Kiwi Blue’s Parachute display
20120407_AK_Q1032139_0001 Members of the RNZAF Kiwi Blue parachute team arrive in Wanaka
Kevin Pope is a very experienced parachutist and the team leader of the Parachute Training Support Unit. Kiwi Blue performed at the Warbirds over Wanaka Air Show; the parachute team with their ‘high show free fall routine’. Kevin said he was “At the bottom of the stack leading the formation team. I will also be flying one of the two flags at the show,” said Kevin.
The Air Force team have different routines depending on weather conditions. “If it is cloudy we can fly under the cloud base and we open our parachutes straight away.”
When they jump from the aircraft at 9000feet, they hold onto each other in a star formation. “We then break and track away from each other at around 5,500 feet and at 4,000 feet we deploy our shutes,” said Kevin.
All members of the Display Unit are full-time instructors. Once they are ‘free fall’ qualified and have gained the appropriate experience they are gradually introduced into the display team.
FLTLT Paul White is the Flight Commander for Kiwi Blue, is a full-time instructor and at this particular show he was also the Drop Zone Safety Officer. He has been with the team for almost four years.
“My job was to liaise with the Air Show Director to make sure that there are no other aircraft in the area when they are ready to jump and that the drop zone is clear for landing.”
“Individual and team safety is the priority for everybody. At the end of the day it is a hazardous occupation and we try to make it as safe as possible.”
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