Parachutes, Princes & Predicaments

RAF post-war
ISBN 1-903953-17-0
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by Edward Cartner
How I taught Prince Charles and Prince Andrew to parachute jump (without killing either of them) whilst serving in the RAF as a parachute jumping instructor in 1978.

Edward Cartner's entertaining account of how he and his fellow Parachute Jumping Instructors (PJIs) at the RAF Parachute Training School (PTS) approached the daunting task of teaching two Royal Princes to parachute jump whilst ensuring their safety is delivered with the same wry sense of humour he displayed in I Have Control? and Who Is In Charge Here? and is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone with a military background or with an interest in the British Royal family.

In April 1978 Edward Cartner was serving his fifth tour of duty as an officer at the Royal Air Force’s No.1 Parachute Training School* when it was announced that HRH the Prince of Wales, accompanied by his brother Prince Andrew would be attending to train as military parachutists.

Training personnel to jump out of an aircraft without hurting themselves is a demanding enough occupation under normal circumstances, calling for no less than 100% efficiency, but when your students are the heir to the throne and his younger brother, it adds something a new dimension to the exercise (to say the least!). 

As the officer in charge of training the young princes, Edward Cartner immediately realized that he was about to undertake a task that would lead him into uncharted waters (or should that be airspace?) where he would be subject to levels of responsibility and anxiety well beyond the remit of normal parachute training courses.

*Known as ‘PTS’ this RAF unit is responsible for the initial parachute training of all United Kingdom forces – a role it has fulfilled since the first deployment of British parachute troops early in the Second World War. PTS also recruits, trains and is then the sole employer of RAF parachute jumping instructors – PJIs.