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Early Free-Fall Parachute

The first successful Army test jump with a free-fall parachute was made by Mr. Leslie Irvin at McCook Field on April 28, 1919, using a chute designed by Floyd Smith and Guy Ball, both civilian employees at McCook.

The parachute on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, one of the oldest specimens in the museum's collection, was designed and patented by Smith in 1920 and made by a company he founded, the Floyd Smith Aerial Equipment Co. It was basically the same design as his first parachute, including the circular ripcord ring positioned over the right breast (as opposed to the later-adopted standard of having it over the right breast).

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Find Out More
Related Fact Sheets
Research & Development at McCook Field
Other Resources
Aviation Trail Parachute Museum