The Cutaway Jump                                             
The Cutaway Jump Perhaps the most dramatic and awe inspiring              manoeuvre performed by The Red Devils is The 'Cutaway'.
The jumper exits the aircraft and free falls to approximately 4000 feet attaining speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. He then opens his first parachute. After orientation and any change of position he wishes to make he causes his canopy to collapse and then jettisons it completely. 
This is The 'Cutaway'.  The parachutist then goes back into free fall until he opens his main parachute at 2000 feet.  He then steers in for the display arena and lands safely.  The canopy which has been cutaway meanwhile floats down to land some distance away.
This is a highly skilled and precise manoeuvre which is occasionally cancelled from the scheduled programme owing to very low cloud or high winds.  It is worth noting that in the unlikely event of a main canopy malfunction or failure, this is precisley the procedure a skydiver must carry out before deploying his reserve canopy. Needless to say this is only done under the most desparate circumstances.

Safety Note:
The speed of descent of the 'CUTAWAY' parachute is very deceptive, and there are two heavy metal buckles attached to it.  Warnings to members of the public to give it 'plenty of room'.


 Pte Peter Gowens exiting with the Cutaway rig at a display in Preston, Fulwood Barracks on 20/05/1966.
photographs by Ernie Rowberry.



The photo (left) seems to be of a live cutaway, as you can see the jettisoned main canopy is still in it's bag.  You may notice that the parachutist's reserve canopy has twisted lines.


Here you can see the same parachutist with his reserve canopy coming in for a safe landing.



Below is a live cutaway, this was after a canopy collision at an airshow in Germany in 1987, Zip Hunt gets his reserve out at around 400ft 


Watch a member of The Golden Knights perform the cutaway jump below.