Hoffman-Russell Parachute Co. Corporate Records

Hoffman-Russell Parachute Co. Corporate Records

Hoffman-Russell Parachute Co. Corporate Records

The Hoffman-Russell Parachute Company was founded by J.M. Russell and Major Edward L. Hoffman, both of whom helped design first parachute at McCook Flying Field in Dayton, Ohio, which was adopted by the Army Air Corps.

J.M. Russell had little to no aviation experience before becoming a major contributor to the evolution of parachutes. He helped design the first parachute at McCook Flying Field in Dayton, Ohio with Major Edward L. Hoffman, and this parachute was adopted by the Army Air Corps. Following this, Russell came to San Diego and designed the “Lobe” parachute, which reduced the force the handler experienced when the parachute was deployed by 1/3rd of other parachutes, as well as eliminating oscillation that plagued previous parachutes on their descent. Russell also patented the parachute pack. These two innovations led to the development of the Russell Parachute Company, located in San Diego. The company aimed to sell its parachutes to the military, but it also advertised towards commercial aviation. The company insisted that all aircraft passengers should be provided with a parachute in the case of an emergency.

Russell and Hoffman also experimented with other parachute designs, including a parachute for an entire aircraft. Should a malfunction occur, a parachute could be deployed to slow down the aircraft’s speed and hopefully give the pilot enough control to land the plane. Although his ideas were never implemented, his insight has been modified and used by other companies today.

Russell died of a heart attack in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 13, 1941 at the age of 43.


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