Tiny Jumper: How Tiny Broadwick Created the Parachute Rip Cord

Broadwick ready to drop from a Martin T airplane piloted by Glenn Martin. Courtesy of Wikipedia.


Reaching our youth with the thrill of aviation history is both a challenge and necessity if we hope to encourage and empower future generations working in the aviation industry, and future generations of restorers, aviation enthusiasts, and historians.  Books geared toward children are an excellent way to infuse aviation history into their lives.  With that in mind, we thought to pass on a book just published this week by Little Bee Books titled “Tiny Jumper: How Tiny Broadwick Created the Parachute Rip Cord”, By Candy Dahl, illustrated by Maithili Joshi.  The book is geared toward the 4-8-year-old age range and tells the story of  Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick, who was the first woman to parachute from an airplane and created the concept for the rip cord.

Tiny Jumper

Book Overview: “Tiny Broadwick, a teeny, uneducated mill girl, had big dreams of soaring above the earth, out of poverty, and above expectations. On June 21, 1913 at age twenty, Tiny became the first woman to parachute
from an airplane. The following year, her idea for the rip cord paved the way for pilots to safely escape in-flight emergencies. This thrilling picture book biography for children shows how Tiny’s determination, courage, and spirit of adventure lifted her up to stand tall as a pioneer in flight. Tiny never reached five feet in height or weighed more than eighty pounds, but she’s a giant in aviation history. Young readers and vintage aviation fans will enjoy learning about her astonishing career.”

The story of Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick is a little-known and often untold one.  Georgia Ross was born on April 8, 1893, as the youngest of seven daughters to George and Emma Ross.  Weighing only 3 pounds at birth, Georgia, nicknamed “Tiny”, would only ever reach a stature of 4 feet 8 inches tall and just over 80 pounds in weight.  Already a young abandoned mother working in a mill at the age of 15 in 1908, she saw Charles Broadwick’s World Famous Aeronauts show where they parachuted from a hot air balloon.  Very taken with the show, Tiny forged a relationship with Charles Broadwick, later becoming his adopted daughter, and joined the traveling troupe billed as “the doll girl”.   Wearing what was known at the time as a “life preserver”, or parachute, she made her first jump from a hot air balloon on December 28, 1908.  Tiny would go on to become the first woman to parachute from an airplane during an exhibition in Chicago in September of 1912, and later the first woman to parachute into a body of water in 1914.

N 61 24 Tiny Broadwick open chute 9015301361
Tiny with one of her parachutes. Courtesy Wikipedia.

It was during a demonstration for the U.S. Army in 1914 that her idea for what would become the rip cord was born.  During one demonstration jump, she encountered an issue with the static line becoming entangled on the aircraft.  This led her to alter the parachute so that she could deploy the chute herself upon departure from the airplane.  It was this demonstration, where she used a shortened, unattached line pulled while in free fall to exist the aircraft that led to the concept of the rip cord that ultimately allowed pilots to escape aircraft in distress in a much more safe manner.  Tiny Broadwick continued to jump on and off until 1922 when she retired from jumping due to issues with her ankles.  In all Tiny was said to have completed more than 1,100 jumps during her performance career.  Tiny passed away in 1978 and was buried in Henderson, North Carolina near her birthplace in Oxford, North Carolina.

The legacy of Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick is certainly a piece of aviation history worth telling.  You can grab a copy of “Tiny Jumper: How Tiny Broadwick Created the Parachute Rip Cord” by clicking on the title.

Angela-Decker

Angela Decker, from McPherson, Kansas, discovered her passion for aviation after earning a Master’s in Military History from Norwich University in 2011. Since 2012, she has volunteered with vintage aviation groups, excelling as a social media content creator and coordinator. Angela has coordinated aviation and WWII events, appeared as Rosie the Riveter, and is restoring a Stearman aircraft. She is the Operations Logistics Coordinator at CAF Airbase Georgia and an accountant with a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. Her son, Caden, shares her love for aviation and history and is studying Digital Media Arts.

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About Angela Decker 64 Articles
Angela Decker, from McPherson, Kansas, discovered her passion for aviation after earning a Master’s in Military History from Norwich University in 2011. Since 2012, she has volunteered with vintage aviation groups, excelling as a social media content creator and coordinator. Angela has coordinated aviation and WWII events, appeared as Rosie the Riveter, and is restoring a Stearman aircraft. She is the Operations Logistics Coordinator at CAF Airbase Georgia and an accountant with a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. Her son, Caden, shares her love for aviation and history and is studying Digital Media Arts.

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