You can take this little skydiver in the back yard at night and throw him as high as you possibly can. Watch the skydiver descend from above, glowing in the dark for all to see, as he completes his mission.
In WWI countless balloonists and scores of pilots rescued themselves in perilous situations. Parachutes were initially forbidden as flying equipment. However, by one account, in the fall of 1916 an Austrian pilot on the Russian front made a parachute jump from a burning plane, the first practical application of the parachute to military requirements.
The Germans were the first aerial combatants to realize it was an enormous waste of personnel to place a soldier in an extraordinarily risky situation without a life-saving alternative and took hasty measures to save much-needed pilots and balloon observers. Later, much later, the Allies reluctantly reached the same decision that destroyed airplanes could easily be replaced but replacement pilots were difficult to recruit, their training was time-consuming, and financial costs were greater.
Honoring the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I, the New-York Historical Society exhibition World War I Beyond the Trenches explores how artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose the divisive conflict.