Status: Real
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.

Military Sports

Posted on Mon Dec 26, 2005


I think it is horrible taste to put my brother's story on your website.
Posted by Tammy Joplin  on  Wed Dec 28, 2005  at  07:08 PM
"Senior military officials claim to be astounded to learn that this kind of activity has been going on behind their backs." Yeah, right. They were probably doing these types of stunts when they were young. Getting shot at, and missed, is a rush - I refer you to Churchhill's famous remark on the subject - and there are a lot of people who can't get enough of it once they experience it. The military just has more opertunities for both getting shot at and making some sort of ruch later.

And, Ms Joplin, I think it was horrible taste for your brother to endanger himself and needlessly waste the millions of dollars involved in his training and service. A Petty Officer should know better, and act as a better example for those under him.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Dec 31, 2005  at  07:58 PM
my husband served in the military for 13 yrs .this stunt was out of charcter for him to do. for you to some it all up so easy is not fair. my husband loved his country and loved being in the navy and his greatest acomplishment was getting his wings.i think your comments are way out of line.i want my daughters to remember him as the man he was.not bye your nasty comments.
Posted by belinda joplin  on  Mon Mar 20, 2006  at  05:32 PM
I think that it was extremely rude that you put my uncle on your website. My uncle was a great person. What he did was something that nobody expected him to do. You made him sound like something he wasn't and for you just to judge him like that is very wrong. My uncle shouldn't be judged like that from ANYONE and that includes you too.
Posted by Karina Leon  on  Tue Mar 21, 2006  at  07:52 PM
My uncle, loved being in the navy, and he loved his family. everything he worked for and did was for his family. and for people to just right on this website and post nasty comments about him and tell his family that should be ashamed of what he did, is wrong. What he did was not like him at all, people should remeber him for all the great things he did, and for the good man he was.
Posted by Jessica Leon  on  Tue Mar 21, 2006  at  09:44 PM
Wow. Don't get so angry, ladies.

Your brother/husband/uncle did a great service to his country by giving his life for knowledge. That is, he taught others how not to get killed by acting like an idiot. You should be proud that his death will probably save the lives of others stupid enough to otherwise follow in his footsteps.

I would nominate the man for a Darwin, but that would be ignoring the noble and patriotic purpose for which he laid down his life.

All the way down.
Posted by Some Guy  on  Thu Mar 23, 2006  at  12:53 PM
I worked with Brian Joplin everyday i did the same job he did and i know that he would have laughed at the idiotic ideas of someone who has no clue about what an aicrewman on an MH-53e actually does for a living and wouldn't spout opinions that are hurtful to a family in mourning so if you are looking for stupid things on this website i would skip the article and read SomeGuy's comment
Posted by aviation machinists mate second class  on  Tue Mar 28, 2006  at  12:34 AM
Wow, some people are incredibly over-sensitive. P.O. Joplin did a rather foolish and strange thing, and as a result he died. His actions also brought to the public attention a very foolish and strange "game" supposedly played by helicopter crews. And so, he has earned mention. There hasn't been anything said against his character, or about him not having been good at his job, or anything else. Just that he did something silly and died as a result.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Tue Mar 28, 2006  at  11:04 AM
I knew Brian when he first came into HM-15 in ALAMEDA, Ca. I saidends me to hear of such an accident. He was a stand-up guy.

We all have done things that we look back upon and wonder why we did that, unfortunately his family will not have the opportunity to ask him, my pryers go out to his family, and to his daughters, nieces & nephews, just let them know that he proudly served his country doing something he loved.

The couple of no name idiots who have the balls to criticize but wont tell us who they are, probably never served there country anyway. Do not let them get to you they are probably off hugging a tree somewhere.

And to the moron with the "millons of dollars on training comment" one comment for you "tounge my balls" you fairy, yea they do spend a lot of money on training. After I got out they paid me $60,000 for my undergad degree and another $70,000 going towards my masters, so dont you worry about were your tax dollars are going anyone reading this who know me, I PARTIED ON YOUR MONEY Thanks again.
Posted by Jeff Hancock  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  09:09 AM
I am not going to use this forum to argue with other people, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I will share my thoughts on this article and the man. Brian Joplin was a wonderful person who loved his family and loved his job. He made friends wherever he went, and was loved by all. He was an outstanding crewman and father and is missed very much. Now as far as those who say the superiors knew nothing about this practice, I dont believe that for a moment. Brian did not just dream this up, he had to have seen it and been taught it before. I definitely don't think it was a safe thing to do, I would have tried to talk him out of it had I known he was thinking of doing it. BUT I don't think it was anymore reckless than, oh let's say skydiving? base-jumping? all the other extreme sports? I do hope other people's lives are saved from this tragedy, but I pray that people know not to judge a man solely on this action. He was a great person.
Posted by A Friend  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  11:08 PM
I don't really have an opinion on Petty Officer Joplin, and I'm certainly not judging his charecter or devotion to duty.

I think it is fair however, to say that he died in a tragic way, and his death could have easily been prevented. I know that at times millitary life can be boring, however Mr. Joplin should have been more responcible. He wanted a cheap thrill thats why he died.

Although he was in the millitary, on active duty, I would not say that he died for his country, not at all. Instead of dying in the line of fire, or in an accident, he chose to preform stunts. We should defend Brian as a man, and as a soldier, but we cannot defend his actions.
Posted by A Canadian  on  Thu Mar 15, 2007  at  05:06 PM
what a sad outcome...also remember being a civilian and seeing the rangers and airborne classes start their initiation to Helicopter duties by hanging from harnesses below the huey skids at tree line.
fort rucker, AL
Posted by Jim S  on  Thu Sep 27, 2007  at  06:59 PM
Haha Jeff, fuck you. Good thing I make more money in a year than your education cost, or else I'd actually be pissed that an idiot like you is getting money from the government. And no, I'm not off hugging a tree, I'm off fucking your mom.

P.S. You want me to tongue your balls? And you call me a fairy? AHAHA. No thanks, asshole. Ask your mom, though. That bitch will do anything for a quarter, and I mean ANYTHING.
Posted by Ed Stevens in VIRGINIA  on  Mon Feb 25, 2008  at  06:52 PM
Thats great you keeping up on current events and all...couple years late, oh yea you probably did not pay attention to the whole story, did you dumby...yea dumby making money on what up there in Virginia...coal mining or corn holing, is there a difference for you hick?

And if you make anything more than 10 bucks an hour in that worthless state you live in it would be a miracle, oh wait they might tax you on that as well.
Posted by jeff  on  Mon Feb 25, 2008  at  08:10 PM
Jeff Hancock, as the guy who made the millions of dollars on training and service comment I will point out that I do have an idea of what I'm talking about. I served twenty years in the military and I do have an idea what military training costs. And as a retired NCO I have a right to make a comment about the wasted resources and experience when someone dies a needless death, so I did.

Why didn't I comment on your infantile comment before now? Simple, I never got the posting and so I didn't see your comment until I got your posting today.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Mon Feb 25, 2008  at  08:31 PM
hello i am brian's niece.. and i belive that my uncle did make a wrong decison, but dosent everyone make wrond decions?? and i also think it is really disrespectful towards brian's family the way sum of you people are writing the thing's that are on the page already. have some respect for brian and his family.. he was a real great man that loved his country.. so please dont disrespect brian's page by writing disrespectful things towards anyone.... thank you
Posted by stormi joplin  on  Sun Mar 09, 2008  at  08:51 AM
All of this saddens me greatly!

I was stationed with Brian in Alameda, we worked in the same shop everyday for 2 years. I was a crewman and he wanted to be one very badly. I was very happy to hear that he finally became one. This man was not an idiot and his memory does not deserve the tarnishing that is taking place here. People make mistakes...unfortunately his mistake cost him his life and for those of us who knew him we have to go through the rest of our lives missing him.

Brian, rest in peace Bro... tell Opie that I said hi. You are both missed!
Posted by Dave C.  on  Tue Oct 21, 2008  at  08:23 PM
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