Releasing the Hang-Up
By Jim Kuiken
Back “in the day”, when we used to jump (military parachuting) with static lines, there was always a remote possibility of a “Hang-Up”.
By the way – I hate professional jargon that people not in the business don’t understand, so let’s start with a couple of definitions:
Now that we’re all on the same page, what does that have to do with anything? Well, much like my two-part article on “Taking Aim on Success with a Sniper’s Techniques”, this is a military technique that has a deeper meaning when used to take a look at life.
Ok, let’s get back to you being towed beside a C-130 aircraft after having jumped out of the side door, and flapping around, twisting, and banging on the side of the aircraft in that approximately 150 mile-per-hour slipstream (the wind along the side and behind the aircraft).
If the ‘chute doesn’t deploy and you become a towed jumper, there are basically two options to get you clear of the aircraft. If you are close to the door, it is sometimes possible to shake you loose, or pull you back in by the static line. Or, if you’re not close or they are unable to pull you back in – and you are able to signal them that you are still conscious by placing your right hand on your spare parachute pull handle and your left hand on top of your helmet (and then assume a good, tight body position in preparation, so you don’t flop around in the air when you are released) – they can cut the strap and release you (or some jumpers have been able to cut their own strap), which is called a Cut-Away. Hopefully, once you’re clear, you will be able to pull the handle on your spare ‘chute, and still reach the ground safely. Sadly, that sometimes doesn’t work, but the Cut-Away is still the best option for survival if you are conscious.
If you are unconscious, the options are not so good. They can try to foam the runway so you can hopefully slide along beside the aircraft as they land, but that option is obviously not a great one for survival.
So the life-lesson here should be becoming obvious. If your life, relationships, job, school, or any other circumstances in your life have become so overwhelming that you are hung-up, and they are just towing you along while you flap around in the wind and are being beaten and buffeted by them – but you are still conscious, you have some choices to make.
If there is someone that can help, a mentor, someone to talk with, etc., then maybe they can help you shake loose from the thing(s) that are just towing you along and beating you unmercifully, or help pull you back in, and help you adjust and survive – or thrive, with a new outlook and goals.
If it is too overwhelming, then you can do like what I’m doing this year. As with many of you, sometimes things just pile up too high, and it’s time to cut-away, fall free and open your spare. Jettison those things that are not helping or that are actually damaging you, and start anew, fresh, and with a focused purpose.
Sadly, some folks will not be able to, and whatever it is that is towing them along and banging them around will take them down to the ground with them, hoping to slide along and survive…not always the best option.