For a better visual of the Airborne scene in Darkness Divides

I wanted to wait until most people had a chance to read Darkness Divides before posting this.  It’s a video of the same plane (Casa-212) and type of parachute Melena used in the book.  The main difference being this takes place at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina during the daytime (plus the troops are using proper military procedures instead of Mel’s improvising).  You can see how Melena would have strapped her pack to the front of her similar to the way they do.  These troops are probably carrying upwards of 100 pounds on them, which makes it rather awkward to walk.

I’ve actually jumped on the same drop zone this video shows about a dozen times, often using that plane, so I did draw heavily from those experiences for the novel.  Hopefully this gives you a better idea for what it would feel like to do it.


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8 thoughts on “For a better visual of the Airborne scene in Darkness Divides

  1. Lalo

    It was so quiet after they jumped! I wasn’t expecting that, but it does make sense. It was like floating down, but then at the end, the ground came up very fast. amazing! Also, I thought they would land closer together… Very interesting. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Susan Illene Post author

      It’s usually quiet after you slow down and your parachute opens. That’s my favorite part. Plus it looks like it was the perfect weather for the jump in the video so the guy had a nice, smooth landing. It does come up quick once you get close to the ground.

      As for them being far apart, that’s mostly because they jumped from the tailgate one person at a time. If you were to use a C-17 instead they’d probably have jumpers going out the side doors of the plane simultaneously. Then you can end up really close to the guy who exits the same time as you do.

      In one case, as soon as my chute opened my legs swung right into someone else’s parachute. We were jumping at 800 feet that night(almost half the altitude of what you saw on the video) and I had little time to get away from him. Once I did the ground was already getting very close (it was dark and harder to see). My legs weren’t bent enough so I did a feet-to-head landing, meaning I had arched backward when I hit.

      The full force of the landing went straight into my lower back and locked it up. It hurt so badly I couldn’t move for a few minutes. Just try to breathe. Eventually I got up and hauled all my gear off the drop zone. Never could arch backward much after that, though I did another twenty jumps before getting out of the army. The military doctors claimed there was no permanent damage (from that incident) and that I could keep jumping. I banged myself up a few other times during Airborne operations, but that was one of the more painful ones.

      One thing I can say for the Casa is I never got hurt jumping from it.

        1. Susan Illene Post author

          Yeah, if I hadn’t started doing it at eighteen years old it would have been a lot harder to learn how to flip off that self-preservation switch. People in Airborne units tend to be a little crazier than average. If I told stories from my time back in those units people would call them unbelievable.


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