In 1958, when Parachutes Incorporated opened its first sport-parachuting school, earthbound skeptics predicted that the apparently suicidal sport of sky diving would never get off the ground. Now, 10 years and 118,000 jumps later, it has blossomed overhead like one of the nylon chutes that make it possible. Parachutes Incorporated has blossomed with it, and now, in addition to running two schools of sport jumping, has created an equipment division designed to supply a parachutist's every need.
In a handsome and readable 100-page catalog each of PI's more than 600 items is described and illustrated. The booklet includes a glossary of parachuting terms, and throughout its pages there are words of advice or caution directed at the newcomer and the veteran jumper as well. In a note to the intermediate parachutist interested in buying a back-mounted reserve as opposed to the chest mount used by students, one is informed that at the 1967 national championships half the nation's top parachutists used back mounts and the other half the conventional chest mount. The prospective buyer is urged not to purchase until he is experienced.
Parachutes Incorporated is the exclusive worldwide distributor for the Para-Commander, which costs $412.60 and is available in 12 color combinations. The complete Para-Twin system, the main and reserve canopies together with their sleeves and pilot chutes, costs $769.
However, there are many less expensive models available in both main and reserve canopies and their harnesses. In one of its cheerful guidelines, PI recommends "low porosity fabric for parachutists who either weigh more than 185 pounds or are more than 35 years old." By carefully reading the descriptions one will know exactly which canopy modification to select, the Telsan Tern or the Double L for $20 extra, or the Hustler or the TU-7 for $30 more, depending on whether one wants high performance and slower descent, a quick backup and turn, or only a reasonable amount of forward speed and turning ability.
In addition to harnesses, canopies, clothing; instruments, etc., Pi's catalog lists items needed by sky-diving clubs and professional centers. There are suggestions on types of communications systems and some advice on aircraft financing. Although "credit references help," says PI, "character is what counts!"
For just the pure enjoyment of leafing through this genuinely beautiful, informative and fascinating catalog, send $1 to Parachutes Incorporated, Orange, Mass. 01364.