The second demo of the day at Airfest 2010 was a display of less elite paratroopers. These guys didn't do tricks or use fancy parachutes with airfoils and logos. They got pushed out the side of a big cargo plane over what represented enemy territory, en masse. They made two passes, dropping almost twenty guys at a time. I was able to reposition after the first pass to get better pictures, so these are all from that that pass. (You can't stand in one spot and be a good photographer, you have to go where the action is!) This shot shows the first guy has exited the plane, but his rig is still attached inside the plane. His weight will jerk that loose in a second, and he'll be on his way down.
Here's the first guy with his chute beginning to open, and the next two guys are out. I suspect they should have been jumping two by two, and that first guy got off a little early, or maybe the first guy on the left missed his cue. These things are never perfect.
I think this is all of them. I thought twenty guys jumped, but I only count 18. Perhaps I was mistaken. All of my shots show eighteen chutes is the air.
Here you can clearly see the differences between these guys chutes and the ones used by the SOCOM team. These are just big floppy jellyfish designed to drop safely, not to be flown.
I can see where a sight like this, but perhaps with a few hundred more chutes in the air, would scare an enemy on the ground. Trouble is coming, boys, better go hide in your spider hole.
As they neared the ground, they dropped the bag that help the parachute to the end of a tether. I guess this gets it out of the way when it's time to land. You can see it's a pretty big and bulky item that might make it awkward when they hit the ground.
Until I looked close at this shot of the drop plane, I assumed they went out the back, but I was wrong. You can see the small door in the side of the plane just rear of the wing. That's where they exited on this side of the plane. I'm sure there's a similar door on the opposite side, but you're going to have to trust me on that, as I don't have a picture of it. This shot is actually from the first jump. I concentrated on the parachutists on the second jump, so missed the plane as it exited the drop zone.
After the two drops, the plane made a pass over the crowd, then exited the area before landing. This shot showing the topside of the plane was made as it banked for the turn. Look close and you'll see that they've closed the door you saw open in the previous picture. Oh, I believe this plane is a C17 Globemaster. I didn't know that until I looked it up, but it's the same plane you'll see more of later. It's a big mother.