Jungle Survival School

Descending from the tree tops
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One of the problems facing an airman who bailed out of his aircraft in Vietnam was that, likely as not, you would end up hanging from your parachute harness in the tops of the tall tree canopy.  Parachutes were equipped with a long nylon tape and a snubbing device which allowed you to make a controlled descent to the ground or the end of the tape (whichever came first).  Many of the pilots who were equipped with parachutes carried extra tapes to assure that they could reach the ground if the necessity arose.  Caribou pilots were not issued parachutes, but this was "one size fits all" training, so we all got to practice it.  The idea was to secure the end of the nylon tape to the parachute risers and, making sure that the tape was properly engaged by the snubber attached to the chest harness, pull the disconnects to drop free of the risers.  At this point, you were hanging from the tape attached to the risers and you could lower yourself gently down to the ground.
Revised: 24 March 1999