Friday FOIA Fun: The Fulton Skyhook

As you probably know, if you’re reading this, every Friday (more or less) I write about the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, in something I call “Friday FOIA Fun”. Often, it’s mildly therapeutic kvetching about the sorry state of FOIA processing, or the inexplicable and ridiculous redactions made by government agencies. Sometimes – quite frequently, really – I’ve also got interesting documents that I’ve acquired through the FOIA. This, happily, is one of those weeks.

Before I begin, though, I’d like to apologize: This is a long post. There’s a lot to read. If you’re not into military history – or incredibly cool pieces of aviation equipment – you shouldn’t feel guilty about skipping it. If you are interested in this stuff, and just want to get to the goodies, rather than read my inane drivel, skip down to the bottom of the post, where there are links to the goodies. And, if you’ve got something to say about this, you can – as always – either leave a comment on this port, or contact me directly.

So, where was I? Ah yes. For my money, one of the coolest pieces of aviation equipment ever made is one that most people have never heard of. Imagine, if you will, a system to pluck a man – actually, up to three men at a time, be they downed aircrew, special forces personnel, or anyone else – from the ground, using not a helicopter, but a fixed-wing airplane flying hundreds of feet above the ground. Further, imagine that this wasn’t done using any sorts of high-tech devices, but – basically – by having the plane snag a rope attached to the guy, which is held aloft by a balloon.

Sound wickedly awesome? It is, my friend, it is, and it was called the Fulton Skyhook (and later the Fulton STAR System). Developed shortly after WWII by an American inventor named Robert Fulton, the system was used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the USAF Special Operations Command between (roughly) 1960 and 1996. The CIA used the system on a B-17, which I understand is, in private hands, on display in either Arizona or Nevada; the USAF used it on C-130s – mainly the MC-130E Combat Talon. There are at least two surviving aircraft with Skyhooks installed on display in this country, including one in the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Public information about the Skyhook/STARS is, to date, pretty limited – the official factsheet leaves quite a bit to be desired, and while the Wikipedia page is a little better, it seems largely anecdotal, and doesn’t provide a lot of details on the workings of the system.

Setting about to rectify that, I made a FOIA request about the system to the USAF early last month. After some wrangling – detailed in a previous Friday FOIA Fun – it was eventually determined that whatever information the Special Operations Command had ever about the system, it was no longer in their possession, but rather in the hands of the Air Force Historical Research Agency, at Maxwell AFB in Georgia.

This was, potentially, really bad news. What I really wanted were instruction or training manuals for the system, and AFHRA doesn’t – as a rule – retain “technical” documents, only those of “historical” interest. The Defense Technology Information Center, or DTIC, is supposed to be the repository of all things technical, but a quick check with them showed that they had nothing on the Fulton system. Worse yet, a check of AFHRA’s 2001-era card catalog didn’t find anything particularly promising – just a few mentions in old history books about the First Special Operations Wing. Still, I sent off an email to AFHRA, since that’s where the 1SOW folks at Hurlburt field sent me.

Much to my surprise, I received a response a few days later, informing me that AFHRA does, in fact, have at least some of what I was looking for – though largely by accident. Thanks to the kind staff there, I took receipt this week of two manuals on the Fulton Skyhook – a draft handbook from the Robert Fulton Company, and a detailed report on the system by Lockheed, who manufacture the C-130. The former is interesting, but incomplete, and I may scan it and provide a copy at a later date; the latter, however, is an absolute treasure-trove of information about the system.

In a nutshell, the system involves a pair of booms attached to the nose of a C-130 family airframe, which are used to intercept the rescue rope, which is held aloft by a balloon. While the illustration below, circa 1960, is for a C-130A or C-130B, the system didn’t change much over the years – even when it was reviewed and updated in 1986, as “Project 46”, so the same basic idea would have held true for later MC-130E Combat Talon aircraft. Photos of the system I’ve seen haven’t been real clear on the design of the booms, but this engineering drawing should answer most of your questions:

There was more than just the boom on the nose of the plane, of course; there was also a fair amount of rigging, to hold it in place, and to protect the propellers from making contact with the rope. A minimal amount of modifications were required to make an airplane Fulton-compatible; once modified, it was generally agreed that the Fulton equipment could be installed in about two hours – though I should note there’s no mention anywhere of how many people, or what kind of equipment, were necessary!

In addition to the strange stuff mounted on the nose of the plane, equipment was installed in the cargo compartment to support the actual pickup itself. It’s clear that DARPA weren’t involved; for all the overall awesomeness of the Fulton system, the whole thing was amazingly low-technology, using – basically – a winch and a bunch of pulleys and rollers to haul in the rope. With the assistance of a couple people, of course; the system was nothing like automated:

Assuming everything went according to plan, the lucky fellow on the ground, having climbed into his exposure suit with integral parachute harness and deployed the rope and balloon, would be safely onboard within five minutes of the airplane first contacting the rope. Provisions were made for up to two-dozen subsequent recoveries, but I don’t believe anyone ever performed more than five on one flight.

The 72-page manual survives, as far as I can tell, only because it forms part of the “supporting documents” for a little-known USAF history volume published in 2001. Called “The Praetorian Starship”, and authored by an MC-130E pilot named Jerry Thigpen, the book chronicles the history of the Combat Talon – including quite a bit about the Fulton Skyhook; it even includes a mostly-complete list of Skyhook recoveries over the years. So, really, it’s almost a fluke that anything about the Fulton system survives in publicly-accessible form.

The report is, to be specific, “ER-4112″, produced by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Georgia Division, sometime circa 1959-60.

It runs 72 pages, and you can download a copy here (20MB Adobe PDF file).

Jerry Thigpen’s book on the MC-130E is long out-of-print; at the moment, there’s a copy for sale on Amazon for $170 USD. If you don’t want to pay that much, you can download a copy of that, here (14MB Adobe PDF file).

So, there you have it – everything you ever wanted to know about the coolest bit of now-obsolete aviation equipment ever designed, and then some. Go forth, enjoy, and ask yourself: In an era of extreme sports, how come nobody ever tried to charge money for taking rides on something like this? It’s like skydiving, only in reverse, right? Seriously, how awesome would that be, eh?

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on August 8th, 2008| 21 Comments »

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21 Comments

  1. On 8/8/2008 at 1:54 pm paul hayward Said:

    if you get the movie “The Green berets” with John Wayne. You will see the SKYHOOK system in operation. It is pretty freaky to know that this was a viable system to recue downed pilots.

  2. On 8/8/2008 at 2:00 pm Nemo Said:

    Yep, and it also appears in a James Bond film, of all places.

    Back in the day, the USAF was quite proud of the Skyhook, and used to show it off at airshows and the like; today, the rescue role is entirely the responsibility of helicopters, and the Skyhook/STAR system is mostly forgotten. A pity, really…

  3. On 8/8/2008 at 3:22 pm Asim I Said:

    Awesome, thanks for this post and all the effort behind it.

  4. On 8/11/2008 at 8:28 am SK Said:

    Batman used this in the latest movie.

    Oh, and Maxwell AFB is not in Georgia. Apparently, you’ve never been to AFHRA. It’s neat. You should actually visit sometime.

  5. On 9/16/2008 at 10:47 am Jerry Thigpen Said:

    Thanks for publicizing the Fulton STAR system. I had the priviledge to write the Combat Talon book titled “The Praetorian STARShip”. I wanted to point out that the drawings you provided in your article are from the prototype recovery system. Much of the bracing mounted on the front of the aircraft was replaced by hydraulically operated yokes that could be extended or retracted (dependent upon the mission) in the final production version of the system. If you have any specific questions about the system, drop me an email. It is also good to know that the ‘Combat Talon Archive’ is live and well at AFHRA (I compiled the archive from research material used in the book).

  6. On 11/3/2008 at 10:27 pm Shaun Strickland Said:

    Hi. My name is Shaun C. Strickland. I am the son of SFC Clifford Wilson Strickland. I was born on March 23, 1982. On April 26, 1982 my father was in Stuggart, Germany and attempted Mission Skyhook. My father died due to faulty equipment and fell to his death at 1400 hours. Any information would be great.

  7. On 11/11/2008 at 10:27 pm Dick Tantare Said:

    I was a member of the ramp crew that made the pickup in the Green Berets movie. It occured while flying a STAR training mission from Eglin AFB.

  8. On 11/28/2008 at 12:51 pm Steve Doyle Said:

    Great article, and particularly interesting to read the comment from Jerry Thigpen as I have read the The Praetorian STARShip.
    Since watching the James Bond movie “Thunderball” I have been fascinated by the Fulton Skyhook and have done quite a bit of research on the system for a college project (all references are credited). I have collected “down-loaded” quite a few photos of the different types of aicraft that have been equipped with the Skyhook, Stinson Reliant, B-17, S-2, Caribou, C-123, C-130, but would be really keen to see more. So if anyone knows of websites where they are published I would love to know.

  9. On 12/11/2008 at 9:51 am mike Said:

    I talked with SkyHook inventor, Robert Fulton before his death on SkyHook 2 which would snatch 6 men-at-a-time; an entire recon team. Our web page covering Fulton STAR and other special exfiltration means is below and would appreciate anyone’s input with pics and text on things like STAR equipped aircraft etc:

    http://www.combatreform.com/escape.htm

    itsg@hotmail.com

  10. On 12/12/2008 at 9:15 pm Michael Ravnitzky Said:

    If you are interested in Fulton Pickup, you’d really be interested in this manual from WW2 called Man Pickup. It was the other type of retrieval known as trapeze pickup, which was developed by Mr. Harry Conway based on systems for picking up gliders. Trapeze pickup may have been technically superior to Fulton in some ways — there was a bit of a political power struggle between the two–and was used for the mid-air retrieval of reconnaissance capsules and other objects in the 1960s and 1970s. Fulton became the system used for exfiltration of people.

    Here is the intro page:
    http://www.thememoryhole.org/mil/man_pickup.htm

    Here is a high resolution scan of the manual:
    http://www.thememoryhole.org/mil/man_pickup_manual.pdf

    There was an AIAA paper I wrote about these systems entitled Catch a Falling Star: Parachute Lessons Learned During the USAF Space Capsule Mid-Air Recovery Program, 1959-1985, admittedly not without a few minor errors, which is identified here:

    http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=mtgpaper&gID=68875

    Several years ago, I donated my papers on this topic, including comments and corrections on the paper from people who worked on the capsule program, to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum archives.

    Finally, if you are interested in technical articles and manuals for the Fulton System or other related systems or aircraft, just send a letter to:

    Defense Technical Information Center
    Attn: DTIC-RSM [Kelly D. Akers, FOIA Manager]
    8725 John J. Kingman Road, Suite 0944
    Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6128 USA

    Your letter should mention the Freedom of Information Act, and should ask for a technical report bibliography for the keywords you are interested in. For older reports, you should ask for not only an automated search of the more recent reports (generally post 1960-ish), but also a search of the manual card indices as well. You’ll need to agree to pay fees up to $30 if necessary, but don’t send any money in advance — that’s just a legal requirement.

  11. On 12/20/2008 at 4:26 pm Bernie Moore Said:

    For Shaun Strickland,
    Shaun, I was the co-pilot (right seat pilot) on the flight on which we lost your father. I have never forgotten that day or the loss of one of our comrades-in-arms. This “live pickup” mission was flown in MC-130E 64-0523 of the 7th Special Operations Squadron (home-based at Rhein-Main airbase, West Germany at that time) as part of Exercise FLINTLOCK 82. We launched out of RAF Wethersfield in the UK in the early morning (it was an unusual daylight mission), flew high altitude over to German airspace, then descended to our low level tactical route and made the preliminary Recovery Kit drop on the drop zone in the German countryside on time. Twenty minutes later, as per procedure, we came in for the pickup. We had good radio communications with the ground party which included your father, a few others from 10th Special Forces Group, our squadron Combat Control Team (CCT, working the radios), the Exercise Control Group, and medics. The run-in to the target looked good. The weather wasn’t great, but good enough. The usual European haze was present. The flight deck crew spotted the Helium balloon in good time which allowed the pilot (Capt John W. Bates) to look below it for his specific target, the lift line. John was one of our squadron’s best pilots, and an excellent and experienced “Fulton” pilot. As usual he manouvered the plane straight toward the lift line and set his sights on the small but bright international orange Mylar flags that mark the exact height on the lift line the pilot should aim for. From my view in the right seat, which is an excellent view, the line-up looked really good and John flew the nose straight into the lift line, with the line being captured well within the extended Yokes (“whiskers”). I distinctly remember saying, “Good hit John!” For a moment the braided nylon lift line was visible lying across our front windscreen, just as it should. Then it was gone, that fast. That created momentary confusion in my mind. I was now seeing something not right. I knew we’d gotten a good hit but why wasn’t the lift line still lying stationary across our window anymore like it should be? Someone in the back-end crew, who were ready and waiting to reel in the “package”, asked in a confused voice on the inter-com if we had “fended” (missed the lift line). Normally, on a good hit, the back-end guys, facing aft and looking out the back, will see the “package” come into view at the end of the lift line, trailing directly behind the plane, and rising almost to the same altitude as the plane, then descending a bit as the package stabilizes as it’s being towed along at 125 knots. They later told me all they saw out the back was what looked like the white-colored lift line snaking through the air (in a curvey line) well below them, clearly slack, but they did not see anybody on the end of the line because the greenish-colored Recovery harness and coverall suit blended in with the terrain below. All we knew at that time was that the lift line was no longer attached to our aircraft. Of course we immediately got on the radio and asked “Iron Cross” (the CCT) what was going on. I think they simply said, “Standy By.” We knew that was not a positive response, but we didn’t understand what had just happened, just that despite what looked like a good hit, we did not have the package in tow. We knew we couldn’t have fended the line because if we had missed it we would not have seen it for that split second on our windscreen. In the meantime we continued on our low level route, waiting to hear from Iron Cross what had happened in case they wanted us to drop another Recovery Kit for another try (I’m not positive we had a second kit but we usually did). Within a few minutes though, Iron Cross told us there had been an injury, that the “package” had been engaged but that it (your father) had fallen back to the ground. We were told that an Army UH-1 Huey “Dust Off” medevac helo was going to take the casualty to the nearest medical facility at Heidelburg. We were a bit in shock as we all knew the “package” was a live human being, but we were somewhat relieved to hear he was being treated and taken to a hospital. That meant he was alive. We proceeded straight back to Wethersfield. Everyone on the crew was very quiet on the flight back. We were deliberately not told that Cliff had not survived until after we’d landed at Wethersfield and shut down the engines. It was a very sad day for us, the squadron and the Special Forces guys we worked with. Our crew was “grounded” as per normal protocol after a fatal accident. A few days later there was a somber but nice memorial service for Cliff. A formal investigation was launched with Major David E. “Skip” Davenport as the pilot member; he was an expert MC-130E pilot and a master of the Fulton system, both as a flyer and regarding the mechanics of the Skyhook system. Our crew was put back on flight status within a day or two as it was clear from the physical evidence on the plane’s Yokes that John had indeed made a good hit on the lift line and that there was no reason to believe the crew’s actions had caused the “drop back.” John and I and the flight engineer looked the plane over immediately after we shut down to see if we could find any hint of what had happened. Two things clearly indicated that John had indeed caught the lift line within the Yokes (and therefore, not fended); there was a fresh ‘rope burn’ mark on one of the Yoke arms where the lift line hit (the Yoke arms are cleaned and polished before the flight which removes any old marks), and there were clear orange stains on the top of the fuselage above the cockpit where one of the orange flags hit, which can’t happen if the lift line is not lined up with the nose of the plane during engagement). Skip is the real expert on what happended to cause the accident but it is my understanding that, like many accidents, the absolute 100 percent positive cause was not determined. From what I understand it is believed that when the lift line was engaged, that is, when it went into the Yokes, in that split second as it slid toward the apex of the “Y” of the Yokes, as it is supposed to, it may have been hung up for a millisecond on a “gap” in the Yoke where there is a joint in the surface, that that this somehow cause the “Skyanchor” – the locking mechanism in the apex of the Yokes – to not work properly to grab and lock-in the lift line. After the investigation several suggested mechanical changes were made to boost the reliability of the system. Eventually the 7th SOS and 8th SOS began doing regular Fulton Skyhook training pickups with sandbags for packages, but no general officer in our upper chain of command would allow us to do any more “live” pickups for training. Despite this tragic accident, I believed in the Fulton Recovery System. I, like many if not all Fulton pilots, was an eager volunteer to be picked up. But risk averse generals would not allow it, thus steadily eroding the credibility of the Fulton Recovery System as a “live” rescue/recovery option. We continued doing hundreds of Fulton pickups with the MC-130E until September 1996 when the Fulton Skyhook system was retired. I had the good fortune to have made the last ever pickup. By the way, the second to the last pickup was done by the then-Wing Commander, Brig Gen Norty Schwartz, who is now the four-star Chief of Staff of the Air Force. I have not forgotten your father, SFC Cliff Strickland. I did not know him, never met him, but he was a brother-in-arms, a brave soldier, a Green Beret. Our job in MC-130s was, and is, to support Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel like your father. As a Green Beret Cliff would have understood and accepted the increased risks we take in SOF to do things others dare not do. Unfortunately, the cost of training realistically in SOF has sometimes been costly in human terms. Seeing your email, as Cliff’s son, brings home the human cost of our chosen profession. I hope I have given you some information you sought. My parting comment is that I have never forgotten the sacrifice your father made, and never will.
    Col Bernie Moore, USAF (Ret)

  12. On 4/11/2009 at 2:40 am Paul Said:

    This is for Shaun Strickland. I was a member of the SF ground party and served with your father on the same team for a couple of years and on that particular mission. Your father and I were the communications team for the excersise. Cliff was normally a part of A-325 I think. I read Col. Moore’s narrative and it is pretty much in line with what we heard with a few subtractions. Then ODB 32 commander Maj. Paul P.Peyton along with the team medic were there as well. The team will never forget Cliff.

  13. On 4/11/2009 at 4:44 am Paul Said:

    This is for Shaun Strickland. I was a member of the SF ground party and served with your father on the same team for a couple of years and on that particular mission. Your father and I were the communications team for the exercise. Cliff was normally a part of A-325 I think. I read Col. Moore’s narrative and it is pretty much in line with what we heard with a few subtractions. Then ODB 32 commander Maj. Paul P.Peyton along with the team medic were there as well. The team will never forget Cliff.

  14. On 9/26/2009 at 5:31 pm Buff Underwood Said:

    For Shaun Strickland: First Shaun I am very sorry for your loss. I know Col. Moore, Col. Jerry Thigpen, Mr. Michael Ravnitzky, Major Skip Davenport, and the late Major John Bates. These are all very honorable and honest men and it has been my pleasure to have worked with them. Col Moore has provided you with a very good narrative of the accident. I spent my last 10 years in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer on MC-130E platforms. During that time I was an instructor and taught the Fulton STAR system to many Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Loadmasters. I retired from the Air Force in September of 1982 and went to work for Lockheed Aircraft Service Company (LAS) in Ontario CA. My initial job was to rewrite the flight manual for the MC-130E as well as some of the maintenance manuals. LAS was the company that maintained all of the MC-130E platforms. Shortly after I started to work LAS was contracted to determine the cause of the accident and provide a modification to the system that would not allow for a repeat of the accident. I (along with a couple of mechanical engineers that were assigned to me) was given the task of designing the modification. The cause of the accident was a failed bushing at the top of the left yoke pivot bolt. With the bushing missing there was about ¼� play in the bolt hole which allowed the left yoke to “sag� and open a gap in the normally metal to metal junction that would allow the lift line to slide over the junction and into the Skyanchor where it would be secured. As the lift line slid down the yoke toward the Skyanchor the gap “captured� the line and provided enough friction to lift you Father off the ground but still allow the line to slide through the gap. Eventually the lift line slid out of the gap and into the Skyanchor and the Skyanchor did in fact fire. However, the load that was then on the line was hundreds of times greater than the Skyanchor had been designed for and the unit was not able to capture the line. The modification I came up with provided a sleeve that fit over the face of the yoke and extended beyond the junction and would allow the lift line to pass over any gap that may occur in the future. Shortly after installing the modification to all of the 7th SOS & 8TH SOS aircraft I was selected to be the program engineer to work with Mr. Robert E. Fulton to upgrade the system to the Project 46 capability to pick up 6 SOF personnel in one lift. I knew Mr. Fulton personally and worked with him for many years. Your Father’s death weighed heavily on him and he took it quit personal as did all of the Crew on that mission as well as all of the STAR qualified crews. Your father was a true SOF Warrior and we all felt the loss of a Brother in Arms. I can only offer you my most heartfelt condolences for the loss of your Father and a great warrior. You may if you wish contact me at buff@valp.net and I will share with you anything else you may need to know about the system. None of us will ever forget the sacrifice your Father made.
    Most respectively yours,
    Buff
    Msgt Robert B. Underwood Jr. USAF (ret)

  15. On 10/7/2009 at 7:23 am Patrick Keon Said:

    To Shaun Strickland,

    I knew your dad, Cliffy,well we were stationed at Ft Devens together, I was one of the medics on the team but not at the site. Your dad was one easy going, funny, religious,) can never remember him swearing.)most hardcore guys I had ever met. He was one of the “old timers” on the team and I can remember I was going to try to ” smoke ” your Dad on a 5 mile run. Everything went my way for 4.5 miles then I heard Cliffy coming up behind me…like a freight train. he appeased me with conversation then took off like a shot. I have a bunch of stories, and pictures I would love to send of your Dad. To this day I think of him often He epitomized the quiet professional. Contact me Shaun at mrelativist@yahoo.com and will be glad to share pictures, field and team room stories with you.

    Best wishes
    SSG Patrick Keon USArmy Special Forces (ret)

  16. On 11/20/2009 at 2:26 pm Erling Vold Said:

    In the autum of 1972 I was at an Homeguard exercise i the muntains of Norway with soldiers from 7. Special Force Group. We were first shown a movie about skyhook. The movie was made to be shown to the public, therefor ther vwew no army uniforms. Mostli it showed rescue from the sea. One of the instructors we had was the same person who was piced up from the dingy, his name was cpt. Blackburn. Later we had a demo of the skyhook. A C130 dropped the gear and took a turn while we rigged the baloon and line, then it returned to pick up the sandbag. They had to hurry because the baloon was leaking a bit, an was about to loose height. But they made it, and we was shown a wery special way to recower people from the ground. What I wonder is: Is it possible to find the movie and may be get a DVD copy of it.
    Best Wishes
    Erling Vold

  17. On 12/26/2009 at 9:20 pm Shaun Strickland Said:

    WOW!

    In July of 2008 I went to watch Batman: The Dark Knight with my Mom.
    They used the Fulton Recovery System in the movie which is the first time I had ever heard or seen it. She started to cry. I had no idea why and I didn’t ask.

    As of October 2008 I had no idea how my father died.
    I went to see my Nana (his mom) who lives thousands of miles away that month. She then gave me a short book she wrote about my dad which gave away minor details of SkyHook. When I got home from there in 2008 I posted on this website…..then do to lifes busyness, I forgot to ever get back on.

    This Christmas 2009 my older sister gave me a book with pictures of my dad in it and all the messages you guys sent above. I had know idea where she got all the info from until she told me it was from the site I posted on over a year ago.

    Anyways, I can’t believe it. This is an AWESOME Christmas. Any more info you guys would like to share…ANYTHING…please post on here again or email me at stricklandengineering@yahoo.com

    You guys are awesome.

  18. On 12/28/2009 at 1:27 pm dave Said:

    I thought the skyhook was fake but i was so intrested in it i looked it up and now its confirmed its real idk what to believe anymore.

    “Either u die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

  19. On 2/1/2010 at 9:18 pm Art Cocchiaro Said:

    We had several MC-130’s arrive at Pope AFB equipped with the Fulton Recovery Systems in 1965-1966. I crew chiefed one for the short time they were at Pope. They were so new that some of the pilots were not qualified to operate the camera and Fulton systems. The planes were painted black and dark green on the top/side and white on the belly.
    They later were sent to I believe Taiwan.
    When at Pope the movie the “Green Berets” with John Wayne was filmed at Ft. Bragg. We never say the actual pick-up from the movie but did see the plane that was used in the filming.
    Art

  20. On 3/9/2011 at 1:59 pm Timothy Pall Said:

    My father(stepfather) passed away March 06 2011. He was a live pickup. We still have his end of the skyhook “tether”. It has the following written on it. ” SSGT Edward J Brogan, Jr. Halo Committee. Live pick-up NR. 35. Gabriel Demonstration area. 1630 HRS. 18 November 1964. 10 minutes. skyanchor malfunction. rope cut. Lanston pickup master.”
    If anyone has anymore information in relation to this particular pickup it would be great. I remember him saying that he did’nt realize that there was a problem until he was in the aircraft. He stated he was having a blast and “tracking” behind the aircraft. They kept waving at him to stop. Little did he know that the line was broken. Just as an additional piece of info. Once in the aircraft he changed into his HALO gear and did a freefall from it. At the time he was one of the first people to jump out of an aircraft that he did not take off in.
    Any additional info would be great. tim@arampall.com

  21. On 7/24/2017 at 10:28 am Richard Said:

    I have a skyhook balloon I would like to sell