During World War II with forming of the first British Airborne units parachute training was a 12-day course carried out at the No.1 Parachute Training School, RAF Ringway. Recruits initially jumped from a converted barrage balloon and finished with five parachute jumps from an aircraft. Anyone failing to complete a parachute jump was returned to his old unit (known as “returned to unit” or “RTU”). At the end of the course, new Paras were presented with their maroon beret and parachute wings and posted to a parachute battalion.
Currently British military personnel must complete the Basic Parachute Course, which is held by No 1 Parachute Training School at RAF Brize Norton, a 9-jump course attended by personnel from all branches of the UK Armed Forces. Troops make each descent from a C-130 or Skyvan aircraft using the Low Level Parachute at heights of 800 ft and 1000 ft. On successful completion of their nine descents, trainees are presented with their ‘wings’ by the Officer Commanding No. 1 Parachute Training School, and return to their units as qualified parachutists.