefore on canopy deployment the student knew that he was traveling downwind, an all-important for liftweb selection in preparation for landing.
Equally there were no exit 'complications' from a slipstream, which as students progressed onto aircraft with a 120kt. wind tossing you about, with the probabilities of causing rigging line twists or in double door ( Port & Starboard) sim exits colliding in the airflow.

The balloon was introduced to us by four Polish instructors who came over to our Central Landing School in 1940. The Polish officer corps had to compulsorily undertake parachute training from 1937. They designed a means of utilising the balloon which necessitated exiting and manually pulling a ripcord. Descent altitudes varied from 800' > 1,000' subject to Met. only ground wind speeds determined any cancellation. Their course was 4 weeks - ground training, parachute packing, 2>3 jumps from a captive balloon with 3 descents from an aircraft.

We did, in my time ( BPC in 1967 ) deliberately pull the reserve on one of the aircraft descents.
 

Dot

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Great knowledge! Do the likes of twisted lines still happen or is that a thing of the past?
 

Nutter

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How common are DZ injuries these days out of interest. I guess you still hit the deck at fair rate of knots!?
 

Alec_Lomas

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Great knowledge! Do the likes of twisted lines still happen or is that a thing of the past?

It's not a thing of the past. In a parachute deployment (opening) sequence, the rigging lines of a round canopy come out first, irrelevant of whatever design it is. Exiting into the slipstream (airflow) the body can rotate to a degree as the rigging lines are coming out of their stowage pocket. Poor exit technique such as wide legs ( door exits only ), not enough drive out the door / too much drive can lead to an unstable position in the airflow thus causing the rigging lines to also rotate ( twist).

Curiously, well not so much, ramp ( back of airframes which have this option) legs apart and arms not folded across the reserve leads to a more stable position for canopy deployment. Loaded down with equipment limits this option, however.
 

Alec_Lomas

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How do you become a PJI?

Apologies I can only answer that from an RAF perspective. As I was leaving the military, there was a return to Army PJI training, which I have no handle on. The lads I saw, were Corporal ranked, so I guess that's a start point for others to comment on.
By the way, there were a number of Army PJI's at Hardwick Hall before a change of Policy handed it over to the RAF PTI branch in Sept. 1941 when Brig. Gale became OC of 1 Para. Bde.
 

Alec_Lomas

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How common are DZ injuries these days out of interest. I guess you still hit the deck at fair rate of knots!?

Sorry, I'm not currently in the system to proffer a sensible answer. Addressing your second sentence - parachuting has particular metrological conditions, the primary one being ground wind speed. The system is not designed to "hit the deck at a fair rate of knots". Yes in major exercise circumstances there have been instances of wind speed changes during a final DZ approach when a decision has been taken to 'green light' the drop. These are very rare. The consequences of injuring troops under exercise conditions are enormous.
 
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