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An observer from an observation balloon descending by parachute © IWM Q27522.

In terms of aerial safety, parachutes had been around since before the the war when they were used for stunts. During the war they were issued to observers who conducted rennaissance from observation balloons, as they were vulnerable to artillery fire.
In 1915 the parachute inventor, Evered Calthrop, offered the RFC his patented parachute. However the RFC and the air authorities did not supply them as it was felt pilots might be tempted to abandon their aircraft in an emergency, rather than continue with their mission.

An observer from an observation balloon descending by parachute © IWM Q27522.

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408 × 800
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Copyright:
© IWM (Q 27522)