There is some evidence that Chinese acrobats used parachute-like devices in 1306.
Step 1: Proper Fitting of the Harness
The harness is designed to distribute the opening shock evenly throughout the body, if a proper fit has been attained. A poorly fitted harness may cause badly wrenched shoulders as well as severe injury to the crotch area. Ensure that you are properly fitted before you accept your safety harness.
Step 2: Daily Inspections
Once you have a parachute on loan it is recommended that you carry out the following daily inspections. If, when using these inspections as a guide, your chute harness, or traveling bag is faulty, return it immediately for repair and reissue or replacement.
A. Packing date. A pocket on the underside of the pack contains an inspection slip which indicates the date packed, by whom, and the unit where packed. The packing cycle of all man-carrying parachutes is 60 days.
B. General condition of the pack. When because of mishandling, the pack is misshapen to the extent that operation may be impaired, return it and draw another one.
C. Acid. An area affected by acid appears lighter in colour and frays readily when scraped with a finger-nail. If any part of your assembly should be contaminated, isolate it immediately and return it as soon as possible.
D. Grease, Oil, and Dirt. Return equipment as soon as possible if any traces are found.
E. Tears. Report even the smallest tears.
F. Rip-cord pin. Check for corrosion and ensure that the pins are not bent.
G. Safety Thread. The safety thread acts as a seal and if it is found broken, return the chute immediately.
H. Bands and pack opening. Inspect for condition and security.
Step 3: Storage
If the following storage procedure is carried out, the chances of B, C, D, and E occurring in your assembly will be considerably reduced.
A. Store in a dry place away from sunlight.
B. Store in a clean place away from acid, grease, oil, and dirt.
C. Keep the assembly under lock and key preferably in a metal locker..
NOTE. You are advised to use these storage methods with all your equipment--bandoleers, Mae-West, etc.
Step 4: High Altitude Bail-outs
Bail-out at altitudes where oxygen is required presents special hazards as it is necessary to delay opening of the parachute as long as possible to avoid:
A. Loss of consciousness through lack of oxygen;
B. Excessive parachute opening shock; and
Bail-outs above 30,000 feet require oxygen--a bail-out bottle is a necessity. Pulling of the rip-cord should be delayed until you are approximately 5,00 to 10,000 feet above the ground level or until you can identify ground features in relief.
NOTE. It takes a body approximately 32 minutes to fall 65,000 feet with a parachute and four minutes to cover the same distance without a parachute.
Step 5: Stability in Free Fall
There are at least five good reasons for immediate body stabilization after bail-out or after separation from the ejection seat.
A. The face and body parallel to the earth position eliminates the possibility of body interference with the proper deployment sequence of the parachute.
B. Orientation with reference to the ground is immediate and continuous.
C. There is a reduced rate of decent, and therefore, less chance of injures on deployment.
D. The limbs-spread face-to-earth position reduces the possibility of violent spinning in either a horizontal or a lateral plane, which can result in confusion and unconsciousness.
E. If by chance you have failed to hook up your automatic parachute opening device you can in a stable position readily discern whether it is functioning at the proper altitude. Any air crew member with a few hours air time can immediately tell the difference between 15,000 and 5,000 feet.
Step 6: Attaining Stable Position
Immediately after separation from the ejection seat the arms should be spread out at an angle slightly ahead and above the shoulders and at the same time the legs separated at a 45 degree angle, the head held up, and the back slightly arched.
NOTE. Bending forward at the waist causes a back to earth position. If spinning takes place, it can be corrected by drawing the arms in parallel to the sides or by assuming a "Full Tuck" position then slowly re-spreading the arms. This spread position should be maintained throughout the free fall.
Step 7: Body Position During Rip-cord Pull
In the stable spread position your rate of decent will be approximately 100mph. and you are in the ideal position for an automatic deployment of the parachute. If you are operating th parachute manually, simply look at the rip-cord, grasp it with your right hand, and at the same time place your left arm across your waist. Then while pulling the rip-cord from its housing, bring your legs together and hold your chin down. If you free fall in a closed position "Full Tuck" your rate of decent can be as high as 260mph at higher altitudes and 150mph at lower altitudes.
Step 8: Handling of the Open Chute
Canopy Check. When your chute has blossomed look up at the canopy for tears or lineovers. If you detect numerous holes in the canopy your rate of descent will be much faster and you can expect a harder landing. In case of a line over, where one or more lines are caught over the canopy, your rate of decent will increase considerably. At the same time you will not have too much control over your [parachute. If your rigging lines are twisted you can speed up the unwinding by kicking against the twist. Then carry on with the following procedure.
Orientation. While you still have altitude check the surrounding terrain for habitation, lakes, rivers, or anything that may assist you in survival.
Check Drift. Sight between your feet. This is necessary if you wish to have a proper landing position. Ascertain your altitude by looking ahead at a 45 degree angle. On a sunny day watch your shadow. Newer look directly at the ground when approaching it. Your tendency to reach for the ground will straighten your legs thus increasing your chances of injury.
Oscillation. This can be reduced with a steady pull on one riser or two or three of the lines.
Planing. For chutes with four risers, to plane forward pull on the two front risers. To reduce forward drift pull down on the rear risers. For planing right pull on the right risers, and for planing left on the left ones. For chutes with only two risers, unless you can grasp the shroud lines, you will be limited to left and right planes only.
Step 9: Para-landing Techniques
When nearing the ground assume the proper landing position. By this time you should have checked your drift, dampened oscillation, and carried out any necessary planning.
The following are the correct positions for various types of terrain.
A. Open Terrain
1. Chin on chest,
2. Back rounded,
3. Hands on risers, elbows forward,
4. Feet and knees together,
5. Knees slightly bent,
6. Turn off at a 45 degree angle, as taught,
7. Present the balls of your feet to the ground,
8. Go into your roll as taught, and
9. Spill your chute by running around it or by pulling in two or three of the lines which are closest to the ground.
B. Bush. When landing in wooded areas, carryout the same procedure with the exception that you must protect your face with your arms and have more bend in your knees. Above all keep your feet and legs together!!!
C. Water Do not attempt to judge your hight when approaching open water.
1. Turn the quick release box so that the red mark is in the up position,
2. Place your hands over the quick release box, ready to depress it,
3. Keep your legs together and your head erect,
4. When your feet come into contact with the water (not before) press the quick release, clear your leg straps, and swim away from the chute,
5. Inflate your Mae West, and
6. Inflate your dingy and get into it.
NOTE. The inflation of the life jacket just prior to water entry, particularly for non swimmers, is recommended. If this practice is followed, the oral inflation valve should be unlocked to facilitate bleeding off excess air in case the pressure between body and harness becomes too great.
Step 10: Supply Dropping
When you are expecting a suppl drop, help the drop crew out by placing proper signals in a clearing where they can readily be spotted from the air.
You can spill these chutes by pulling the apex into the wind or by grabbing one or two lines at shoulder height and dragging the chute into the wind.