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Why Airliners Don’t Have Screens On Their Windows

Attaturk found this little gem over at Wonkette:

Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous…”

It isn’t quite as dangerous as the decompression of a modern passenger aircraft at cruising altitudes. Some of the effects can be extremely nasty.

There are very good reasons why aircrews eat bland food before flying, know what Beano does, take Sudafed prior to flights, and never drink carbonated beverages before or during flights. Water is your friend on long flights.

If the pilot had released the oxygen masks to help people avoid smoke inhalation, there would have been a definite risk of making the fire much worse. There are no valves on those masks, and people wearing petroleum-based make-up have a risk of getting burned by the interaction with oxygen. The Apollo One crew died in an oxygen fire ignited by a spark in the electrical circuits that surrounded them.

The pilot got the plane to the ground as soon as he could so the fire could be extinguished and the passengers evacuated. The on-board fire extinguishers are usually not good for living things, so they are used rarely and only in extreme emergencies. Most of those used for electrical fires work by depriving the fire of oxygen, which is not good for the passengers.

CEOs tend not to inform themselves about issues before they make their decisions – the facts would just slow down the process.

Note: I have personally been through several explosive decompressions. Don’t try this at home, and don’t attempt pressure breathing – trust me, you wouldn’t like it.


1 Badtux { 09.25.12 at 2:37 am }

Methinks Rmoney is lacking some oxygen to various brain cells. Like, most of them. Just sayin’ ;).

2 Bryan { 09.25.12 at 10:12 am }

Maybe he shouldn’t use a broker for his chartered flights, but get an actual company that has aircraft, mechanics, and pilots. This is another ‘feature’ of outsourcing – you don’t know what you’re getting until it arrives … or doesn’t .

I wonder if there is any research between hypoxia and hypocrisy, or net worth and IQ?

3 Badtux { 09.25.12 at 10:30 am }

There has been research on net worth and IQ, strangely enough, but the results have been somewhat disappointing. It appears that the correlation between net worth and IQ is almost completely identical to the correlation between parental education and net worth — i.e., past a certain point somewhere in the middle quintile, there ceases to be any real correlation between net worth and IQ.

The strongest correlation between net worth and some other factor is parental net worth. According to that correlation, approximately 2/3rds of rich people in the United States are rich because their parents were/are rich. The only other nations where this is true are 3rd world nations with entrenched aristocratic classes. Hmm….

– Badtux the 3rd World Penguin

4 ellroon { 09.25.12 at 1:38 pm }

<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/"This guy liked firing people too.. I see some similarities….

5 Bryan { 09.25.12 at 9:57 pm }

I knew there weren’t a lot of wealthy people in Mensa, but that is a self-selected sample. Most of those who were wealthy were in the arts, or were entrepreneurs. I didn’t detect any obvious intellects among the wealthy that I worked for in SoCal, but that is a limited sample.

At Colgate I knew a lot of people whose parents were wealthy, and they seemed to have no doubts about their ability to acquire wealth, or just live on their trust funds.

Most of those who had wealthy parents were normal, but a few of them you avoided, because they were really obnoxious jerks.

Under normal circumstances the jerks would be culled early, but if there was money behind them, they rose wherever they ended up because of connections.

6 Steve Bates { 09.26.12 at 8:53 am }

It’s sort of like Mittens and five of his functionally identical, totally obnoxious prep school buddies holding down a gay guy and shearing off his hair… an incident which is surely the origin of the saying, “Shave and a haircut, six Mitts…”

7 Bryan { 09.26.12 at 1:56 pm }

That was terrible, Steve 😉

8 JuanitaM { 09.27.12 at 2:32 pm }

I don’t know why they don’t do that.

Good grief.

If he should by some fluke make it to the white house, I hope to god he brings a scientist into his cabinet to ‘splain these things to him.

9 Bryan { 09.27.12 at 4:34 pm }

Juanita, he is a CEO, he doesn’t listen to people, he tells them what to think.

That is today’s world. Your opinion is important, no matter how obviously wrong it is, if you are important. People who actually know anything can’t be worth listening to because they aren’t important. It is all about class.

10 JuanitaM { 09.27.12 at 6:03 pm }

Too true. 🙂

And you can tell how annoyed I was, as I forgot to use capitals on White House & God! But I’m just a dumb*** from the south with no class. Still, I can have some pride in the fact that I know bad things happen if you open hypothetical windows in airplanes.

11 Bryan { 09.27.12 at 9:44 pm }

Something bad has already happened if there is any opening on a pressurized aircraft at altitude. All of the doors are like corks, bigger inside than out, so the pressure inside the aircraft seals them. Submarines work the other way, because the pressure outside is greater than the pressure inside a submarine.

If the Republicans continue to cut money for education down here, the stereotype will be self-fulfilling as our children won’t receive the information they need to compete in the real world.

12 Kryten42 { 09.27.12 at 10:20 pm }

I decided not to comment on this thread since a) everyone here understood it was a typical Moronic Mitt comment, b) I had nothing of any value to add. 🙂

But now that Juanita (I love that name BTW!) 😉 has brought up the north/south distinction…

Speakin as someone who is *actually* from the South (Australia is the closest Nation to the South Pole after all, and everywhere in the USA is in fact in the North), I was always annoyed & suspicions of that whole *Southerner* stereotype! after living and traveling around the USA, and living in Massachusetts for awhile, I discovered that a) there are as many morons in the Nth of the USA and in the big cities as there are in the tiniest Southern town’s, and probably more when viewed demographically, we have as many morons (well, almost) here per capita. I have to admit I was completely infatuated whilst I was there with a (self-admitted) Southern Belle from Sth Carolina, who had a very mischievous and wonderful sense of humor, and an accent that was mesmerizing. 😀 She was also absolutely stunning, which helped my infatuation somewhat! 😆 We had some very intelligent conversations. And BTW, she was an engineering student at MIT, which is where we met. She was as curious about *Aussies* as I was about *Southerners*, and she loved my accent as much as I loved her’s. She admitted that relations between herself and her family were strained as she was considered the black sheep as she refused to be a Republican voter. She decided to visit Aus. and loved it, unfortunately for me/us, I was stuck in Canberra after my USA adventure and had little time to play host, and Canberra is not the most exciting city in the World (not by a long shot!) Oh well… *shrug* The World is full of *could have* and *should have*. 😉

Anyway, the point is that I have never believed in stereotypes, until GWya became prez, and the US Republicans went absolutely batshit crazy!

I know you are kidding Juanita, but I think you have a ton of class and are plenty smart! 😀 😉

And hey, Steve is from Texas and he belies *that* stereotype! 😉 😆

And year, to keep somewhat on topic… having things that open to the outside on an aircraft in flight is a REALLY bad/stupid idea (unless the aircraft is not flying below about 10,000 feet anyway, given that I have had to jump out of a Herc’s that were flying at 4k to 6k feet) but there are always exceptions! 😉

13 Bryan { 09.27.12 at 11:27 pm }

USAF chutes have a system that delays opening until you reach 10K feet, and you have an oxygen bottle attached to the harness to pressure breathe until you get there. There is the standard manual handle for instant deployment, but it isn’t recommended unless you know you are below 10K, which is rare outside of the RC-47 missions in SEA.

You jumped out of perfectly good airframes, we jumped because the airframes were in major trouble, so there was rarely an option to wait for descent.

The South isn’t helped by the morons we elect to represent us in Congress, and to major state offices. For every Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Bob Graham there are legions of Jesse Helms, Rick Perrys, Jeff Sessions, etc. It’s almost like people elect them to get rid of them.

14 Kryten42 { 09.28.12 at 6:03 am }

Your first paragraph made me almost choke on a mouthful of hot cocoa (one of the best ever made, Dutch Drost cacao, almost 100% pure cacao! Mmmmmm… heaven in a cup! One of the few Cocoa’s a diabetic can drink as it has only 0.3% sugar (unlike Cadbury or Nestle that usually have 50% or more!) Ehhhh… I digress again). 😉

As someone who had to perform HALO jumps (usually well above 10k feet), we relied on our ability to count and an altimeter feed into our helmet HUD (with a backup altimeter on our forearm) to know when to pull the cord! You Americans have to automate everything! Though, understandable after reading a report on how many US servicemen were killed with partially deployed ‘chutes. Here’s a hint… when you can actually see the ground moving closer, kiss your ass goodbye! 😈 The jump-master would tell us what number to count down from, and when we hit zero, we pulled the cord (we don’t trust any technology, even altimeters, they have been known to be wrong at times. but everyone falls at the same rate).

You jumped out of perfectly good airframes…

Not always! 😉 We jumped out of a Herc a couple times that had more ventilation than it had when we departed! Good thing we had learned to pick up some old Armour and sit on it! AK-47’s can ruin your day. 😉 😆

After having met several *Southerners*, I suspect you may be right about them wanting to get rid of the political morons! 😆

15 Bryan { 09.28.12 at 5:54 pm }

The majority of USAF bail-outs are via ejection seats, and you may not be in any shape to count, which is why the system is automated. There is a manual override that is as simple as it gets – a D-handle attached to a cable that is attached to the pin holding the chute in. The rule was ‘if you can visually identify anything on ground pull the D-handle’.

Going out a side door on a jet transport can cause you to slam into the aircraft before you are clear, which is why we used them. There was no guarantee you would be conscious to make the right decision. This was a major reason I preferred the RC-130s to the RC-135s.

There are a lot of problems with the aircraft being at the wrong attitude when the ejection seat goes. If you are in level flight the rockets will provide enough altitude for the chute to deploy, but if you aren’t, you’re in trouble. If the rockets fire during a roll, they can slam you into the ground.

The guys on jump pay use altimeters, but the aircrews use the automatic system.

16 JuanitaM { 09.28.12 at 6:33 pm }

Something bad has already happened…

Yes! I know, but Mitt’s remarks just gave me this insane mental image of an aircraft with windows. This guy’s remarks are like earworms – no matter how much you hate the song, you can’t get it out of your head.

As far as education, I guess Mitt has what passes for education in the Republican world. If you don’t believe in Darwin, earth science, or the general laws of physics, then you are an educated Repbublican. So there.

And, Kryten42, thank you for your kind remarks! As an individual and a Southerner, we appreciate it! I bestow on you the honorary privilege of saying “ya’ll” whenever you feel like it. 🙂 Too bad about that South Carolina belle…she sounded like fun. And yes, Steve is definitely an example of a mind like a steel trap!!!

True enough, morons are not in short supply in any part of the four corners of this country, not just our southern end. Bryan, I think we’re divided so closely to 50/50 (sane people/idiots) that given any election, we might fall on either side. Perhaps that’s why we get a Clinton on one hand, and a Bush on the other. Or, maybe we all just have a bad case of schizophrenia.

17 Bryan { 09.28.12 at 8:21 pm }

Since you brought up Bush, Juanita, he had a good education at a quality prep school and solid universities and then decided to ‘dumb down’ to get elected. That is really insulting on too many levels.

After what looks like an impending loss for Mittster, they GOP will go back to ignorance, climbing that Mitt didn’t appeal to ordinary voters, which the Republicans define as ‘morons’.

The Republicans are becoming a regional party, and, unfortunately, the South is the heart of that region.

18 Kryten42 { 09.29.12 at 12:37 am }

Errrm… I didn’t mention USAF m8. That’s totally different, and you know it! 😛 I was talking about *ground pounders* being forced to jump out of moving aircraft, as well you know!

“Yes! I know, but Mitt’s remarks just gave me this insane mental image of an aircraft with windows. This guy’s remarks are like earworms – no matter how much you hate the song, you can’t get it out of your head. “

Amen to that! I have that same problem (especially after having spent the past few weeks catching up on The Daily Show)! Jon has a real way of showing just how incredibly stupid Mitt (and all the others, including the Faux bobble-heads) are! In the latest episode, Jon call’s Obama and Mitt the luckiest guy’s in the USA! Obama because he is up against Mitt, and Mitt because he was up against the other rethug’s before him who proved even dumber than he is!) 😆

Why, thank you kindly Ma’am! (I did learn manners in the *South*), which were for the most part in very short supply elsewhere (especially LA & NYC and other cities)! In complete honesty, I found the South to be more enjoyable than most other places I visited (with the possible exceptions of SF, Santa Cruz, and a couple other places on the West & East coast). I took the time to learn the local rules (not to be confused with actual laws. In almost any town or city, the *rules* are far more important than laws! And that’s true everywhere.) 😉 😀 I treated everyone I met with respect and dignity (until they showed they didn’t deserve either, which happened on occasion, in which case I used the ultimate insult, pretended they didn’t exist and ignored them).

I really loved my time in Massachusetts (except the *Snobbsville* parts! Thankfully, there are better parts there), and the parts of Sth Carolina I visited. The young lady I met was from Charleston. 😀 When she told me, I had visions of her in those old movie stereotypical outfits (you know, pretty dress with bows and a sun bonnet and gloves, etc). I couldn’t help laughing, and she wanted to know what I found funny, and I explained, and she laughed also! A very musical laugh that was the final nail in my infatuation I think! 😆 Then she said (with her typical mischievous sparkle in her eye) that I would have to visit her home and she might wear her ‘Southern Belle’ outfit for me! And we both laughed, and after that, I called her my Southern Belle, which she liked. And she called mu her Aussie mate (which she had to explain to several people that here *mate* or m8 means friend, not life partner! So she ended up just calling me her *Aussie*.) 😀 She took me to visit some of her family that lived in… erm, Spartanburg (I think?) and we spent a day at Myrtle Beach before I had to leave for Wilmington (NC) for a meeting, then on to spend five weeks in NYC. It was a few Months before I got back to MA, and we were both busy and had little time to catch up. *shrug*

It’s a real shame that at that time I was very much not my own master and was essentially at the mercy of my master’s in Canberra, and quitting, or doing my own thing (at that time) was not an option! Oh well… That’s life! 😀

BTW, I think one of the places that I visited that had a higher than normal Moron/ capita quotient was probably LA!! I hate that place, seriously! I also learned very quickly that you couldn’t trust anything anyone said there either (and yes, I know I said I hate stereotypes, and I do… But from my time in LA, that the way I saw it, though primarily it was Gov & business types I had to deal with (I found both to be corrupt as hell), I had little interaction with *ordinary* people (if there are any in LA!))

I think that the issue with *Southerners* voting Republican, isn’t for the most part that they are morons, it’s more to do with historical family conditioning and education (and not necessarily schools, but mostly family and church type brainwashing), which seems to me to be more prevalent in the South. From what I saw, the Southerners (for the most part) very much love their traditions and their history. When people are taught from birth “that this is the right way to think and believe”, there is little that can be done to change it. The really intelligent, honest and moral ones (like my Belle) 😉 do escape, but it’s very difficult as they will generally be cut off from everyone they knew. And that is changing slowly, which is why the Rethugs are now playing dirty with things like re-districting etc. They cheat. It’s what they do, it’s the only way they can *win*, and nothing is more important to the Mitt’s than winning! At any cost. 🙂

And yes Juanita, Steve definitely has a mind like a steel trap! 😀 (And I mean that sincerely! I would never underestimate Steve, or several others here for that matter! It’s why I spend my time here annoying everyone!) 😆

PS. I did spend time in Texas (as I have mentioned before) and learned many colorful phrases such as “All hat, no cattle”! Texas is a land of contrasts! Some Texans have a wonderful sense of humor and love a joke (and are intelligent to boot), others… well, it’s where I learned the descriptive term *redneck* was so apt! 😉 😆

You know, I really think it would be wonderful if we could all meet up one day! I have no idea if it can ever happen, but it would be something worth aiming for, for myself anyway. 🙂 You have attracted some wonderful people here Bryan, which say’s a lot about you my friend. 🙂

Thanks ya’ll! Stay sane, stay happy, and stay healthy! 😀

19 Bryan { 09.29.12 at 10:20 pm }

Kryten, I was responding to your comment about the automatic barometric ‘chute mechanism, which is strictly Air Force. In addition we lost more aircraft than anyone admitted in ‘other areas’ or ‘in transit’ [like anyone believed we were just ferrying aircraft into the ‘official’ war zone].

The ‘pounders’ were required to make a number of jumps a year to receive their extra pay, so it is surprising that you would see any large number of those incidents. OTOH, things were really coming unglued at the end, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I didn’t let anyone in country touch any of my gear, which didn’t go over well with my officers, but I depended on that stuff, and didn’t like what I was seeing at the end.

I didn’t have to put up with the grind like I would have if I had been permanently assigned. I knew I would be leaving shortly because they only needed my skills for specific events and didn’t have a regular slot for my specialty. I did a lot of temporary work in a lot of different areas because I wasn’t married and I got rank early. I was the ‘goto tourist’ in my command.

20 hipparchia { 09.30.12 at 1:56 am }

I really think it would be wonderful if we could all meet up one day!

that would be pretty cool. i vote we all invite ourselves to steve’s place, to save him from having to drive anywhere to meet us. 😀

otoh, if we all invite ourselves to visit you, maybe we can get some free health care while we’re there!

21 Kryten42 { 10.01.12 at 9:05 am }

Steve’s place sounds good! Though I suspect his *better half*, Stella may have something to say about that. 😉 😀

Health care may be free (*IF* you are on a Age/Disability Pension or have a ‘health care Card’), but from my personal experience and that of others I have spoken with, the quality is not much better than yours. It may even be worse in some respects.

Otherwise, I have had a few Americans visit me down under, and they all loved it. Some even returned… and managed to survive our murderous flora/fauna! 😈 Just kidding… it’s like anywhere else. Common sense and a healthy respect for anything known/unknown goes a long way. You could send your Repugs here, they wouldn’t last a day and the flora/fauna will be happy and leave everyone else alone! 👿

That report on the relatively high casualty rates for GI’s with drop training is accurate Bryan (between the ’60’s and late 80’s when I read it anyway). The report was/is classified.

22 Bryan { 10.01.12 at 9:37 pm }

I don’t doubt it, Kryten. Things got really screwed up when McNamara decided that officers should be managers instead of leaders, and those managers got assigned. Basic training was reduced during the major build-up in SEA, but I assumed that the advanced schools maintained their length and training.

Given all of the equipment problems when stuff designed for a European land war was sent to a jungle, and people trained for that European environment found themselves in the same jungle. it is hard to see how things managed to work at all.

It was so bad at the end that senior NCOs were openly complaining about how FUBAR everything was.

They repeated the disaster by sending the same Euro-targeted equipment and personnel to a desert in this century.

23 Kryten42 { 10.02.12 at 5:30 am }

Part of it was equipment as you say. 🙂 But one of the problems was lack of proper psychological training, or conditioning. A high proportion of the casualties were first timers in unassisted jumps (ones where the jumper was responsible for opening his ‘chute). It’s a complicated issue actually and there are many variables involved. If the first jump is either terrifying, or amazing both are a problem. Terror causes panic, and if you are mesmerized by the sheer rush and the beauty of the world below you, you can literally forget to pull the cord until it’s too late. Rather than proper training and conditioning, the US Military decided to *solve* the problem by trying to automate the process, which didn’t actually work very well n practice! (And I am not talking about the quite successful and simple WW2 process where the jumpers hooked their rip cords to a static line which pulled the ‘chute release when they jumped. Usually called a ‘static line jump’). That generally only worked when you are jumping out at below 5k feet and the plane is designed to have guys jumping out of the back and away from the slipstream (such as Herk’s). 🙂 One other part of the problem with the US system, was that when a large number of paratroopers are are jumping, their mobility and control during the jump is restricted to prevent scattering the troops. The problem of course is that if the Weather changes suddenly, as it can (especially, as you mentioned, in Desert terrain), and you have little control, you are probably toast.

The US used (and still use, but it’s all electronic now. Was mechanical until the ’90’s) a system called AAD (Automatic Activation Device) which opened the ‘chute at either a predetermined time, or altitude. If the main ‘chute failed to deploy, they were supposed to open the backup ‘chute. the mechanical systems were… problematic. I don’t know how good the newer systems are. We don’t use them. 🙂

We trained for 4 types of jumps. Static line: Only for large number of troops and only between 800 to 1000 ft. Free fall: Usually for insertion of a team. Jump from up to 12,000 ft & free fall in team formation (generally when jumping into a hot LZ). HALO/HAHO: Usually from 15,000 to 26,000 ft (with oxygen of course). And Controlled: Using a steerable ‘chute for precision landing using a Ram Air ‘chute. Think ‘skydiving’. These are normally used for either free fall, or HALO jumps.

We had to learn to use several types of ‘chutes depending on the mission.

This doesn’t include most of your special forces unit’s BTW. Though even they (generally) don’t get as much training as ours (and the Brit’s and other European SF units) do.

It’s all quite sophisticated now. 🙂 Laser rangefinders, weather feeds (especially wind), IR detectors, night vision, etc. Most of that was just starting to be tested when I did my last couple jumps.

I just looked up our current jump stat’s (Royal Australian Army). We have one jump school called the Parachute Training School (PTS). The public PDF states “The School maintains one of the best safety records in the world with close to 500,000 descents without a student fatality. ” 🙂 That’s pretty good considering we have a small number of servicemen with jump training compared to most other Nations. My Regiment had a very high safety and success record I am proud to say (3 RAR – 3rd Royal Australian Regiment). PTS is also one of the oldest jump schools in the World and has been in continuous operation since 1942. 🙂 Even the SAS learn to jump there, so even basic grunts get the same training (minus the advanced courses) as the SAS, and that’s true of much of the SF unit’s training here (most of the advanced training – Commando & above – is carried out by 3RAR).

So, there you go. Maybe the start of another chapter in my ‘book’! 😉 (With a lot more detail once my gag order expires!) 😆

24 Bryan { 10.02.12 at 8:16 pm }

The Air Force used the automatic system because we didn’t jump unless absolutely necessary and we didn’t have time to work out timing. It makes no sense to do it for paratroops who are jumping from known altitudes in a controlled manner [unless the aircraft gets hit, of course]. We were never thrilled about the barometric pressure switch because they were preset and couldn’t be adjusted for local pressure. There could be a couple of thousand feet of difference, based on the actual ground pressure, which is why we relied on the radar altimeters.

We always checked the condition of the release pin after there were reports of bent and corroded pins as part of accident investigations. I’ve found a few, which is why I became paranoid about my personal equipment. [There was also a problem when somebody moved the pads in my helmet during a routine inspection which resulted in a literal headache when I had to wear it for a refueling.] Things got really sloppy.

I always thought that the paratroops packed and took care of their own equipment. They use to have at least two no line jumps before getting out of the training course, but things got rushed during the unpleasantness in Southeast Asia. Actually it makes sense that the US was buying defective gear with flaky gadgets – it would be more money for a defense contractor who would ‘thank’ a Congresscritter or two.

After McNamara the Defense Department was more of a corporate welfare office, than an effective military force.

25 Kryten42 { 10.02.12 at 11:14 pm }

Of course, it’s very different for sky jock’s. 🙂 I heard a lot of stories at GD, including some from a test pilot I got to know there. He said that most experienced pilots will try to do everything possible to get their aircraft under control, rather than ejecting. There are so many things that can go wrong. The ejection systems in fighters was designed to give the pilot a chance to survive and that’s all. It’s a complicated system, and anything complicated isn’t perfect. One of the best, apparently, was in the FB-111. 🙂

During our training, one of the advanced courses was jumping out of an aircraft that was in an uncontrolled pattern (yawing, pitching, diving, etc). It was pretty hairy, and if you didn’t do everything right… *shrug* I have a ton of respect for Pilot’s and aircrew. In all the time I served, I never saw any of them panic. Balls of titanium m8! And of course, they took great pleasure in making the experience as difficult as possible! Flyboys love to scare the crap outa ground pounders! 😆 (never happened though, and when it was our turn to train them in Survival etc… 😆 Payback can be so much fun! 😆 They may own the sky, but we own the ground! And they all spend more time on the ground, right? 😉 😈 But there were never any hard feelings of course. 🙂 The more realistic and dangerous the training (where you probably won’t get hurt too much), the better you can survive the real experience if it ever becomes necessary.

We *ALWAYS* checked ALL our equipment before a mission! We stripped down and reassembled everything that could be stripped! Even though our ‘chutes were per-packed, the #1 rule was: It’s your life! It’s your responsibility! And we didn’t just use naked eye either, we used a strong magnifier with a halogen and/or UV light source, especially on anything where the service tag was more than a month old! We even went over the combat fatigues and boots! 😆 We were trained to be thorough. 😉

I discovered one curious difference in technique between us and the US jump troops in Cambodia. The US carried their combat packs on their chest, with the emergency chute pack in front. That makes landing quite difficult as you are quite overbalanced forward. We carried our packs hanging between our feet on a quick release, which we released 10-20 ft before landing. Made landing a lot safer when you weren’t carrying an extra 30-100 lbs! I bet that increased the US accident rates alone. It also meant that if anyone was shooting at us, they would probably only hit the packs (which had a Kevlar bottom and back) or the armored soles of our boots. 🙂

Yeah… Having worked at GD (and elsewhere), I understand how it all works m8, sadly. I can see it happening here now also. *sigh* Crazy… *shrug*

26 Bryan { 10.03.12 at 12:19 am }

The parachute was the backrest in our chairs and we sat on our survival gear [butt bucket] that attached to the parachute harness. We could drop the gear before landing on the ground, or pull a lanyard over water to inflate the raft before touch down. The equipment inside was packed in waterproof pouches that were connected by lanyards. You definitely didn’t want to land on the ground with that thing still attached or you would break something, probably a thigh. It was also a real thrill to walk to the door or escape hatch with that load.

I can attest to the reluctance of fly-guys to leaving an aircraft that might be able to make an emergency landing. I landed in a couple that could never be flown again, with odd bits coming off on the runway.

They had an ejection seat simulator at survival school that was a hell of a ride. Even under training conditions people ended up in the hospital if they didn’t follow the procedure. The helicopter/aircraft ditching was also a thrill, trying to get out before you drowned.

All of the emergency gear was rigged to fail in some way – things didn’t inflate, zippers jammed, just one problem after another, but that’s better than having to deal with it in the real world.

My understanding on the reserve chute was that you released your main canopy first so it wouldn’t foul the reserve chute. We opened high enough that we could work at getting the sucker open before we splashed. It was the ground attack guys who were in deep yogurt if anything failed.

27 Kryten42 { 10.03.12 at 3:56 am }

Just got home from more tests. Thinking about what to have for dinner… maybe chicken, veggies & rice. anyhow… 😉

If the main ‘chute failed to deploy or got tangled, we did indeed release the main before deploying the reserve. Of course, the reserve was smaller and designed to get you on the ground without dieing, there were no guarantees you wouldn’t get hurt. 😉 If you were making a low level jump (below 1,000 ft) , you didn’t usually have time to deploy a reserve ‘chute by the time you realized the main wasn’t working, so we didn’t bother carrying one. *shrug*

I have no idea why the US forces were wearing their packs on their chest. I thought they carried their packs under the main, as you say. Maybe someone decided it would be a nice idea to try something new in a battle field! Some people have some crazy ideas. I’ve seen worse than that. *shrug*

You’ve heard about US weapons jamming a lot. We checked every round and loaded our own mag’s. One piece of grit in a mag can ruin your whole day, or any ammo even slightly out of spec. We had a piece of equipment in the field armory where you put a round vertically in a clamp that was like a drill press, it spun the round slowly and a blue dye marker would traverse vertically about a hair away from the cylinder. If any dye was on that round, there was a good chance it would jam. We found a lot of US made ammo didn’t make the cut. No wonder they had feed problems! The tolerances on US ammo was woeful to say the least! Actually, I was told by a Ranger (who did the smart thing and checked everything also) who was a hunter in civilian life that most hunting ammo was better than the military crap. And it was really very strange! The US made sniper weapons were some of the best in the World! But the general infantry rifles were garbage. it’s no wonder we got our weapons (rifles, handguns, and others) from Austria and Belgium, but we used US & UK precision (sniper) rifles (and my fave .50 cal AMR was Austrian). I never had a weapon jam or fail to fire. We used the Barrett M107 sometimes. A great rifle. 🙂 However, the rifle isn’t the *weapon*. It’s a tool. The sniper is the weapon. There was a definite shift in US training in the late 80’s. A sniper is trained to kill. “One shot, one kill”. We were trained to aim for the medulla oblongatta (or what we called ‘the peach’ because that was about the size of it.) from the front, the target area is basically a ‘T’, between the eyes, down the nose to the mouth. It was a hard shot, but the best because there was no Armour in the way, and it was an instant kill. Not only that, but there was no nerve reflexes possible. all muscles simply relax. Especially useful in a hostage situation, or someone with a bomb trigger etc. Now, the US snipers are trained to aim for CBM (central body mass), and wounding shot’s are OK! Very Stupid IMHO!

the big difference between a sniper, an infantry man, artillery/tank or fighter/bomber/chopper is simply… A sniper ALWAYS knows the person he is about to kill, or has killed. It’s always personal. We see his eyes move, head turn, see the sweat on his brow, even watch him pick his nose… always observing, waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot. And yes, it does affect us. But we are trained to deal with it, and I guess it takes a special kind of person. *shrug* I never thought of myself as anyone special, I was just a very good shot and I did my job.

“I was what others did not want to be.
I went where others did not want to go.
I did what others did not want to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing,
but to the victims, I gave mercy, hope and aid;
and I took all hope, and gave no mercy to the evil ones.
I accepted the possibility of eternal loneliness…
should I fail.”

Yeah. 🙂 Even to this day, I don’t regret any of it. And not just because there is no point in regretting what has been done, but because I know what those bastards did, and what they would have done. I did what I had to do, and I’d do it again. If I have a regret, it’s that i didn’t get to take out more of them, or Pol Pot, or the CIA bastards helping him! I had a chance to take a spook out once… but I was ordered to stand down. If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken the shot! 😈

28 Bryan { 10.03.12 at 11:58 pm }

The ammo was one of the biggest problems with the M-16. The powder used in a lot of the ammo that was delivered was too dirty for the weapon to function property, and the cleaning kit was wrong. The Air Force carried a lot of Hoppe’s #9 for people when they deployed, and a lot of individuals had their families send it to them to keep those suckers clean.

The ammo sucked, the maintenance sucked, and the equipment kept getting delivered with tighter tolerances. The AK-47 wasn’t as accurate, but at the normal ranges involved that was a non-issue. It was a given that if you saw someone actually taking aim in a picture, the picture was staged. The common practice was to stick the weapon over the cover and empty the magazine while moving it in the general direction of the bad guys. Face it, the overwhelming majority of combatants on both sides were wounded and killed by shrapnel, not bullets.

The head shot is obviously the money shot. That is the sure thing, not the probable of a center mass hit. The thing is that people, even without armor, carry all kinds of things in their pockets and pouches that can turn a bullet. They have to keep their face clear, and faces are usually easier to see than torsos.

You wouldn’t have had a problem with my command reducing the number of drug/gun runners who supposedly belonged to the Company. They had a habit of not being where they said they would be, or doing what they said they would do in the few times I had to interact with their operations. There were a lot of analysts very suspicious of changes made at the request of the CIA regarding targets. We were never sure exactly what the game was that they were playing, but it didn’t correspond to the overall objectives of the military. There were wars within wars in that mess, and it was impossible to be sure whose side a lot of different groups were on. Painting it as a conflict between the North and Cong vs the South and the allies, was way too simplistic.