Wasserspringen-Water jumping in Estland/at Estonia in July 2008
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Military Parachuting in Estonia 2008
Operation Estonia Eagle
In 2008 we had the opportunity to parachute in Estonia on two occasions.
Operation Estonia Eagle
On the first operational jump we were eight participants. Seven from Sweden and one from Germany. Four of the participants in the group had no experience in military parachuting and for two of them was it the first time parachuting.
We had a bit of bad luck during our first visit when the forest fires in the Narva area took hold. Military aircraft that was arranged for our group to use were then redirected to Narva to spray the fire’s out. However our Estonian organisers immediately rearranged for our group to parachute at another location and other aircraft was made available so that our course could continue.
The parachute course was conducted with Estonian Army Regulations and included several hours of theoretical and practical ground training. We all accomplished the course and successfully completed 5 parachute jumps from the An-2 aircraft.
On the second occasion we were invited to join our new friends at their summer camp on the island Kihnu in the Gulf of Riga. On this occasion Niclas Lindström and myself were the only two to have this opportunity to take part from EMPA. We travelled from the Stockholm ferry to Tallinn and then drove by car to Estonia’s “Summer capital” Pärnu. We stayed a night just to see the town. Pärnu is beautiful town famous for the spa’s and a popular summer vacation resort with many nice hotels, restaurants, and large beaches.
After a ferry trip from Pärnu we arrived on the island of Kihnu. With an area of 16,4 km² Kihnu is the largest island in the Gulf of Riga and the seventh largest island. About 600 people live on the island and there is a village named Rootsiküla (Swedish village). This is evidence that there is a close relationship between the Swedish and Estonian people.
UNESCO proclaimed Kihnu's cultural space and traditions as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Kihnu is home to a small group of traditional people. For many years, the men of Kihnu have frequently gone to sea while the women ran the island and became the guardians of the island's cultural heritage, which includes handicrafts, dances, games and music.
On the island we were met by a very well organised event. We realized that we did not need to bring too much of our own food and tents. Everything was planned and taken care of thanks to our Estonian hosts. Estonian Army tents were put up, food and drinks was available, all Parachute equipment in place and two AN-2 aircraft and pilots.
We each made 11 parachute jumps and we used two different parachutes, the Soviet Parachute D6 and the American system MC-1C “Charlie”. We made several jumps as low as 200m and the parachutes were opened manually after the necessary count.
We were able to do two water jumps in to the Gulf of Riga. We jump in the evening when the sea was calm. We jumped the water jumps at an attitude of 300m. We were then picked up in to rib boats before the next par jumped. It was a great experience
On both occasions we were very welcomed during the visits. In particular we felt very positive because one of most important parts was able to visit our neighbours and to strengthen our friendship and companionship in our airborne brotherhood.
We have learned a lot on our visits to Estonia and we look forward to going back and parachuting again in the future.
The committee of the European Military Parachutists Association thanks Magnus Gistrand for the execution the operation Estonia Dolphin.