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Italians in free fall

By Cpl. Nicolas Marut
First published in
SFOR Informer #88, May 24, 2000

Sokolac - A parachute jump exercise was conducted, May 18, near Sokolac, involving elements of the Italian Battle group, 1st Alpine Parachutists Company "Monte Cervino" stationed at Tito Barracks. The exercise took place in two phases. Paratroops first jumped from a G-222 from an altitude of 3,500 meters. Then, in small groups composed of six soldiers, they passed through the door of an AB 205 helicopter, the Italian version of the Huey, from an altitude of 2 500 meters.

"There is nearly no difference between jumping from a plane or from a helicopter," explained Capt. Renzo Martini, 1st Company commander, and organiser of the exercise. "The only difference occurs during the first meters. From a plane, one jumps in an oblique line, while the jump from a helicopter occurs directly vertical." The difference between an automatic jump is that free fall always takes place from high a altitude.

Therefore it is longer, but more discreet. At the time of the jump the parachutist triggers his opening system after a few seconds of free falling several hundreds of meters. This technique is not typically used for jumps involving large numbers of troops, but is suitable for smaller units.

Related links:
Training and Exercises
The Nations of SFOR: Italy