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Early Russian freefallers?

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That photo was taken during the late 1930s and shows early Soviet paratroopers jumping from a Tupolev TB-3 bomber.

TB-3 was the first, all metal, cantilever, 4-engine bomber built in the Soviet Union (1930s).

Soviets formed the first paratrooper units in 1930. They wore conventional, back-type,  pilot emergency parachutes (Irvin pattern with vertical harness). Their parachute canopies were non-steerable rounds or squares. Early Soviet square parachutes were axi-symmetric, similar to modern US Army AT-11 static-line parachutes.

Paratroopers climbed out of a roof hatch, then clung to wings until an officer waved a flag ordering them to jump. Once clear of the airplane, they pulled their ripcords.

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Thanks for that Rob. Very interesting.

58 minutes ago, riggerrob said:

That photo

I actually took a screen grab from a sequence of film. There was a camera man up there with them, and the sequence shows the paratroopers sliding down the wing very close to the camera.

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