RCPT-USA, in cooperation with American Airborne Group and Skydive Palatka bring you Operation Black Cat.
Update: We may be able to get a UH-1 Huey for the event. This will be a unique opportunity to make static line and free fall jumps from a rotary wing aircraft. In fact, I think we'd be the first civilian group to do static line rotary wing jumps. Price TBD, but the more jumpers sign up, the less the cost per jumper.
Never jumped before? Take our first jump course, October 24-29. We will train you on the SF-10A, the best and most dynamic round parachute available today, currently used by US Army Special Forces.
Haven't jumped in awhile? Take the Basic Airborne Refresher course on 26 October. We will get your knees back in the breeze and train you on the SF-10A.
Our other aircraft for the event will be the C-47, Placid Lassie. We will also have a Cessna 182, Caravan and King Air for smaller loads.
Operation Black Cat is set to start next week. It's going to be a great event.
We're going to start on October 24th with our basic round parachute (SF-10A) course.
Basic Airborne Refresher will be offered on the 26th for any s/l jumpers who are not current.
The Cessna 182 and the Kodiak will be flying both s/l and free fall jumpers starting on Tuesday. On Friday around Noon, the Bell Venom Huey helicopter will be arriving to fly both s/l and free fall jumpers through Saturday evening.
There will be night jumps on Friday evening (B license required for skydivers). There will also be high altitude (22,000 AGL) free fall jumps (B-License and 100 jumps required) for Saturday and Sunday mornings.
On Saturday afternoon, the C-47 Tico Bell will arrive for s/l and free fall loads through Sunday.
We will also be conducting foreign wings jumps with Jumpmasters from Estonia, Germany, Philippines, Italy, Peru and Netherlands.
Registration is on the Skydive Palatka web page, skydivepalatka.com/registration and is $40. The helicopter jumps will be $75 for everyone. Jumps on the C-47 are also $75.
Parachutes (SF-10A) are available for rental and Rigger/packing service is also available.
Operation Black Cat was a huge sucesss. Although the Huey had to fulfill a military contract due to disaster relief operations and was not available, the owner provided us with a CASA-212. The CASA-212 is a twin engine, high wing aircraft similar to a Skyvan, but larger. It has a paratroop door and a ramp, but all the CASA operations I have been involved in use the ramp. It can accommodate 16 jumpers. The CASA-212 is frequently used by SOF at Fort Bragg for MC-6 and free fall jumps.
The CASA was a great aircraft for our event, and I think ultimately it was better for our operation than the UH-1. It could carry large loads of SL and FF jumpers, and for skydives it could get to altitude quickly. The ramp jumps were great, and the ease of going off the ramp compared to the paratroop door allowed us to do combat equipment jumps. On Friday and Saturday we conducted 150 static line jumps.
The week began with Jumpmaster rehearsal/refresher on Monday. On Tuesday we started our Basic Round Parachute Course with 9 students. Our course is a 3-day, 3-jump course designed for people who want to try jumping with the SF-10A. Students who go on to complete 5 jumps receive an SF-10A qualification and are no longer considered students. The first three student jumps will be solo on the Cessna-182 or Kodiak, and the others on the large aircraft we contract for the event. We have designed and priced the course to be more in line with what we expect most people would be willing to pay for a parachute course, similar to a skydive AFF or first jump course. The cost of the course (including 3 jumps) is $350.00. The cost to students for additional jumps will be based on the contract price for the aircraft. The CASA jumps were $25. Parachute rental and packing service is included for the first three jumps. Six of the nine students went on to complete all 5 jumps (and more) and received their qualification plus RCPT wings.
On Thursday we held a Basic Airborne Refresher for 9 students who were out of currency. The BAR course is intended for anyone who has not jumped in the last 180 days. However long it has been since your last jump, we will get you jumping that day.
Our supply of chutes and Rigger service allowed us to conduct operations without pause. A military parachute Rigger can pack about 5 chutes in the time it takes a team member or student to pack one. It makes no sense to have the packing tables occupied by people who can't pack quickly. It is a win-win situation. The riggers make money, and we get to jump.
We kept the CASA flying and dropping jumpers. We use US Army Pathfinder methods to spot the release point for the jumpers, so we did not have to fly a streamer pass, wasting time and fuel on every lift. On Saturday we flew 9 lifts with the CASA to drop SL jumpers, and between SL lifts the CASA dropped skydivers. That was in addition to other jumps with a Cessna 182. On Friday, we conducted night jumps out of the Kodiak which was really cool.
In addition, we had Jumpmasters from Peru, the Philippines, Germany, Estonia and Italy who attended, performed Jumpmaster duties for static line and free fall jumps, and awarded their countries wings.
It was the most jumping I've done in a week. I did four FF jumps, including two ramp jumps out of the CASA which was fantastic. I did six SF-10A jumps, and got to JM the CASA twice.
We intend to conduct a similar operation next year in February or March. The CASA was a great jump aircraft and we have the option of using it again, or a C-47. Our events are open to anyone, round parachute jumpers and skydivers. Current military or sport jumpers familiar with the SF-10A/MC-6 need only to attend our pre-jump and safety brief and can jump that day. Airborne veterans or those who have not jumped in the last 180 days must take the one day BAR course. We have a supply of MC1-1C parachutes as well.
I will publish the upcoming dates. Contact me if you would like to know more about any of our courses or events.