Peter Adams' account of jump training at No 1 PTS RAF Abingdon, 1964.
As a cadet in the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps I applied for parachute training in lieu of summer camp.
In 1946 No 1 PTS moved from its war time location at Ringway to RAF Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire, trainees were accommodated in a nearby camp at Middleton Stoney. In 1950 the school moved again to RAF Abingdon where it remained for 26 years until, in 1976 it moved to its present location at RAF Brize Norton.
The School completed its one millionth descent in 1969 when Private Norman Blunn, a recruit from Depot the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces jumped during Regular Basic Parachute Course No 701 at RAF Abingdon.
Commanded by a Wing Commander the School conducts basic parachute courses for regular and reserve forces from all three Services. It also trains Parachute Jump Instructors (PJIs), free-fall parachuting and carries out support and parachute aircraft coordination. The through-put of parachute trainees is managed by the Parachute Course Administrative Unit (PCAU).
Parachute courses last four weeks for regular soldiers and two weeks for reserves. The first part of the course is taken up by synthetic ground parachute training, which practices landings from various apparatus and on mats and free-flight trainers, swings and trapezes to simulate and practice in-flight drills. All aspects of parachuting are practiced from the exit, flight and landing building up to eight aircraft descents first without and then with equipment and by night.
On successful completion of the course trainees are awarded their parachute ‘wings’ before returning to their respective units as qualified parachutists.
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