View Full Version : New parachute opening device will increase safety

10-21-03, 05:54 AM
New parachute opening device will increase safety
Submitted by: Marine Corps Systems Command
Story Identification Number: 2003101794345
Story by Capt. Chad Walton

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Oct. 17, 2003) -- Jumping out of aircraft at high altitude will soon be a little safer than before when Marine Corps Systems Command begins to field parachute Automatic Opening Devices to the Corps' Reconnaissance Units.

Simply described, the device uses barometric pressure to measure altitude and is attached to the reserve chute. The AOD will deploy a parachute automatically in the case that a jumper is unconscious or otherwise unable to open the chute himself.

"This is the current technology that has been used by the civilian market for the last 12 years," said SSgt. Steven Pope, Amphibious Raid and Recon, Systems Command. "We looked for something that had a proven reliability for many years and adapted it to military parachutes."

The Automatic Opening Device is deployed with the MC-5 Ram Air Parachute System used in High Altitude High Opening and High Altitude Low Opening insertions. These canopies effectively become airfoils once deployed and allow Marines to insert from higher altitudes with greater standoff distances by gliding to their targets.

To insure the effectiveness of the device, Marines participated in a week-long test plan in May-June 2003 at a site in Arizona, jumping a total of 463 times over the course of one week.

"This device is much more user friendly and the ease of operation is much better," said HMC Brenden McMullen, U.S. Navy, Raids and Recon. McMullen participated in the Arizona test jumps.

Recon Marines will begin to see the new devices in the spring of 2004.