Paratroopers' Midair Collision And Entanglement

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Published Oct. 25, 2020

A sketchy jump video from an unidentified airborne training operation shows the midair collision and entanglement of two paratroopers.

If you jump long enough, some sort of midair collision is likely to occur, and for that reason there are rules and procedures to follow to increase your chances of survival. Firstly, the lower jumper has the right-of-way. So it is the higher jumper's responsibility to watch those below him and attempt to "slip away" if they feel they are headed toward another jumper. If the collision cannot be avoided, the jumpers are supposed to spread their arms wide to avoid slipping through each others' suspension lines. As we can see in the video, that doesn't always work, as the two jumper become dangerously entangled.

Both paratroopers' canopies remain inflated, but run the risk of collapse, should the lower one steal air from the other. A single parachute is designed to carry two jumpers safely to the ground, so long as one remains inflated. If you're an experienced paratrooper, this is where the video becomes spooky. The cameraman takes the worst possible action, and pops his reserve, adding a third, less capable, canopy to the mix. This significantly increases the risk of further entanglement and canopy collapse.

Luckily, the higher jumper's canopy gets a nice updraft and pulls him out of the cameraman's suspension lines. They both land safely on the drop zone and have a sweet video to share.



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