History of the Parachutes


In 1991, the Springfield, Ohio newspaper did a wonderful article on Red, including a color picture of him holding the model Jalbert parafoil.

Click here to see the article


Bill videotaped Red talking about some of the parachutes in the mid 1990s. The Jalbert parafoil is the first one he talked about. Many thanks to Chuck Land of Landman Productions for editing the videos and Marcos Sastre of the Blue Birds Big Band for cleaning up the audio.

177.30 - Jalbert Parafoil


As Red describes parachute 177.21, he says, "Just like the parafoil, the first one.":

177.21 - First Ringslot parachute 


These parachutes have three "ears" that extend up and are connected by cords at the top. They thought they could catch rocket stages from satellite launches with these, but as Red explains, it didn't work.

177.13/.15 - Satellite re-entry 3 "ears"


This is the parachute that skydivers used prior to the parafoil. It's not as maneuverable and more expensive than a parafoil.

177.25 Skydiving pre-parafoil


There are quite a few drouge or ribbon chutes in the collection. Red talks about them as a group and the history of their Nazi design:

177.x - Early drouge/ribbon chutes


This 64' chute is from the pre-manned Mercury space capsule era.

177.27 - Mercury pre-manned 64'


Red says this one "isn't anything special", but it is a model of the early 1920s 24' emergency chute that would be worn in front as a backup chute.

177.17 - Model of 1920s 24' emergency chute


Red says this is the standard Air Force personnel chute.

177.23 - Air Force personnel


Red made the first full-size parafoil after spending months refining the model in the wind tunnel. The first test flight was in 1971.

Click here for photos of the first flight of a parafoil


Two photos of Red making and displaying the first-ever Nazi drouge chute made in the USA, circa 1946.

Click here to see them


Red worked in the Parachute Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Click here for a picture of the Parachute Team


Red won a $740 award in August 1962 for his redesign of the parachute deployment bag for canopy parachutes, which the Air Force adopted as standard.

Click here to see his award notice & an article from the Springfield, Ohio newspaper about it.


In October 1962, Red received a Sustained Superior Performance Award from the Air Force.

Click here for the cover letter.


In the recommendation, it says Red, "made a very significant contribution by advising on parachute fabricating methods and techniques" and "contributed important innovations in the final design of the presently widely used guide surface canopy".

Click here for page 1 of 2.


It goes on to say that Red, "spent many extra hours on the parachute system which Capt. (Joe) Kittinger has used in his high altitude jumps" and "has become an authority on parachute fabrication".

Click here for page 2 of 2.