It was back in the 80s and l was manifester at Capital City parachuting based at Biggin Hill airfield, the famous WW2 airfield in Kent, our DZ was 9 miles next to Brands Hatch racing.
The Saturday weather at the DZ was not good enough for jumping as cloud was at floor level. The committee of “Operation Revenge” leapt into action.
Pete C was steered into the canteen with the offer of free coffee and snacks by a regular who wanted to ask him some questions about formations. Others stood as watchers so if Pete decided to leave the canteen they could pass word.
When he was out the way students who arrived for the day’s parachute course were grabbed by their necks in friendly embraces, taken to one side and given muttered instructions- "Something strange is going to happen during canopy handling, do not tell anyone keep it quiet, your instructor knows nothing" They looked bemused but followed instructions by keeping silent and walking off like nothing had happened.
The best 2 packers were locked in the packing shed. Certain people walked to their cars to collect plastic bags, they slid to the packing shed trying to look innocent. The 2 guards at the packing shed were leaning across and blocking the door talked innocently about canopies and formations. They glared at the bag holders, checking the contents and making sure the passwords were muttered. The bags were pushed into the packing shed and the suppliers whistled away innocently. No entry of anyone was permitted.
The course instructor went to the loo with severe stomach cramps and all other instructors were unavailable. Pete C an instructor, aka Red Devil aka Member of the Parachute Regiment worked for us part time was asked to run the course. His ego carefully polished when told how excellent he was as an instructor and we were so relieved he would step in and do the course, Pete was turned loose.
Excitement started to build; the packers needed more ammunition so members of the club were hauled by their throats into quiet corners and gave what they could when the nature of their giving was explained. Pete had pulled to many stunts on to many people and it was payback. Finally and just in time the ok was given from the packing shed, the rig looked perfect no one, not even an expert, and Pete C was an expert, could see or feel anything wrong, the bomb started to tick.
The students walked out behind Pete who was in his element. Talking and preening to a group that contained pretty single women. His luck had to be in the way they stared at him like he was a god, if only he realised it was staring at him with eagerness at what was coming which was not what Pete had in mind.
The group went out to begin canopy handling. They learn what a parachute looks like, how it comes out when you leave the plane, how to control it. He glanced at the bigger than usual crowd that had collected on the veranda. He decided that as they were not jumping they obviously had nothing better to do.
Brian the CCI (chief club instructor) ambled over to a group of regulars who seemed to be behaving strangely. Strangely = how a group of regulars and instructors, came to be standing outside in not nice weather, watching a class of students doing canopy handling. As he opened his mouth to ask what was up he was shushed by an instructor and got a kick in the shins (the kick was from me) He tried to glare but another regular told him to shut the *&&^ up. Brian, as is usual for those in charge, was the last to know what was happening. He had been busy so missed the briefings held in the bar some time before. The drama unfolded:
Pete grabbed the rig that a minion handed him. He talked to the class about the rig, showed them all external parts and explained their uses. Next he attached the leg straps to the pegs to keep the rig still.
The observers stopped pretending they were talking and waited, holding their breath……
“As you fall away from the plane the static line will start to pull away from the pack.” He looked at his charges making sure they were following him. They seemed to be.
“Next the top of the para… WTF out came bras, panties, thongs, jockey shorts, petticoats stockings. He stopped dead and stared, his jaw hit the ground, he pulled more in disbelief and underwear and bits of clothing flowed out of the bag. The class and the entire DZ collapsed in a heap, tears rolling down the faces of many.
He just looked up and mouthed … “You Bastards” at his audience in front of the clubhouse but even he had a good chuckle, when he recovered.