Jump Practice For Normandy Begins
As if it wasn’t enough to be planning to fly a fleet of vintage C-47s above Normandy next June, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the project also includes about 300 parachute jumpers from a variety of historic-recreation groups who aim to honor the veterans of WWII. This week, they flew their first practice jumps, in their WWII-era gear, departing from five C-47s as they practiced formation flying above Oklahoma. “I’m guessing this is the first time That’s All Brother, since it returned from Europe in 1945, has had people jump out,” Joe Enzminger, wing leader with the Commemorative Air Force, told AVweb on Wednesday. The teams flew three times on Tuesday, with about six to 10 jumpers per flight, and will fly again for a public demonstration this weekend at the Wings Over Dallas airshow.
The jumpers aim to “faithfully re-create the historical aspects of their gear and equipment, subject to safety and operational limitations,” Enzminger said, and certain other liberties are also allowed—Tuesday’s jumpers included a woman, who is probably the first of her gender to jump from the plane. “This was an honor and a privilege,” Kathleen Healey wrote on Facebook. “Wearing my old style Quick Release Box (Dial-of-death) Harness ... and having a beautiful view standing in the door.” The Europe flight departs in May, from Connecticut. The organizers expect to fly about 15 jump sorties in Normandy and Berlin. “I have a feeling we’ll be pretty busy dropping jumpers,” Enzminger said.
The first jumpers to depart That's All Brother since WWII.