The next cohort of soldiers has started the long and arduous path to earning their parachute wings.
Before doing jumps, soldiers must complete All Arms Pre-Parachute Selection (AAPPS) to show they have the mental and physical robustness required for parachute operations. Soldiers in The Parachute Regiment do this as part of their basic training.
AAPPS starts with Block 1 - a two-week build-up to get soldiers used to extra physical sessions and give advice on kit packing, injury prevention, nutrition and recovery - then moves up to Pegasus Company in Catterick for Block 2. Across 3.5 weeks, the intensity of the physical training builds up, culminating in the famous eight challenges of Test Week.
Some 130 soldiers started a Block 1 course at Merville Barracks, Colchester last week (Mon 6 Feb). After a session of exercises and biometric measurements to benchmark the soldiers as they begin the process, the serious work began. The troops were tested with runs and loaded marches, with the distances getting longer and timings tighter as the course progresses, as well as gym sessions to build core strength and flexibility.
WO1 Joe Foreshew RAPTC, who is in charge of physical fitness for 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: "Good luck to everyone who has started AAPPS. We expect candidates to prepare themselves thoroughly, and in return we provide structured support and progressively build up the difficulty level to minimise the injury rate and ensure the maximum number complete the process."