Here’s something pushed to us via the gouge button (use it early and often).  It’s a video shot by a guy at last week’s Little Rock AFB airshow:

Word has it that this was Saturday’s drop. Apparently Sunday a bunch of the paratroopers landed on the runway, which is “suboptimal” as well, but probably not as bad as the trees, generally speaking.

Here’s hoping nobody got seriously hurt.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe October 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Cue the circus music. Typical Air Force Army team work. Head Up A…

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M.G.Halvorsen October 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Oops…

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Vasco October 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm

It would be the navigator/pilot who computed the air release point that got it wrong. The guys in the back would just go on the green light.

It's called dead reckoning because if you reckon wrong, you're dead.

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rjhintz October 14, 2010 at 5:08 am

Notice prevailing wind at ground as shown by the flag at beginning of video. Planes were lined up too far to the right. In a mass drop, the jumpmaster releases on green light, assuming it's otherwise safe, trusting to Computer Air Release Point.

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rjhintz October 14, 2010 at 5:53 am

Forgot to mention that, for a drop like this, the Air Force would typically have a Combat Control Team on the ground giving the pilots updated wind information.

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M.G.Halvorsen October 14, 2010 at 8:24 am

well, SOMEBODY blew it. let's see who has the most fingers pointed at them,eh?

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Daniel Glass October 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

Did the DZSO **** up and not wave off because it was for the show? That's what likely happened.

The DZ looks pretty damn narrow, too. An since it's 82nd doing that jump, it was probably using the unsteerable T-10 chute, so the jumpers are pretty much coming down wherever the wind is pushing them. Probably had about 10% of the jumpers limping off the field or hunched over, but not likely seriously injured.

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Joe October 14, 2010 at 10:21 am

Counted 5.

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Ruanne October 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I saw this show in person! There were EIGHT C-130s. The announcer said they were dropping 400 Paratroopers. I didn't count them, but I tell you, better than HALF of those guys wound up in the trees! They had the ground control team and the cool wind measuring doo-dads and all that on the flight line. Didn't seem to help. :) They sent firetrucks and ambulances out there to help extricate people.

I had to laugh when I saw this whole thing going down, though I know some guys probably got dinged up a little. Apparently, the local police were getting phone calls from concerned citizens in the neighboring town about a bunch of guys coming out of the woods.

All I can say is, sure am glad I was just a Leg when I was in (10th Mountain Vet.)

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Stefan S. October 15, 2010 at 10:25 pm

DZSO calls the shots. Master rated JM here. Jumping since 1988. When the loadie opens the door and says "Army your door", I as the PJ have control of that aircraft. If after my 2 mandatory outside air safety checks, if the bird is not lined up correctly I will not exit troops (VIRS). Now CARP jumps are an act of faith. If the bird's computer calculations are off you'll have a bad day. Been there jumped that! Being USASOC we do 90% VIRS. JM have to spot panels, not rely on a computer. Nothing like 1944 D-Day Jump reenacted!

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Ian October 17, 2010 at 9:45 am

I recored this video on Sunday. Saturday is the day everyone got hurt. They said the ground was very hard. They also landed on the runway on Saturday. I hear there were some broken legs, and hurt backs. One guy said its softer landing in the trees..

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Will Beene October 17, 2010 at 10:21 am

Having made unintentional rough terrain jumps, all I can say is that you have a minute or two on the trip down to ponder how much it's going to hurt.

Will Beene Combat Medic
2nd Battalion 505th PIR 82nd Airborne Division 87-90

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Daniel Glass October 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm

At least it wasn't a high-altitude jump. Up here in Colorado people get hurt on a well-regulated jump every time.

Then there's the guys who run with the wind (SF-10A/MC-6 steerable chutes are what our guys use), go a klick off the DZ, and hit a hill full of cacti.

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strikehold October 18, 2010 at 4:53 am

Dropping that many dudes with non-steerable parachutes from "regulation" height onto the narrow confines of an airfield filled with spectators and parked aircraft – and bordered by woodland – sounds like a ****-up waiting to happen frankly.

But, given that it was an airshow they wouldn't cancel the drop unless the winds were seriously too high – or would have blown troops into the crowd.

The chain-of-command should have pulled their heads out of their 4th point of contact and dropped fewer dudes, with steerable 'chutes.

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Ian October 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

From what I heard on the flight line, the winds changed and grew stronger pretty quickly. ATC must not have gotten the message out in time. Can't blame them though, radio traffic is insane during an air show..

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andrew.plumbtree October 21, 2010 at 9:52 am

I was a Safety on the Saturday jump and a jumper on the Sunday jump. The Saturday Jump had more actual injuries than the Sunday jump. The guys I talked to that landed in the trees were happy because they didn't actually land. Most of them could get out of their harness on their own. The last I was told was there were 120 Paratroopers in the trees at the end and 10 in a nearby trailer park.

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Ranger365 March 9, 2011 at 8:38 am

Isn't the first time or the last time that troopers have ended up in the trees. The wind is always unpredictible and jumping is always a risk. To have a static line jump on an airfield with spectators was probably not the brightest thing to do. I just hope nobody got seriously hurt.

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