To unstable, lap parachutes were developed before WWII for photographers and other flight crew who didn't have room to sit on one or wear one on their back and the either the larger chest packs were in the way. They were essentially a seat pack flip forward over the shoulders with long risers to allow the pack to rest on the lap.
I have several references to them and even have what could be considered packing instructions with photos in a book.
I had thought that they were NOT made into WWII but I have since found references to them in WWII era publications.
SOOOOOOO, to me that raises the possiblility that there are some in museums somewhere that preserve WWII materials. I haven't started that search yet but would like to.
So, IF I found I rig in a museum, AND I have instructions (either the ones I have or some from some archives I've learned about in Kansas City) all I'd need is a way to get 20 supervised pack jobs and a practical.
Since the FAA offers the rating in their regs my aurguement is that they MUST supply a means to get it. Even though no living rigger has the rating that we know of and no DPRE has the rating and is authorized to give the test there should be SOME remedy to this lack of personel resources.
SO IF I can find a lap that I could borrow I plan on pressing the issue.
The other avenue is that the laps REALLY were just like a seat flipped forward over the head and the pack reversed on the risers. ANY manufacturer currently making a seat could make a lap. I'm not sure it would even need separate TSO testing! If you can go from an old wonder hog to a vector III or an old Mirage with a two pin reserve to a new G4 you ought to be able to flip a seat over and turn the container around!
Anyway, this my windmill to chase. But I once I found out that laps were made during WWII it raised my hope that there are actually some around out there.
I have a lap parachute Manufactured 2011. I have a lap rating issued March 2011, tested by FAA inspector. I hope my FAA inspector will add lap rating to my DPRE authorization in March. I have another rigger almost ready for lap test. I can supervise lap pack jobs for added rating now.
Just spoke with the airworthiness manager at my FISDO this afternoon. Found out my managing inspector retired. But, shortly after the two year anniversary of my getting my lap rating, March 2, 2013, I should have authority to test for the lap rating.
Lap parachutes are relevant for Light Sport Aircraft and amateur-builts that have side-mounted joy-sticks (Rutan Long-Eze) or one control stick on the center-line (between two pilots) (Heintz Zodiac).
Because of the weight and bulk, few pilots will wear lap-type parachutes longer than Phase One flight testing. Phase One testing lasts 25 hours with certified engines (Lycoming), but can last 50 hours with non-certified engines (auto-conversions).
The challenge is to convince pilots to wear any type of parachute during Phase One.
Ya gotta keep in mind, lots of those kits/designs aren't something that you could reasonably expect to bail out of, especially if a wing just fell off.