As the ramp let down at 3,000 feet and the sunlight slipped into the cargo bay of the new C-130J aircraft, Air Force and Army paratroopers stood ready to execute the first jump from the new Super Hercules.
Paratroopers loaded Ramstein’s new C-130J Hercules May 4 to take part in the first ever J-model personnel drop out of Ramstein, certifying the new aircraft for real-world troop drops.
Pilots from the 37th Airlift Squadron said they were eager to put the new Super Hercules to the test; more than 35 paratroopers participated in the jump.
“We’re excited to perform the first troop drop today,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. “This jump is our first chance at getting a look at how the C-130J differs from the C-130E. It gives us an opportunity to work out any kinks, if any, and certify the aircraft for real world personnel drops.”
After extensive parachute rigging, pre-jumping and safety briefings, jumpers fell into formation in preparation to be driven out to the aircraft.
“This is an important flight for everyone,” said Staff Sgt. David Edwards 786th Security Forces Squadron paratrooper. “Executing the first personnel drop from this aircraft gives us jumpers a clear perspective on how jumps from the C-130J differ from jumps out of the C-130E. I have more than 26 jumps under my belt since I’ve been stationed here, and I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to jump from the C-130J.”
After making the trek to the aircraft, paratroopers completed one last parachute safety check and loaded the aircraft.
Strapped with parachutes and combat gear, jumpers found the added space on the new J-model surprisingly accommodating. The jumpers agreed one of the most efficient added features was the added space.
The C-130J is 15 feet longer than the older C-130E model.
“We’re usually packed in the aircraft a lot tighter than this,” said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Rodriguez. “With the extra space we are able to move a bit more freely, making it easier to stand up, hook up and shuffle to the door.”
After a quick take off, the pilots had paratroopers over the drop zone. Paratroopers attached their chutes to the static line and waited as the jumpmaster gave them a five minute out signal.
“This part’s always a rush,” Sergeant Edwards said. “Waiting for the signal to go is an indescribable feeling.”
When the jumpmaster held up his arm motioning each jumper to proceed, paratroopers rushed forward and jumped off the ramp of the new Super Hercules.
“Today’s jump was a great success,” said Army Sgt. Juan Fiilix, 5th Quarter Master Company parachute rigger. “Jumping with all of our combat equipment isn’t easy but with new features such as extended space really helps makes missions such as the one performed today a big success.”