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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 21 12:22 AM

July 21, 2010: Caterpillar Club

Naw, no bugs.
The Caterpiller Club is only open to people who have had their lives saved by a parachute, after they were forced to jump from a disabled plane.



The pins, membership cards and certificates, are awarded by the companies that make the chutes, primarily Irvin and Switlik.

Switlik says;

Quote:
The Caterpillar Club was originated at Dayton, Ohio between October 20, 1922 and November 11, 1922 by Messrs Hutton, Verne Timmerman, J. Mumma and Milton H. St. Clair. This world-wide club is for aviators, military and commercial, who have saved their lives with a parachute in an emergency.

It all started with a young army test pilot named Harold Harris. On October 20, 1922 he was flying a Loening W-2A monoplane fighter in a mock dogfight with a friend. His plane had been equipped the day before with experimental aerodynamically balanced airlerons. After taking off from the test center at McCook field, Dayton near where the Wright brothers tested their plane, his plane suddenly rocked violently and Harris found he could not control it. He had to bail out.

Two reporters from the Dayton Herald, discussing the event, suggested that since there would be more jumps with the chute, a club should be formed to embrace these intrepid airmen. They considered several names for the organization and selected the Caterpillar Club. The reasoning was simple - the parachute main sail and shroud lines were woven from the finest silk. The lowly caterpillar worm spins a cocoon and crawls out and flies away from certain death.
Irvin says;
Quote:
The Irvin Air Chute Co. started the Caterpillar Club in 1922 and the practice of awarding the tiny gold Caterpillar Pin to anyone who saved his life by parachuting from a disabled or flaming aircraft. Each recipient of the Caterpillar Pin is living testimony to the life saving ability of the Irvin Type Air Chute. The Caterpillar is symbolic of the silk worm, which lets itself descend gently to earth from heights by spinning a silky thread to hang from. Parachutes in the early days were made from pure silk.

In 1919 Leslie Irvin, a 24-year-old stunt man from California, demonstrated the first "free drop" parachute. He had made the chute himself on a borrowed sewing machine. Flying safety experts were so impressed that the American Air Force and British R.A.F. promptly adopted the parachute as standard equipment. Later the same year, Irvin established his first factory for the mass production of parachutes in Buffalo, New York. In 1926 the first European factory was established in Letchworth, England.
The club is gathering about 10 members a year, in the 21st century.
Skydivers and sport parachutists are not eligible because, as my Dad (82nd Airborne) would say, the damn fools jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

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newtimer  Wednesday Jul 21 09:08 AM

So what? Just some pieces of paper. I "hang out" in front of junior-high schools every afternoon, waiting for the little bus to pick me up, and I see paper all the time. Everywhere I go, from the office of my court-ordered psychiatrist to the floor of my cage in Grannie's basement, I see paper in some form.
You 'people' should go 'out' into the real 'world'.



Shawnee123  Wednesday Jul 21 09:10 AM



You wily newtimer!



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 21 10:10 AM

newtimer, I guess your Grannie, and the courts, are your parachute.



btw, well played.



lupin..the..3rd  Wednesday Jul 21 10:21 AM

Seems wrong to print the certificate on paper. Should be printed on silk.



monster  Wednesday Jul 21 03:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lupin..the..3rd View Post
Seems wrong to print the certificate on paper. Should be printed on silk.
in caterpillar blood....


Slight  Wednesday Jul 21 04:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Naw, no bugs.
... as my Dad (82nd Airborne) would say, the damn fools jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.
Except how do know your "perfectly good" airplane won't make a perfectly good crash landing? I say get out now and don't wait to discover the 999 other failure modes people will die to find. I'd rather be foolish, than dead in a plane (its the MAX POWER way ).


Tick  Wednesday Jul 21 08:20 PM

I used to jump a lot. Civilian club jump planes are not "perfectly good airplanes". They are stripped down to the bare minimum weight then they are loaded with bodies to the point where they have to use ground effect to take off. They climb hard, land, and do it again all day. I was always nervous during the climb, and didn't relax until I was out of the damned things.

Tick



Undertoad  Wednesday Jul 21 08:27 PM

So it becomes a perfectly good airplane once you and your friends have jumped out of it.



Tick  Wednesday Jul 21 09:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
So it becomes a perfectly good airplane once you and your friends have jumped out of it.
Actually, it becomes a pretty good airplane at about 3000 feet. Above that if something goes very wrong, the jumpers can all hop and pop. That leaves the pilot to fend for himself.

"Perfectly good" only happens in the past tense, when everyone is back on the ground safe. I'm not putting down skydiving. It's a heck of a kick.

Tick


Shawnee123  Thursday Jul 22 09:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tick View Post
Actually, it becomes a pretty good airplane at about 3000 feet. Above that if something goes very wrong, the jumpers can all hop and pop. That leaves the pilot to fend for himself.

"Perfectly good" only happens in the past tense, when everyone is back on the ground safe. I'm not putting down skydiving. It's a heck of a kick.

Tick
I liked it! It's about time to try it again, methinks.


tombstone  Thursday Jul 22 07:10 PM

I shall now boast. Not only is my last name "Irvin", I was born on Oct. 13, 1943, the day after that second Caterpillar Club card was issued. A few years ago, talking with a WWII vet who had jumped out of a disabled plane, I asked him if he was a member of that club. He called happily to another vet, "Hey, George! She knows what the Caterpillar Club is!" Thanks for making more people aware of it.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 22 08:39 PM

Cool, tombstone, are you related to Leslie or just a coincidence?


Hey, wait a minute... if you knew about this shit, why didn't YOU tell us about it, you knowledge hoarder you.



tombstone  Friday Jul 23 02:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Cool, tombstone, are you related to Leslie or just a coincidence?


Hey, wait a minute... if you knew about this shit, why didn't YOU tell us about it, you knowledge hoarder you.
Bruce, Um--as far as I know, no relation. I know LOTS of things, and you don't want to get a garralous old granny started!


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jul 23 08:40 PM

Oh but I do... I do.



ZenGum  Friday Jul 23 09:35 PM

oooh, is this a new cellar romance starting to bud? Bruce you mischievous devil you.



casimendocina  Saturday Jul 24 12:09 AM

Family legend has it that a second cousin was a member of the caterpillar club - he walked away from a crash in Narabeen, Sydney in 1953, but, sadly, wasn't so lucky the next year in Wales .



casimendocina  Saturday Jul 24 12:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
oooh, is this a new cellar romance starting to bud? Bruce you mischievous devil you.
Bruce, how is Tulip, or was it Chocolatl going to feel???????


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 24 12:50 AM

I welcome, with open threads, all members to share their stories. Especially the ones that appear to be reticent, maybe shy... hesitant to expose themselves to you smart-alecky whippersnappers.



casimendocina  Saturday Jul 24 07:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I welcome,...hesitant to expose themselves to you smart-alecky whippersnappers.
That blog entry from hyperbole and a half that I posted a month or so ago has been the beginning of a slippery slope, me thinks. Gosh, next I'll be confident enough to express an opinion about actual issues...(stop me before it's too late).


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 24 11:51 PM

Well, Ms 441 posts, you done slid.



casimendocina  Saturday Jul 24 11:53 PM

443 now!



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