Sir W. OYNSON-HICKS:64.
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether there are any fighting aeroplanes fitted with a parachute; whether flying officers have received any orders in reference to the use of parachutes; and whether he can make a statement as to the position which has been arrived at in regard to the use of parachutes and their reliability in the prevention of accidents?
With reference to the first part of the question there are no fighting aeroplanes at present fitted with parachutes. As regards the second part of the question, a number of training aeroplanes are so fitted and instruction in the use of parachutes is being given, but at present no live drops for practice or experimental purposes are to be made from heavier-than-air craft. In reply to the third part of the question, the position in regard to parachutes is as follows: About 140 parachute sets have been issued for the equipment of Avro aeroplanes, which is the type employed for flying training purposes. These sets are being used for service trials, and reports are now being received making suggestions and recommendations regarding modifications and improvements found necessary. It is the intention to bring parachutes into general use as soon as they have reached a stage of development which warrants action involving some considerable expenditure.
Is there any truth in the rumour—it cannot be more than that—that the Research Department on Parachutes has been very largely depleted in the last month, and that officers have been leaving?