From 2011 on the employment branch of EATC Functional Division has organized regular para meetings within EATC premises. After this EATC para-community was implemented, pieces of information - such as parachute acquisition, dropping techniques or towed parachute procedure - were continuously shared between the four EATC nations. One aim of these meetings was to facilitate the execution of cross-parachuting missions; these are missions where flying crew and paratroopers come from different nations.
Requests for cross-parachuting missions are meanwhile facilitated by the EATC thanks to these new relationships. In November 2011 e.g. a French C130 in Morocco performed very high altitude drops with oxygen supplies for Belgian paratroopers with coordination of the EATC, which was fully involved during the preparation phase. “We improve the air transport request process for paratroopers and enhance the necessary coordination between the stakeholders before such a “cross-para mission”, explains French Lieutenant Colonel Richard Sadowski, responsible on EATC employment regulations. “And now we propose to the nations the first harmonized documents: A common call and action check-list for static line drop and a common view on risk and responsibility management during a cross para mission.”
“As the technical part can be the main obstacle for a cross-para mission, EATC is doing everything possible to organize an “interoperability week” in France by the end of this year”, states Lieutenant Colonel Gerd Finck, Belgian Head of Employment Branch and ads: “It will be a great step for EATC nations to gather in the same place a maximum of tactical assets with decision-making authorities for parachute certification.”
Whatever the nation is, aircrews have always had affinities with paratroopers. As a team, it’s now EATC responsibility to remain in close contact with this community and to accompany them towards a better comprehensive cooperation. For the Future: EATC has to be considered as a main actor in helping nations to be more interoperable for personnel drops. Therefore improvement of interoperability shall be the first step to achieve harmonization in this objective.
EATC will also have the chance to bring this message of harmonization to a broader audience when they will address the participants to the “Challenge inter-écoles parachutists” (C.I.E.P. 2012) in September of this year.