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Pete's Paracommander ride

In 1995, having had an urge to jump a Paracommander parachute for a couple of years, I managed to borrow one, but with a front and back system that was too small for me.

In 1996 I borrowed a Thomas Sports Equipment Jetstream container that I thought would do the job. I acid tested and packed the Invader 370R reserve, after having a few of the grommets replaced, and the rig was legal.

I rigged the Paracommander to the risers, and attached a 36in zero porosity base jump pilot chute (this mother is heavy) which I stowed in the leg strap pocket. The resultant pack job looked pretty rough, with the PC's pod being barely contained by the bottom flap.

I got out of the Skyvan at 5500 feet and dumped after about seven seconds - the pilot chute was a bit reluctant to come out of the leg strap pocket - and got the softest opening imaginable.

I had a beautiful red white and blue canopy over my head - how different from my Sabre - gentle and peaceful and with 4500 feet under me with plenty of time to look at the scenery. Unlike the rounds I trained on it had an incredible rate of turn with feather light toggle pressure.

At the end I did a pitiful attempt at a PLF - the attempt to back riser flare failed abysmally.


My thanks go to the following people who have helped with this project.

  • Caroline O'Hagan for lending me her Paracommander.
  • Paul Applegate for his support and forbearance with getting the rig ready to jump.
  • Andy Ford for the camera - video and stills.
  • Tony Jones for the Jetstream container.
  • Tom McCann of Florida for the pilot chute.
  • Dave Wood and and Weston-on-the-Green DZ for the plane ride and letting me realise my whim.

Last modified 7 April 2015

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