phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The Whole Nine Yards

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 09, 2009 at 07:07

In Reply to: The Whole Nine Yards posted by RRC on August 09, 2009 at 04:38:

: : The Whole Nine Yards.

: : I remember using this term in 1967 in Air Force Surviver Training. Not sure what the standard Airborne parachute line length line was then, but we would cut it up and make rope (3 twisted lines) for use going off cliffs. So the term was to make sure you used the whole nine yards. Which my understanding then was that if you parachute jumped you hoped the whole nine yards open, then you would go down with "the whole nine yards'.

: : Since this was standard in the '60s find no reference to parachute lines on any of the uses of this term, why?

: It's not clear from your story whether you're talking about 9 yards of rope or 9 yards of fabric. A 27 foot rope (or was it a 9 foot rope?) wouldn't help you go off much of a cliff. Perhaps you tied everyone's ropes together?
: A standard military training chute (T-10) is 35 ft in diameter. Area = 1/4 * pi * diameter so the area is about 962 square feet or about 107 yards of fabric.

Also, in a parachute jump the thing that you hope will open is the canopy. The static line (the line attaching the chute to the aircraft, which rips off the ties of the chute pack as you jump, thus allowing the chute to open) doesn't "open" at all, in any conceivable sense. Furthermore, a modern military static line is only about 5 yards long. I don't suppose the length was much (if any) different in the 60s, and certainly a 9-yard static line would be utterly impracticable. (VSD)