Automatic parachute to control descent of both pilot and aircraft



Monsieur Gaston Hervieu

via Baptiste Bourdes

Close up photograph showing the "manikin" in the position adopted for the activation of the automatic parachute system. The harness arrangement suggests that the extraction of the pilot and his seat from the aircraft were envisaged.




The automatic parachute, the invention of monsieur Gaston Hervieu, for automatically checking the speed of a falling aeroplane in the event of an unexpected mishap. Experiments were conducted using this apparatus during late 1910 and early 1911 from the Eiffel Tower using a dummy aeroplane and a manikin. These tests proved successful. Weighing about 15lbs in total, the parachute, connected to a folding trapeze to the rear of the pilot's seat, is released and spread by a simple lever. The resultant fall was checked to about 9 feet per second. In April 1912 Hervieu then living at 33, rue Lamarck, Pans, Paris submitted a patent to improve the opening qualities of his parachutes. The housing for the parachute is very similar to that used two years later when Pegoud performed his "aerial descent" from a Bleriot monoplane.