Local News

Soldiers Learn New, Safer Method To Jump Out Of Planes

Posted December 31, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Fort Bragg soldiers will be more aggressive in the new year in their plane jumps. The new rules, which took effect Monday, are based on an old way of leaping from an airplane.

Sgt. Lindsay Crudup knows how it feels to hit the side of a plane when exiting an aircraft. He has never been seriously injured, but in 1999, three soldiers Armywide were killed from complications as they walked out of an aircraft.

Since 1994, paratroopers have simply walked out of planes at a 45 degree angle.

"Soldiers were having weaker exits when they were going out an an angle, and that was causing them to have twisted suspension lines, or in some cases, pass under the aircraft and get into collisions with jumpers on the other door," says John Uberti of the 82nd Airborne.

After studying the problem, new regulations, go into effect January 1. All soldiers have been training on a new exit since October. It will require them to take a vigorous leap out at a 90-degree angle -- a new method that is based on an old one used before 1994.

"[With] the 90 degree, you are jumping out away from the aircraft so it gives you more separation between the aircraft and yourself," Crudup says.

Up until now, the angle of the exit depended on the aircraft. Now, it will always be a 90-degree exit.

"It's a lot easier that way, instead of thinking okay, what bird am I on," says paratrooper Ryan Purswell.

With less confusion and a more aggressive exit, the Army hopes soldiers can now focus on the mission thats waiting for them once they safely hit the ground.

One part of the 45-degree jump will remain in use, the hand position. Soldiers will continue to place their hands on the bottom of their reserve parachute during the jump. Before 1994, they put their hands on the outside of the aircraft, which caused injuries.