Hundredth Army parachute course completed DPR/TV/673

Accession Number F03905
Collection type Film
Measurement 16 min 13 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker MacKenzie, Ross St
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Williamtown
Date made 13 August 1967
Access Open
Conflict Period 1960-1969
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

The Australian Army completed its 100th parachutist's course at the RAAF Base at Williamtown in NSW at the weekend. Since the inception of the joint Army and RAAF Parachute Training Flight at the base in 1951, 4870 soldiers have qualified as parachutists, with more than 60,000 jumps being made from RAAF Caribou and Hercules aircraft. During this time an impressive safety record has been maintained with no fatalities occuring and an injury rate of only 0.03 per cent. Much of the credit for this record is attributed to the emphasis placed on ground training, which takes up much of the three and a half weeks course, includes simulated jumps, in flight drills and landing procedures. One of the most realistic training aids is the Exit Trainer, which students use to practice in-flight drills from a flying fox to help them gain confidence. Students are constnatly reminded of the need for checking and double checking their parachutes in case of emergency, there hasn't been an occasion when these have been needed. After the intensive ground training phase is completed, students taking part in the 100th course are taken up in a Hercules for their first jump. Members of the course instructing styaff are with them at all times. Inside the plane drills are revised and last minute checks are made before the students move to the door to make their descent. Meanwhile the instructional staff on the ground watch the students as they prepare to land and with loud hailers correct any faults in landing procedure. Of the 4870 soldiers who have qualified from Williamtown, 12 have been members of the Pacific Islands Regiment, while another 171 have been members of the Navy and RAAF. The latest course had an added touch of realism with much of the landing zone covered in water following recent heavy rains in the area. Before qualifying, parachutists must take part in multiples drops with their equipment but this jump is left till last. But even after landing, the job is not fully completed until harnesses are removed and the 'chtes quickly folded.

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