Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jumping with the Italians

I think T-10's story about the German Auslander parachute course reinforces my point about why people don't really freeze in the door. He was behind an Italian jumper who stopped in the door because he expected an individual tap-out and T-10 ran right over him (um, err, "assisted him out the door.") I've been in a stick before where the guy in back (big, big guy, about 6'3" and very muscular, came to us courtesy of the 82nd) started making train whistle noises and stamping his feet quickly on the deck in imitation of a train making it's way down the tracks right at the 30 second warning. Even if stopping in the door seemed like a good idea at the time, it wasn't a feasible alternative. In the parlance of the US Army Airborne, the last guy in line is "pushing the stick." Sometimes that's a literal description.

I've never jumped with the Italian airborne, but I have a friend who has his Italian wings, and he swears that the story he tells is true (for whatever that's worth): On his third or fourth jump, while he was inspecting his static line, he noticed a frayed spot in it. So, he stops sending up the OK signal and instead, throws his hand over the anchor line cable to signify a problem. The jumpmaster comes back, looks at my buddy's static line, gets this huge look of concern on his face, whips out his knife, cuts the frayed portion out of the static line, ties the two ends together with a square knot with a half hitch on either side, gives my buddy a huge smile and hands the static line back to him. My buddy jumped anyway, although he says it was against his better judgment.

5 Comments:

Blogger GoldFalcon said...

"The jumpmaster comes back, looks at my buddy's static line, gets this huge look of concern on his face, whips out his knife, cuts the frayed portion out of the static line, ties the two ends together with a square knot with a half hitch on either side, gives my buddy a huge smile and hands the static line back to him."

HOLY CRAP BATMAN! I'm not saying I woulda been a jump refusal, but I'm not saying I wouldn't have been either...

2:18 AM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

So it seems that Italian practices the moto, "Waste not, want not"....in everything.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Mental Meanderings said...

This comment is off topic but sometimes one must share examples of truly snide sarcasm.
And So the Kinder, Gentler War on Terror Began... by Doug Kern at
http://techcentralstation.com/061005A.html

4:44 PM  
Blogger Lennie Briscoe said...

Crazys. When I was doing my basic jump training they showed us a video of parachute malfunctions and some mad jumpers getting out of them... They did talk about one specific manouver that brought fear. Bag-lock (when the static line doesn't disconnect after exiting from the aircraft and you flap against the fuselage). The resolution to the problem was out of a movie. The jump master would attach his carabeena to the malfunctioned static line and descend down it. He would tap the head of the poor battered jumper and then cut the line. His last action would be to pull the chaps chute before breaking off and opening his own. Sounded like parachuting folklaw to me, but these guys are crazy, you just never know.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Razor said...

As a former member of a mountain ODA, guys regularly throw a quickdraw (a loop of tubular nylon webbing with a carabiner at either end) on an anchor and then attach their main line to it. Usually, quickdraws are sewn, but in a pinch you can make one with a water knot. If the climber were to fall, that loop of tied nylon would be expected to hold several times the climber's weight, so a tied static line, while initially a bit disconcerting, was probably quite safe in retrospect.

12:16 AM  

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