This film is part of Free

Parachute Descent from an Airship

Parachute experiments shot from a bird’s-eye-view.

1918 1 mins Silent


Follow the parachute pioneers as they leap into the cold air towards the snow speckled fields below. This footage, which appears to be filmed from a nearby blimp, shows secret military tests. Despite E.R. Calthrop’s ‘Guardian Angel’ parachute proving its worth, the Royal Flying Corps rejected its use.

Everard Richard 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. The Royal Flying Corps were later renamed the RAF. More footage of these tests can be seen in ‘E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem’, also free to view on the BFI Player.