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The PC-6 Porter has been active for about 1 year now and is a very capable aircraft (10k+ in about 9 minutes). The Islander gets used quite rarely now that the Porter is in use.
The 182 operating in EIWF belongs to Go-skydive, a rival dropzone.
Nearly all jump pilots wear an emergency parachute system in case a canopy gets entagled on the aircraft, tailplanes have been known to rip off in some cases. This would be of a similar type to the one Eddie was wearing.
I would recommend that those who need to wear these emergency systems try at least one or two jumps. If nothing else, it would help allay some of the fears associated with leaving an aircraft, and thus prevent delaying the making of this decision when this is the best otpion. Static-line and tandem are pretty irrelevant - ask about AFF (advanced freefall), these courses can be cheaper abroad (spain and US).
Be aware though that the emergency pilot rigs and those used by skydivers are very different. For starters the skydiving rigs have 2 canopy's and a cutaway system for the main. Pilot escape rigs only have 1 canopy as that is the last resort. Also pilot escape canopies are round whereas the ones used almost universally by skydivers are steerable square ram air canopies. The location and feel of the deployment handles are also different. On skydiving rigs the metal D handle on the left is the reserve handle and you are unlikely to get to pull this one on a normal jump.
Having said all this, and speaking as skydiver, all I can say is that Eddie did very well to get out of that aircraft and is very lucky that he had enough height for it to open partially, the sea helped with the landing impact. In that situation at that height, and with a few jumps behind me, I may have elected to stay with the aircraft. It must have been uncontrollable for Eddie to make that call.
Edited to add: A poster above has mentioned the length of the cable attached to the metal D ring. While this may be 1 meter long, it is not necessary to withdraw it completely. Movement of over a few inches will pull a 1.5" steel pin which holds the rig closed. One should pull it to arms length anyway to allow for any built in slack in the cable.
Just wondering how did you get to fly a few extras, there's not many of them here and I wouldn't have thought too many people would be willing to lend their Extra to basically a Student!!!! Do you mean you went for a flip in them in somewhere like the states or the UK at one of the money making places that charge 200 or 300 euro and hour to be brought up to see what the aircraft can do OR where you actually solo P1??
Let me know because I've been flying a few years and would find it extremely hard, even now to find somebody that would lend me there Extra to fly.
Also there's not much point in talking about how you would get out of the plane, if you've just hit another aircraft at that speed and height and are going in, you will pull up for most height and get out of there whichever way comes naturally to you, bet ya if you asked Eddie what he did to get out of the aircraft he wouldn't be able to tell you his exact sequence of exit and deployment.
The other thing about actually doing a few jumps to be able to pull a handle and land a canopy is bull, it might help very slightly but roundies are different they are there to slow down your decent and save your life (which it did in Eddies case). If it had been an on land landing I doubt he'd of come out so well.
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