Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Chute-ing a line!

Lindy in full glory!
For all high speed taxy runs we endeavour to use the braking chute, although not a necessary requirement when you have a runway which is 2 miles long, it's use reduces the wear on the brakes and more importantly is a very impressive sight!

But before we can stream the chute we need to pack it - easier said than done when it weighs 165lbs and the canopy measures 45 feet in diameter - the largest chute to have been used in regular use anywhere in the world.

Brake chute hanging from the rafters
Before we start, the chute needs to be hung to ensure that it is dry and aired. Then after sweeping the hangar floor, the canopy is laid flat and all panels checked for wear and damage. The canopy is made out of a Stoppem /Dragnium blend which resembles something from an Agent Provocateur line.

Laying the canopy flat

Marking the log

The streaming log is marked before each run, recording the number of times the brake chute has been used.

Then to the lines.......so after detangling the spiders web and tracing each line from the canopy to the shackle, the lines are bunched, according to the parachute packing AP.

The canopy is packed!

Using 'judicious folding and assorted origami' skills the canopy is packed into the parachute bag in a series of S bends. 

Forming a mouth lock

The parachute lines are used to form a mouthlock at the base of the parachute.

Packing the lines

Again using our origami and wicker basket weaving skills the lines are pulled through the parachute bag in four sets. Now all that's left is to pack the extractor drogue chute.

So, the chute's packed and almost ready to go - all that's left is to fit it in the hopper..........
Packed up and ready to go!

Loading the chute

"The Victor tail chute - was a bastard to reload. It usually took 3 crew to get the new packed chute up and into the tail hopper. Required judicious folding and assorted origami ....... or lots of stomping and jumping about on the bloody thing ....... to get the hopper doors closed. If you landed somewhere pleasant and sunny it was not necessarily a trial to be out there loading the new chute. If you landed somewhere cold wet and miserable then it was a pain in the backside - better to be the 4th man sitting in the cockpit monitoring the refuel panel!" ex-Victor ground crew

Closing the hopper

"My idea of hell was packing a chute into the hopper on a wet and windy winters night at Leuchars for a QTR on Tansor." ex-Victor ground crew


And so we start again!

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