Nov 2, 2006, 1:53 PM
Post #1 of 2
Hip rings in WWII
After seeing the interesting thread "instersting finds..." [sic] that dealt with some WWII Japanese parachute systems, I though I'd post about one I saw on TV.
I was intrigued because it seemed to show hip rings well before Sandy Reid's patented Flexon design.
(US patent #5277348. Rigging Innovation's site, last time I checked, incorrectly listed 5277378.)
The patent makes claims to both harness articulation with metal rings at the hip, and leg straps that terminate at those rings. The patent does acknowledge previous designs where a diagonal strap goes through a ring and continues on to the chest -- which is like this Japanese harness. I get the impression that the patent ideas are sufficiently unique because a regular skydiving harness, with rings added, would be more comfortable and flexible than the older idea of continuous webbing going around the leg and up to the chest (rings or no rings).
Attached is a low quality photo taken from TV, and a drawing off the web. The harnesses were worn by Imperial Japanese Navy pilots in WWII. The photo shows a harness only, while the graphic suggests that a seat pack parachute can be clipped on. The Allies tended to have clip-on chest packs for aircrew, but seat packs were normally built-in. The British used chest mounted release boxes in WWII, but I recall that the webbing went through loops of webbing (not rings) at the hips.
The second illustration/drawing shows a harness configuration that was built in the west for many years. As late as 1986 I jumped that configuration at the West Gemrna Army Luftelende Lufttransport Schule ... attached to a T-10. I believe that configuration is still used by the US Army, Canadian Army, etc. The primary advantage is that it allows you to quickly and easily pass the bulky, metal end fittings - for the Quick Release Box - through the hip joint.
As for a clip-on seat pack ... I doubt it. The Americans only built a handful of clip-on seat packs. The problem is the long risers up the back which are difficult to prevent from snagging on the cockpit rim without a bunch of complicated hand tackings (with light weight break cord). US Military surplus seat packs required so many specialized hand tacks that the FAA instituted a separate rating to riggers who wanted to pack seat packs. The problem of long risers snagging on cockpit rims was not really solved until the introduction of Velcro in the 1960s. That is why Butler's seat packs resemble military surplus, minus the hand-tackings and pack opening bands.
(This post was edited by riggerrob on Nov 3, 2006, 10:57 AM)