Safety is paramount in everything we do. It all begins with professional training, repetition, debriefing and more training.The team safety officer always goes to the demonstration site to check out the proposed landing site to check for poles, trees, power lines, holes and anything else that would hinder the safe landing of the parachutist, tandem passengers or audience attending the show, which the team would be performing for at an event.
Drop zones very from show to show. Most airshows are done on sweltering black pavement or concrete. Some places may have gravel, hard dirt and others may have beautiful green fields of grass and even snow white sandy beaches if we’re lucky enough. But you still have to take precautions and look out for the holes, tree stumps, hills and valleys to prevent twisted ankles and broken legs.
Here at Homestead, they have placed barriors in the road to prevent traffic around the drop zone. There were a lot of holes in the drop zone , which were filled with dirt and fine white gravel to level out the drop zone. SFC Bovee erected an electronic wind meter and windsock to read the winds on a daily basis. All day long he is continually checking winds and calling up to the pilots to inform the jumpers of winds prior to every jump.
There is a florescent orange fence that has been placed around the entire landing area to prevent any one from walking on the drop zone during training. When the demonstrators are coming in for a landing they could not stop to allow someone to walk bye. Simply they could be taken out and most likely end up broken up and we could have an injured jumper. All media, tandem passengers and guest are always escorted by a team member, if they are allowed on the field.
When the winds spike the target is pulled from the landing area so each of the remaining jumpers know to choose a safe comfortable landing area. So rest assured that safety always comes first for the US Army Parachute Team no matter where they go and whatever they do.