Skydiving From the Air to the Atlantic – An AmericaSpace Exclusive


COCOA BEACH, Fl – Covering air shows involves lots of patriotism, lots of sights and sound and lots of Americana. The Cocoa Beach Air Show (CBAS) has worked to bring these sights and sounds much closer to the public by including media fly-a-longs. AmericaSpace’s Senior Photographer Alan Walters had the opportunity to fly in the back of a C-130 during the 2011 CBAS which was held Nov. 5-6. 

He wanted to make sure that our readers were provided with a unique perspective on the CBAS. He also decided to take it to the next level by attaching a GoPro camera to not only himself but to see if one of the jumpers would wear one as well. The video provides for a first-hand account of what jumping out the back of a HC-130P/N – is really like. 

PJs attached to the 920th Rescue Wing prepare to skydive out the back of a HC-130 N/P. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

The day started off with a trip to Patrick Air Force Base where U.S. Air Force’s 45th Air Wing is stationed. Reporting in, members of the media were provided with a tour of the facilities as well as a general safety briefing. 

He joined the pararescuemen, known as “PJs” as well as other personnel of the 920th and headed out to the tarmac. Walters had a plan – now to see if he could make it happen. 

Right: CMSGT Donnie Rouse preps the crew for the jump. Right: AmericaSpace's Senior Photographer Alan Walters prepares for the day's activities. Photo Credit: Alan Walters

Alan was provided with a helmet and harness as he would be near the ramp of the C-130. He had spoken with U.S. Air Force Captain Jim Sluder about wearing one of AmericaSpace’s GoPro video cameras on his chest. Sluder had no issues with it. This allowed Alan to get video of the PJs jumping out the back of the aircraft as well as video of the actual jump itself. 

“I was clicking away like mad, trying to get good angles that really highlighted what I was seeing,” said Walters. “I have to admit I wasn’t used to wearing the GoPro, but I still managed to get some great video.” 

Alan Walters made sure to shoot both stills and video as the PJs dived out the back of the HC-130 N/P. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

Owning to the moment, Sluder spun around upon exiting the aircraft and posed for Alan, providing for an amazing photo. Sluder can be heard singing and shouting out to his team members all the way to the ocean’s surface. 

For his part Alan worked to get both video and stills of the PJs as they exited the aircraft. He also made sure to take copious amounts of images of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter which was hovering nearby. He returned to his home in Titusville, Florida unsure as to what he actually got. Both still images and video show in amazing clarity the stunning skydive and splashdown. 

A view outside of the the plane that Alan was riding in provided a spectacular view of the Florida Coastline. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

“It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the image that I realized he had stuck his tongue out at me!” Walters said. 

AmericaSpace is planning to utilize its resources in a similar unique fashion during the upcoming launch of an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41). It is also coordinating to send its cameras to the very edge of space – but more on that later…

Captain Jim Sluder of the 920th Rescue Wing jumps oout of the back of an HC-130 P/N on Nov. 6 during the 2011 Cocoa Beach Air Show. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

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