One hundred years ago this month – on October 20, 1922 – Lt. Harold R. Harris, a test pilot at McCook Field in Dayton, became the first person to successfully use a ripcord parachute to save himself during a real aviation emergency, when his Loening monoplane malfunctioned and crash landed in the Old North Dayton area, not far from McCook Field.
When Harris realized what was happening and that there was no saving the plane, he pulled the ripcord to save himself, bailing out and landing in a grape arbor in the backyard of a home at 335 Troy Street, while his plane crash landed a block or so away at 409 Valley Street.
Many years later, on November 18, 1981, Brig. Gen. Harold Harris returned to Dayton to present a framed photograph of the parachute, in the backyard at 335 Troy Street, to the home’s current owners.
Learn more about the life and career of Harold R. Harris in MS-214: Harold R. Harris Papers, and more about “the first bail-out” in the photos and newspaper articles below.