Jumping From Working Pave Hawk Is the Usual Day at the Office for Some People

Pararescueman jumping out of a HH-60G Pave Hawk 12 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Joseph Leveille
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There are some activities humans have invented over the years most of us would never think of doing for a living, or for no other reason, for that matter. Coincidently, most of these dangerous activities involve rescuing fellow human beings from dangerous situations.
One such activity is jumping out of perfectly functional aircraft and right into harm’s way, with the stated goal of saving lives. And some of the daredevils who do this for a living are called PJs.

That’s (kind of) short for pararescuemen, a highly trained breed of humans tasked with aiding in the recovery of personnel during disasters, combat, and even after coming back from space. Set up immediately after the Second World War, pararescuemen are generally deployed by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC).

We see one of the brave men who made saving others his life’s mission in this pic here, released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) a couple of weeks ago. The soldier is assigned to the 31st Rescue Squadron, and is seen here jumping from an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron.

The jump was not part of an actual rescue mission, but took place during exercise Cope North 22, held back in mid-February at the Island of Tinian, near Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The exercise involved Japanese, Australian, and U.S. Air Force personnel, and focused on “combat air forces’ large-force employment and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.”

For such missions, the aging Pave Hawk still is one of the best machines around. Introduced about four decades ago, the helicopter will soon be retired, to be replaced with the Jolly Green II, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still up to the task, as clearly shown here.

The Pave Hawk’s primary mission remains to “conduct day or night personnel recovery operations into hostile environments.” To do that, it relies on automatic flight controls, night vision goggles, infrared systems, and blade anti-ice systems.

The Pave Hawk is powered by a pair of General Electric engines that give it a speed of 184 mph (296 kph). It can extract people located 580 miles (933 km) from the take-off point.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other Pave Hawks.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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