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E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem

Brave Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) pilots put early parachute designs to the test. It’s hair-raising stuff!

1918 14 mins Silent


Watch in awe as brave Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) pilots test inventor Everard Richard Calthrop’s early parachute designs. The action takes place at an airfield in Roehampton in May 1918. After the initial test scenes look out for some hair-raising aerial footage of the parachutists’ perilous leaps. There’s an almost dreamlike quality to this section which was filmed from a nearby observation balloon.

Calthrop invented the 'Guardian Angel' parachute in response to the high number of deaths that the Royal Flying Corps sustained in plane crashes during WWI. Initially the British military decided against equipping pilots with parachutes on the basis that the option of a safe exit from the aircraft when confronted by the enemy might impair their fighting spirit.