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Skydiving from Helicopters

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Hey all,


This was posted on another part of the forum but seems to have been removed some how.


Those that know me know that i have jumped out of a few aircraft including four helicopters, and, know that i do not recommend letting someone jump from your helicopter and would never let anyone skydive from ours....


This is one of the reasons why. I have seen pilot chutes dislodged a few times in the back of a King Air and we all jumped at once to catch it before it went out the door. One got really close. I also know a single survivor of and incident that pulled the tail off of a jump plane when the main went out the door before the skydiver. My friend was the ONLY one that got out of the plane, the others were stuck in different parts of the aircraft due to the forces and couldn't get out. The person that had his chute go out the door was shredded.


I seriously hope that this video does not disappear and is used to show exactly what the dangers are. The people in this helicopter were not beginners but still had this happen. As you can tell, the helicopter pilot was completely at the mercy of the folks in the back and couldn't have done anything even if he wanted to. I hope he was wearing a parachute as should anyone flying skydivers.


I will acknowledge that this can be done relativity safely, but in most cases the risk is not worth the reward. The folks in this video are very lucky.. every last one of them.







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i saw this the other day. at least they werent idiots and just cut the chute free to fly into the TR. they were smart enough to untangle it and pull it in

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All the more reason for a good pin check and protecting handles.


Loose fabric in any aircraft is a major hazard.


I don't know that it's a reason to suggest no one should jump a helicopter (or an airplane, for that matter). Bad things do happen.


All the more reason to identify and trap them before they do.

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I have dropped hundreds of skydivers out Enstrom 280 and 480 helicopters with greater than 120hrs flying jump loads. Without a doubt, there are risks involved, as with any type of flying (or skydiving). But, as others have said, the risks can be mitigated with a THOROUGH ground safety briefing with each and EVERY jumper including:


A walk around the aircraft (with rotors and motors not spinning!)

An explanation of the unique risks involved with helo jumps (tail rotor, CG issues, refasten seatbelts, etc).

Simulated ground exits

Heavy emphasis on pin checks and d-bag/handle protection

How to approach the helicopter

Discussion of worst case scenarios


With competent and cooperative jumpers and a comprehensive discussion of safety issues, helicopter skydiving can be accomplished as safely as any other type of aircraft. Having said that, your jumpers may not always be competent or cooperative... Be particularly wary of "boogie" type events with many recreational first time helicopter jumpers. Consider minimum experience requirements for # of jumps or USPA license type. Print out a safety briefing and have a ground handler/loader for hot loads reiterating the key points before they board. Don't take this stuff lightly. But, it sure can be a lot of fun, for jumpers and the pilot! Nothing like banking hard to watch ear-to-ear-grinning bodies fall away from the helo, and then spiraling down and beating them to the ground!



Previous posts and pics:



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I've dropped a lot of parachutists from UH1s, and jumped from them about as many times, back in the day. It was never a big deal as a pilot, but any jumper would take a helicopter over a USAF airplane any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The jump is much easier from a helicopter, and had none of the hassle. Anyone who has ever jumped from a C123 or C119 knows what I'm talking about. The C130 isn't much better.


I've dropped both civilian and military skydivers from the UH1, but have never done it since I left the military. Anything dealing with parachutes has some potential for disaster, but I don't think it's any more dangerous than landing and departing from a clearing at 3AM like I do regularly.

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