A wry view of life for the world-weary

There Ain’t ‘Alf Some Clever Bastards – Part Two

Franz Reichelt

There are but some are too clever for their own good. Step forward (so to speak) Franz Reichelt.

Austrian-born Frenchman, Reichelt, was a tailor by profession but spent most of his free time trying to develop a flying parachute suit. It was intended to be worn by aviators to assist their evacuation from a damaged aircraft. Powered aircraft were a relatively new phenomenon and whilst a lot of thought had been invested in designing how the plane would get off the ground and return to terra firma little thought had been given to ensuring the pilot’s safety.

Reichelt tested his parachute suit using dummies and was sufficiently encouraged by the results to decide to test the suit himself. In February 1912 to considerable media attention including a film crew from Pathe News ( Reichelt decided to jump off the lower level of the Eiffel Tower in Paris wearing the suit. You would have thought even he might have had second thoughts when he was balancing precariously on a chair on top of a table on a ledge of the famous Parisian landmark.

Unfortunately and probably unsurprisingly, the suit did not work and the 187 foot fall on to the frozen ground below killed him instantaneously.


If you enjoyed this, why not try Fifty Clever Bastards by Martin Fone which is now available on Amazon in Kindle format and paperback. For details follow the link


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