Add this to the list of strange extreme sports. Crewmen on military helicopters have apparently been engaging in an activity known as Supermanning. This involves "hanging from an open cargo door and letting the rushing wind 'fly' [your] body, attached only by a safety belt."
This practice came to light when Petty Officer Brian Joplin recently died as a result of it
. (He fell 125 feet from the helicopter into the Persian Gulf after the safety belt slipped over his shoulders.) I imagine this would make Joplin a strong candidate for a Darwin award. The Virginian-Pilot
(may require registration to view the article) provides a brief reconstruction of what happened:
“The co-pilot in the left seat noticed in his … mirror, a pair of boots dangling below the back of the aircraft,”... The co-pilot asked the other crew members by radio if everything was OK and was told it was, according to the report. But then crew members saw Joplin’s belt start to slip and still could not get him inside the helicopter. They told the pilot to slow down immediately and lower altitude. “The co-pilot aggressively decelerated and descended,” the report said. But it was too late. Almost immediately, one of the crew members said, Joplin had fallen.
Another stunt crewmen do to pass the time is called the "slide for life." This involves swinging out on a safety line and slingshotting back into the aircraft. Senior military officers claim to be astounded to learn that this kind of activity has been going on behind their backs. However, while supermanning might be real, fire diving
remains a hoax.
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