This film is part of Free

Tests from Aeroplanes

Developing the lifebelt of the air - or "how the stranglehold demon was exorcised"

Non-Fiction 1916 13 mins Silent


The parachute is the lifebelt of the air, but if there is no room to wear one in the cockpit, how can it be safely deployed in seconds from the plane? The solution was to carefully pack one into a launching disc attached to the undercarriage, but as this film shows, the process was one of trial and error. This series of filmed experiments used the relatively young technology of the film camera to observe and diagnose this "stranglehold" problem - an early example of film being deployed for scientific purposes.

Filmed at the Chingford Royal Naval Air Station in June 1916, two pilots are shown putting themselves at risk for the safety of others in the future. It is somewhat ironic that testing a parachute system puts you in greater need of just such a safety net yourself.