There’s a few things you look for in a ‘jump-ship’. A fast climb -rate helps so you get up quick, turbroprops help with that, especially so above 10,000 feet. A low stall speed is desirable, so the run in is nice and slow. High-mounted wings are a bonus, as the jumper will encounter less turbulence. Twin engines are great, as one of the engines can be feathered. Some planes have lots of centre of gravity issues which can be scary at slow airspeeds. with a full load onboard.
10. Cessna 182 – Small. Slow. Cramped. Piston engine. Though you get to hang off the strut and stand on the wheel. The pilot better have put the brakes on though, or you won’t be standing on the wheel for long!
9. Cessna 206 – First plane I ever jumped out of at Skydive Strathallan. In fact, my first plane ride ever. What’s more I flew it for a bit too. Very cold as some bugger had taken the doors off so people could fall out of it.
8. Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander – Twin piston. It was very cramped and only marginally faster than the Cessna 206. It had a door though, which was a bonus, especially in Scotland in winter. It’s always nice to be able to feel your hands!
7. PAC P-750 XSTOL– Turbine conversion of a crop sprayer. Terrible jump aircraft. Small cabin. Small door. Low wing. Lots of prop blast and turbulence coming off the wing. The horizontal stabiliser was a bit close for comfort too… Fast though, which is why it gets this high in the list.
6. de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Turbo Beaver – A black one. I can’t remember much. I was probably still drunk as it was at a collegiate meet (sorry!). The t-shirt was good though (Work it out). Note from Ed: I have a feeling that doing this drunk is not a good idea.
5. Cessna 208 Caravan. Jumped a few of these. 1 was at Skydive Langer and another two at Spa in Belgium. Nice plane but lots of prop blast when climbing out. Not that fast a climb rate either. If you hang around outside for too long you end up sliding down the rail.
4. Technoavia SMG-92 Turbo Finist. Turboprop conversion. High wing always a bonus. Single engine, so a bit more prop blast. Nice big step and a massive rail. Fairly cramped inside but pretty quick. I liked these but beaten out by the top three.
3. Shorts SC.7 Skyvan. Bit bizarre jumping out of the back of an aircraft. Ugly thing and poor C of G. Not that fast! You go out of the back into dead air and then wham get hit by the airstream. You can run straight out the back though which is fun.
2. de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. Nice big plane and very comfy. Reasonably fast depending on model. High wing and stabilisers and twin engines help too. Very nearly my favourite…
1. Dornier Do-28 G92. This thing is awesome. It’s a turbine conversion of the venerable Do-28. Fastest jump-ship I ever got out of. Felt like you were sliding down the bench during climb. Massive door you can stand up in. Great big rail to hang onto. Twin turbine engines so the pilot can feather the door side engine to reduce prop blast. No C of G issues either. Lovely! Plus I had lots of fun in one during an after-party! 😉
by Tom Hibberd
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