Caterpillar Club

One evening in 1922

Two airmen, Lieutenant Harold R. Harris and Lieutenant Frank B. Tyndal met Leslie Irvin at McCook Field (near the site of Wright-Patterson AFB) to have drinks and share stories about lives saved by parachutes.

This conversation was the creation of the Caterpillar Club, an exclusive club for those who had their lives saved by a parachute, after one of the airmen said:

“We ought to start a club for guys like us. As time goes by more and more fliers all over the world will owe their lives to your chutes, it should be quite a thing in years to come.”

by 1939, 4,000 members of the Caterpillar Club

countries have seen fliers, from China to Peru

by 2014, 100,000 personNEL have HAD THEIR LIVES BY OUR PARACHUTES

Members include:

  • Charles Lindbergh
  • General Doolittle
  • “Cobber” Kain
  • Sir Douglas Bader
  • “Bluey” Truscott
  • “Pathfinder” Don Bennet
  • Germany’s Ernst Udet
  • Britain’s Lord Douglas Hamilton
  • Corporal F.H. Poser
  • and a score of test pilots including: Alec Henshaw, Geoffery de Havilland and John Cunningham
How to join

The only requirement to join is to have saved one’s life by an Irvin (IrvinGQ®) parachute from a stricken aircraft and either civilian or military personnel may apply. Persons that intentionally jump from an aircraft, for example, skydivers or test parachutists, are not accepted.

Potential members are required to apply to the company with evidence of their descent and these are checked and independently corroborated.

We will use newspaper, accident reports, and on occasion, the kind facilities of the RAF Hendon Museum archives, to check the veracity of any claim. There is no initial cost to become a Caterpillar Club member.

The caterpillar pin

In return of a successful application, the member will receive an engraved golden caterpillar ‘pin badge’ with the recipient’s name that may be worn on one’s collar, together with a membership card, and certificate with an individual membership number.

These items can be replaced, albeit at cost and are only provided to the original applicant or direct family members. Unfortunately they are not for purchase by friends, colleagues or collectors.

latest club member

The latest members of the Club include our youngest member a teenage son and his father who escaped from a glider in Scotland which was involved in a mid-air collision.

We had the pleasure of inviting this family down to our factory so that they could be involved in our recent visit by HRH Prince Charles, a photograph of the father and son being presented with a certificate by HRH was featured in the Daily Mail albeit they have the caption wrong.

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