Parachute Training

Discussion in 'The Training Wing' started by very-old-git, May 6, 2010.

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  1. There is an elderly gent in my local who served as a National Serviceman in the Parachute Regt, circa late 1950s. He has asked me about the present system/training program and how it compares to that of his era at RAF Abingdon. He has a 'thing' about the 'fan' - I believe he is thinking more about a piece of equipment rather than a dance or hill. Can anyone enlighten me/him?.
     
  2. The fan trainer simulates a parachute descent and the subsequent landing. It's basically a harness attached to a large fan which prevents the trainee slipstream lover plummeting from the 30ft training tower.

    It's in effect akin to a low budget fairground ride but I've still known lads to bottle it on the jumps course!

    Edited to add the following from Wikepedia;


    Wearing a harness connected to a cable wound round a drum fitted with fan blades, trainees jump from a platform located near the roof of the hanger; as they fall, their rate of descent is controlled to simulate that with a parachute.
     
  3. I think it's pretty much the same,the only thing is now they dont do balloon drops. He would have been Regular Para,he would have done 3 years Reg rather than 2 years NS.
     
  4. Following on from G3's comments, in essence having to exit from door or ramp with a shed load of kit hasn't changed. However there's been radical changes to the parachute design from non-steerable to steerable and it's variations as well as the use of 'square canopies'.

    In the '50's the parachute canopy was an 'X' type (white or khaki) which oscillated (swung from side to side like a pendulum). As such you tended to arrive rather than land. The introduction in the '60's of the PXM1 > M3 eliminated the pendulum factor. What didn't go away however was the likelyhood of a blown periphery or BP as it was known. The design install of a 'net skirt' around the canopy periphery assisted to eradicate that problem. Further design changes to static line canopies for initially water descent purposes only then onto land gave these parachutes a steerable capability ( limited forward movement but could rotate through 360 degrees)

    A lot of the ground training equipment was revised as well as the brown coir (?) mats going to be replaced by versions of the current 'bouncy' green ones. The move to Brize in late '75 allowed No1 PTS to review the ground training items.

    Your friend would have jumped from small load aircraft types - Hastings, Beverley and possibly the Argosy. Although training jumps build up remain essentially the same - small single sticks ( port & starboard) then on to small sim sticks, then larger number sim sticks, the introduction of the C-130 in 1968 where you now had the potential of 60 troops in the air on one pass, eventually building up to a C-130 'stream' of aircraft capable of dropping 16 Para Bde. focussed the mind on canopy drills.
    There's more, but you get the jist.
     
  5. 'thing' about the fan :?
    It's a little hill in Brecon is it not?
     
  6. I remember in the late 80's, the Para recruiting team turning up on the field opposite our cadet hut and set up a tower with a fan on it. We all got a turn and I have to say I was shitting it when I climbed to the top the first time round, but after jumping I was straight back up for another go.
    I bet in this age of PC H&S all things like that have been banned. :x
     
  7. Nope, its now operated by the recruiting team.
     
  8. In the 60s I spent a year touring the country with the "fan exit trainer".
    Best year iv'e had, wine wimmen and song.
    We used to get bribed by fathers (who's kids were to young to go on it)
    to let them down slowly.
    We could always see the beer tent from the top of the tower, so we would arrange to meet them there.
    WE had a few refusals, but none from females as I remember.
    The lad on the mat below used to have a blackboard which was listed different colours, nobody know what it was until the entry "nothing".:)
     
  9. Bassingbourn Barracks had a fan trainer in the Gym w-a-a-y back in the 70s, before I started shaving.

    Aged 16 I thought "big deal" . . . .

    Still do.

    800 parachute jumps since then, I still feel 'cheated' that I never managed to wangle a balloon jump

    Head games - it's all head games :D
     
  10. ATR Winchester has a fan descender built into the high wire confidence course. Good fun watching crow and some permanent staff shit themselves on it!
     
  11. Crikey - in these days of H&S you'd have to deeply irrationally fearful to worry about a thing like that :D
     
  12. I never knew the GQ's were square? Im sure there still round?
     
  13. GQ is a brand name. They make both flavours.
     
  14. Ah the pen.y has dropped,lol !!!!
     
  15. There will be a few dropping this weekend - a whole bunch of current-and-used-to-be paras (inc the lovely Jackie Smiff) are off to do the Fan Dance

    There's a thought to keep an old man happy . . .