A parachute target really requires no construction, but it does deserve
specific mention. I have spent practice missions looking for a military
"parachute" that actually turned out to be an old set of curtains. Your
wing supply officer should be able to easily get surplus parachute canopies.
The military is always getting rid of them because they have a limited
life span. They are then given to other agencies or finally to DRMO (Defense Reutilization Management
Office) to be used for training.
If you're trying to obtain a parachute, know that DRMO can be a funny animal. Many DRMO sites are being closed down and consolidated. This may make the availability of the site itself difficult. Furthermore, your state director (or possibly a VERY few others) are the only ones allowed to get property out of DRMO. You can try to make a request through your state director. Unfortunately, that’s probably your only option for a “free” parachute. You can also ask around at your local Air Force base, to include guard or reserve stations. Again, though, you’ll probably not have a lot of luck. They're required to dispose of them through proper channels, which doesn't include direct distribution to CAP members. You might be able to locate a parachute on eBay or a surplus store.
Spread the parachute out in a large circle like the diagram here. You may notice that the standard military C-9 canopy has 4 sections in different colors. Orange, white, olive green, and tan are the colors. Tan and white make up the majority of the parachute. USAF Aircrew members are taught to make signals out of their parachute and they will use whatever colors will contrast the best. That is what a military aircrew member would do if he or she were able. For a more challenging target, hang it in trees. To make increasingly more realistic targets, combine a parachute, a flightsuit dummy, and a mockup aircraft. They should be place near each other and logically the parachute would be downwind of the mockup. You can also place and ELT at either the dummy OR the aircraft. Some military parachutes have 243.0 beacons. The USAF UHF training frequency is 251.9 MHz, and if your L-Per and/or aircraft is appropriately equipped with this frequency crystal, you might also be able to participate in joint exercises.
Here In this photo, we see a parachute target photographed from 1,000 feet AGL with a Kenwood VC-H1 unit. This was taken during Mississippi Wing's 1999 Evaluated SAREX. Granted that the quality of the photo isn't the best, but it should demonstrate the visibility and usefulness of such a target. Parachute targets have become favorites in Southeast region. During exercise scenarios we'll receive reports of missing aircraft that are painted, "brown, orange, and green on white." You guessed it--the target is a parachute!
This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources™ website was last updated 08/07/2007
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