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Dave Gold Parachute Collection

Identifier: MS-310

Scope and Content

The Dave Gold Parachute Collection is a very large, complex collection of papers, research reports, blueprints, photographs, film, books, newspapers, magazines, and scrapbooks. When it was received by Special Collections and Archives there was virtually no organization to the collection and there were many duplicate items in the collection. The collection is divided into nine series, many with multiple subseries. Since the finding aid is over 200 pages in length, a Finding Aid Index is provided for researchers beginning at page 202.

Series I, Personal Papers, has eight subseries.

Subseries IA, General, provides information on Dave Gold's achivements, activities in various parachute and aviation organizations, and parachute clubs and competitions he attended. Subseries IB, Correspondence, includes his correspondence with various organizations and people. Of particular interest to researchers is his correspondence with such parachute experts as Guy Ball, Sidney B. Jackson, Bud Sellick, Peter Hearn, and Daniel Poynter.

Subseries IC, Parachute Articles by Dave Gold, includes numerous parachute-related articles written by Dave Gold beginning in the 1930s through 1984. Of particular note are Dave Gold's articles on the history of the parachute including, "Early Development of the Manually Operated, Personnel Parachute, 1900-1919," "A Look at the Hoffman Triangle Parachute-First Successful Guidable Parachute," "A Look at the Russell 'Lobe' Parachute," "The Parachute in Perspective: Looking Back to 1931," and "A Look at Those Jumping Balloonautics."

Subseries ID, Parachute History Research and Notes, is organized into a number of areas including General History, Extracts from Books, Magazine Articles, and Index Cards. Researcher will find the magazine articles particularly helpful since it includes articles on parachutes spanning a period from 1911 to 1980. These articles reveal much of the current thinking and research on parachutes at the time of the article.

Subseries IE, Dave Gold Patents, includes the patent submission paperwork and the patents for five Dave Gold parachute patents plus several patent requests that were pending when he died in 1985. Dave Gold had his own parachute maintenance service during the 1930s and 1940s. Subseries IF contains general information and correspondence concerning Dave Gold's Parachute Service. Of particular interest is the parachute inspection logs and his correspondence with various parachute companies and the military.

Subseries IF, Memorabilia, contains a variety of items. These items include souvenir programs for air shows, parachute meets, and a variety of pamphlets. Of particular note is the original "Flying Aces" magazines from 1939, 1940, and 1942.

Subseries IH, General Parachute Engineering Data and Notes, contains a variety of items used by Dave Gold in his parachute research activies including his notes on textiles, reefing lines, and general research notes made in steno notebooks. Also included are formulas and tables for computing drag, trajectory, and other parachute design data.

Series II, Parachute Research and Development, is the largest of all the series in this collection with 12 subseries.

Subseries IIA, Patents, contains general information concerning patents and parachute patents. The includes a small number of parachute patents from the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. However, the largest part of the series are U.S. parachute patents beginning in 1893 and ending in 1977. The patents include a description of the parachute or parachute item, and a drawing.

Subseries IIB, U.S. Government Agencies is organized into six major subareas. The largest of these subareas contain parachute research reports from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Forest Service. The reports span a period beginning in 1925 and ending in 1978. The subseries also contains reports from the Defense Documentation Center, the U.S. Works Progress Administration, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Subseries IIC, U.S. Air Force Organizations, contains parachute research reports from approximately 28 different Air Force organizations. Researchers interested in the history of the parachute will find the U.S. Army Air Service and the U.S. Army Air Corps resports particularly interesting. However, the largest number of parachute-related research reports are contained in the following subgroups: Air Technical Service Command, 1944-1949; Air Material Command, 1945-1951; Wright Air Development Center, 1951-1961; Aeronautical Systems Division, 1961-1981; Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, 1963-1982; and the Air Force Flight Test Center, 1953-1982. Other areas of interest include the 6511th Parachute Development Group and the 6511th Test Squadron located at El Centro and Edwards AFB, California.

Subseries IID, U.S. Army Organizations, contains parachute research reports from 14 Army organizations. The period of these reports span the 1950s through the 1970s. The most interesting of the reports is a 1945 report by the Airborne Board on the "Comparative Test of Troop Type Parachutes" and a 1975 U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command report on "Air Delivery Test Capabilities."

Subseries IIE, U.S. Navy Organizations, contains parachute research reports from 27 Navy organizations. Subareas containing the largest number of reports include: U.S. Naval Parachute Experimental Unit, 1949-1964; the Naval Weapons Center, 1979-1983; the National Parachute Test Range, 1976-1979, and the Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility, 1964-1974. Of particular interest to parachute historians is an Office of Naval Intelligence translation of a 1920 French article entitled "The Parachute for Use in Aviation."

Subseries IIF, Joint Parachute Research Organizations, primarily contains technical reports on drop tests from the Joint Parachute Test Facility at El Centro, California. The span of the reports for this organization ranges from 1951 to 1968. Also included in this subseries is meeting correspondence and minutes for the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Aerial Delivery. The time span for this material is from 1970 to 1976.

Subseries IIG, Non-U.S. Government Reports, has 22 major subareas. The bulk of these subareas include British and Canadian government reports. Also included are government reports from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and NATO. The timespan for the subseries ranges from 1935 to 1979. The French, German, and Italian reports are written in the language of that country. The Russian reports are English translations.

Subseries IIH, Irving Air Chute Company and Irvin Industries, is a large subseries containing 8 major subareas. As a former employee of Irving Air Chute Company, Dave Gold amassed a wide variety of materials. Included in the subseries is general employee information including general company information, newsletters, and organizational charts. Another major subarea is company correspondence spanning a period from 1918 to 1963. Most of the correspondence pertains to Dave Gold, but researchers will find the early Irvin Air Chute correspondence from 1918 to 1924 interesting. A third major subarea pertains to patent infringement cases from 1928 to 1940. A fourth subarea contains technical reports, technical bulletins, and manuals for Irving Air Chute Company and Irvin Industries. A final subarea contains correspondence and technical reports from Irving Air Chute of Great Britain, Limited.

Subseries III, Northrop Corporation, is another large area six major subarea. Again, as a former employee of Northrop, Dave Gold acquired a wide-range of material including inter-office communications, manuals and technical publications, test reports, and technical reports. The span of the subseries is from 1963 to 1969 with much of it pertaining to parachute development for the United States Space Program including the Mercury and Apollo programs. Also included in this subseries is a subarea of reports by Radioplane, a Division of Northrop. The span of these reports range from 1948 to 1964.

Subseries IIJ, Space-General Corporation, contains a wide-variety of information including general information about the company, some correspondence, and technical data and reports. The span of the subseries is 1962 to 1965. Much of the information contained in the technical reports pertains to parachute development of rocket payloads.

Subseries IIK contains reports from 47 different companies and research institutes concerning the development of the parachute from as early as 1943 to as late as 1980. Reasearchers will find the subareas pertaining to use of kevlar in parachutes and North American Aviation's ejection seat test reports particularly interesting. Additionally, there is an interesting 1943 report by the Daniel Guggenheim Airship Institute on the use of wind tunnels for testing parachutes.

Subseries IIL, Training, Symposiums, and Conferences, contains 14 major subareas containing technical reports, agendas, and minutes of a various parachute-related orgainizations. The time span of the reports range from 1983 to 1984. Included are lectures given at the University of Minnesota Aerodynamic Deceleration Course, papers presented at the April 1964 Symposium on Parachute Technology and Evaluation, technical papers and agendas for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics from 1966 to 1984, and books documenting the proceedings of the Survival and Flight Equipment Association symposiums from 1971 to 1981.

Series III, Parachute Equipment and Materials, contains information concerning parachute equipment sold by a wide-variety of parachute companies, both in the United States and overseas. The series contains 6 subseries. Much of the information is from the 1940s when Dave Gold had his own parachute packing company.

Subseries IIIA, Irving Air Chute Chute Company, contains pamphlets and catalogs for the Irving Air Chute Company, Irving Air Chute of Great Britain Limited, Irvin Industries, Inc., and German, French and Spanish pamphlets for Irving Air Chute Company. The information contained in this subseries pertains to parachutes sold as early as the 1920s and as late as the 1980s. Researchers interested in the history of the parachute will find the Irving Air Chute pamphlets of the 1920s and 1930s particularly interesting.

Subseries IIIB, Switlik Parachute and Equipment Company, contains newsletters, manuals, and pamphlets pertaining to Switlik parachutes. Almost all the information in this subseries is from the 1940s. Of interest to researchers is the pamphlet "Coming Down" by Floyd Smith, one of the founders of the company and someone Dave Gold corresponded with regularly.

Subseries IIIC, Pioneer Parachute Company, contains pamphlets, campany catalogs, and parachute packing instructions primarily from the 1940s.

Subseries IIID, GQ Security Parachutes Inc., contains service and operating instructions for a variety of GQ parachutes from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Subseries IIIE, British Parachute Companies, contains pamphlets, manuals, and packing instructions for GQ Parachute Company, Ltd or Surrey, England and Martin-Baker Aircraft Company, Ltd, of Middlesex, England. Most of the information in this subseries is from the 1970s.

Subseries IIIF contains pamphlets, catalogs, and packing instructions for 14 different companies selling parachutes or parachute materials. Most of this information if is from the 1960s to the 1980s. In addition, there are parachute pamphlet from several parachute companies in France, Chinese, Italy, and Germany in that countries language. Of particular interest is the Italian pamphlets which primarily come from the 1930s.

Series IV, Blueprints, is arranged in three subseries. All blueprints pertain to parachutes or parachute equipment.

The largest subseries is Subseries IVA, Air Force Blueprints. This subseries begins with U.S. Army Air Corps blueprints of the 1920s and 1930s. It is followed by U.S. Army Air Corps blueprints, U.S. Army Air Forces blueprints, and U.S. Air Force blueprints. Included in the U.S. Air Force files are blueprints created by the Air Material Command and the 6511th Parachute Development Test Group. The blueprints span the period 1920 to 1959. The blueprints are organized by year and then in numerical order within the year. Listed with each file are all blueprints within the file. This includes the blueprint number and title. Researchers should be aware that blueprint numbers begin with the year, followed by a alpha character, and then a four-digit number, e.g. 52A6117. As the alpha character increases, the size of the blueprint increases, e.g. "A" is an 8x10 inch page and "D" is a 24x36 sheet.

Subseries IVB, Navy Blueprints, contains blueprints created by several different naval organizations and span a period beginning in 1924 and ending in 1977. The Naval Aircraft Factory blueprints are orgainized according to series number, i.e. 29XXX, etc. Blueprints created by the Bureaus of Aeronautics, Bureau of Naval Weapons, Naval Air Systems Command, and the Naval Parachute Unit are organized by year. Within each file the blueprints are listed in numerical order and include the blueprint title. Also included in the subseries are several blueprints from the Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility and the National Parachute Test Range.

Subseries IVC, Parachute Manufacturing Companies, contains blueprints from Irving Air Chute Company, Irvin Industries, and variety of other companies. Blueprints for Irving Air Chute and Irvin Industries are orgainized by year and they in blueprint number order within files. Listed with each file is the blueprint number and title for each blueprint in the file. Blueprints for Other Companies is in alphabetical order by company. Listed with each file is the blueprints contained in the file including blueprint number and title. Finally, at the end of the subseries there are Dave Gold drawn blueprints of a variety of parachutes. These drawings were made by Dave Gold in 1938 and 1939. Of interest to researchers is a drawing of a Parachute Rigging Shed designed by Dave Gold.

Series V, Regulations, Manuals, and Technical Orders, is a very large series. It contains 25 subseries organized by the originator of the regulation, manual, or technical order. Included are documents from the Superintendent of Documents, Federal Aviation Agency, Civil Aeronautics Authority, Civil Aeronautics Board, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, War Department, and virtually all military departments. The documents span the period 1919 to 1982. Most of the documents are from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Parachute historians will find the U.S. Army Air Service subseries (VQ) particularly interesting since it contains the first Parachute Manuals.

Series VI, Audiovisual Materials, contains a wide-variety of materials and has six subseries.

Subseries VIA, Photographs, contains several major subgroups. The first subgroup contains photographs of Dave Gold, his family, friends, and co-workers. Many of the photographs are of Dave Gold in parachute gear or testing parachute equipment.

The second major subgroup is Parachute Development and Testing Program photographs. These photographs are grouped according to testing program, e.g. FTL, WADC, etc., and then in chronological order.

The third major subgroup is Types of Parachutes. This subgroup is organized alphabetically according to the type of parachute being shown, i.e. B-5, C-9, S-1, T-5, etc. and then according to year. Photographs of parachutes from non-U.S. organizations are at the end of the subgroup.

The fourth major subgroup is photographs of Parachute Packs, Harnessess, Hardward, and Miscellaneous Equipment.

The fifth major subgroup is Miscellaneous Parachute Testing. This subgroup is organized in chronological order.

The sixth subgroup is Ejection Seat Testing. Two major sections of this subgroup is sequence photos of ejection seat testing at Lakehurst, New Jersey on 28 Feb 1973 and a Tomahawk Sled Run at Edwards AFB, California during the 1950s.

The seventh and eighth subgroups are Cargo Parachutes and Drag Chutes. Both are small subgroups arranged in chronological order.

The ninth subgroup is Bombs, Missiles and Drones which is arranged in chronological order.

The tenth subgroup is photographs of Army, Navy, and Other Skydivers from the 1950s and 1960s.

The eleventh subgroup is photographs of Parachute Testing Facilities. Included are photographs of the Whirltower at El Centro, California, Chute Truck testing at El Centro, and the Naval Weapons Center wind machine at China Lake, California. Also included are photographs of vertical wind tunnel testing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The photographs span a period beginning in the 1940s and ending in the 1980s.

The twelth subgroup contains photographs documenting parachute testing for the United States Space Program. Included are photographs of parachute testing for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Space Capsule Recovery Programs of the 1960s. Also, included are photographs of the seat for the Space Shuttle.

The thirteenth subgroup contains historical photographs of parachutes beginning as early as 1910 through 1960. Included are photographs from World War I, parachute testing at McCook Field near Dayton, Ohio, old Irving Air Chute Company photographs, 1939 Forest Service jumps, and World War II parachutes jumps.

The last two subareas, Miscellaneous Photographs and Oversize Photographs, contain a variety of photographs that do not fit in the other subgroups. For example, there are photographs of a 1960s fad, "Chute Across the Athletic Field," photographs of the "Caterpillar Pin," and aircraft photographs in the Miscellaneous Photographs subgroup. The Oversize Photograph contains photographs of ejection seat test, British paratroopers, and the Irving Air Chute Company plant in Great Britain.

Subseries VIB, Photograph Albums, contains six major subgroups. Five of these subgroups were removed from three-ring albums compiled by Dave Gold. The first five subgroups contain photographs of "Types of Parachutes," "Early Parachutes," "Navy Parachutes and Equipment," "Types of Parachutes and Harnesses," and "Russell 'Lobe' Parachutes and Other Parachutes."

The last subgroup contains photograph albums containing a variety of photographs including miscellaneous family photographs, Dave Gold parachuting and in parachute gear, airplanes, military parachutists, and a album on the development of the parachute.

Subseries VIC, Photograph Negatives, contains negatives for a variey of parachute related photographs. Unfortunately, many of the negatives are not labeled. However, there are some very good negatives for Irving Air Chute Company photographs and Northrop-Ventura negatives for photographs of the Apollo Program.

Subseries VID, Slides, contains a variety of slides. The most extensive slides document Dave Gold presentations on several articles he wrote about the parachute. These presentations include: a. "A Look at 'Chair Chutes,' Parachute Industry's Answer to Airline Safety in the 1940's." b. "Parachute Technology" c. "A Look at the 'EAGLE' Parachute, An Interesting and Unique Personnel Parachute of the 1940s." d. "A Look at those Jumping Balloonatics" e. "The Naval Weapons Center's Squarex Canopy Design: A New Parachute Concept." f. "A Look at the Russell 'Lobe' Parachute." g. "A New Use for the NWC's Wind Machine."

Subseries VIE, VHS Tapes, and Subseries VIF, 8 & 16 MM Film, are closely tied to each other. The Dave Gold Parachute Collection contains 258 reels of film. During the processing of the collection, 224 reels were converted to the VHS film format. The remaining 34 reels could not be converted due to problems with the film. The VHS tapes have been grouped according to the subject of the film. The Finding Aid indicates the title of the film and date, if known. Also indicated with the tape is the number for the corresponding reel of film. The actual film in Subseries VIF is not organized in any particular pattern. The reels not converted to the VHS format are listed at the end of Subseries VIE. Virtually all the film/VHS tapes have no sound.

Most of the film/VHS tapes document parachute testing in a variety of locations. Parachute historians will find the Irving Air Chute Promotional film "Happy Landings," Ralph Wiggins jumping the 25 foot Hoffman Triangle parachute, and the 1939 Forest Service Experimental Smokejumper Project particularly interesting. Other film of note include the US Air Force film "Survival by Parachute" and the Airsafe documentary "Opening Force-Parachute Comparability Program."

Series VII, Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbooks contains three subseries. Virtually all the clippings and scrapbooks in this series pertaining to parachutes, parachute jumps, or parachute advertising. Subseries VIIA, Scrapbooks, contains 24 scrapbooks containing mostly newspaper and magazine clippings spanning a period from 1931 to 1969. Subseries VIIB, Newspaper Clippings, contains newspaper clippings beginning in 1914 and ending in 1983. Subseries VIIC, Magazine Clippings, contains magazine clippings beginning in 1920 and ending in 1985.

Series VIII, Magazines and Newsletters, contains a wide-range of aviation and parachute-related magazines from both government and private organizations. Of particular interest to parachute enthusiasts are a large number of parachute magazines including The Pegasus, Spotter, Sport Parachutist, Parachutist, and Skydiver Magazine.

Series IX, Books, contains a variety of books, many of which have been autographed by the author to Dave Gold. The major subareas of this series include Parachute Education, Parachute Books, Aviation Books, Foreign Language books, and Miscellaneous books. Of interest to parachute historians there are parachute rigger books issued by the U.S. Navy during the 1940s and U.S. Army Quartermaster School books for parachute packing issued in the 1950s. There is also a Parachute Manual issued by British Air Ministry in 1931. The Parachute Books subarea contains a number of books autographed by the author including books by Eloise Engle, Don Dwiggins, Peter Hearn, Michael Horan, and Dan Poynter. There is also a wide-variety of aviation books ranging from introductions to flight to aviation history books.


  • Creation: 1917-1985


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Dave Gold

David Gold was born to Russian immigrant parents in New York City on August 9, 1917. His interest in aviation and the parachute began in 1927 when his imagination was captured by Charles Lindbergh's historic Trans-Atlantic flight. By the age of 13 he had begun making frequent visits to North Beach Airport in Queens (now La Guardia Airport), where he would watch as professional exhibition parachute jumpers thrilled spectators with their "death defying" leaps through the air. From that time on, the love of parachuting was the fundamental force in David Gold's life.

He became friendly with the exhibition jumpers and soon progressed from passing the hat for them, to learning how to pack parachutes himself. He began to make his own parachutes, moving quickly from paper napkins to cloth inventions, which he learned to sew expertly on his mother's sewing machine. He began following the jumpers around as they performed at various airfields in the area. He also visited the parachute factories of Switlik, Pioneer and other early parachute manufacturers. He got to know some of the early pioneers in U.S. parachuting, such as Col. Edward Hoffman and Floyd Smith, and more importantly, he began to collect every scrap of information on parachutes he could, as he established correspondence all over the world with individuals involved in parachuting. This provided the foundation for his extensive collection of technical and historical materials relating to parachutes.

At age 15, while in junior high school, the combination of a bout of rheumatic fever and a football injury left him with severe arthritis in his hips and other joints. The next several years were spent in and out of the hospital. When well enough, he attended Haaren Aviation High School in New York, where he formed the first high school parachute club in the U.S. Finally, his doctors decided that his arthritis necessitated a move to the warmer and drier climate of Arizona.

David arrived in Tucson, Arizona in 1937. He finished high school, and, in 1938, entered the University of Arizona as journalism major. His interest in writing resulted in his authorship of seven articles on various aspects of parachute technology, which were published in popular magazines. He also obtained his parachute rigger's license and during World War II made a living, mainly by traveling all over the state servicing parachutes. Several of the individuals he packed chutes for became members of the Caterpillar Club, a fact of which he was tremendously proud. From 1941 to 1943, as the Chief Parachute Rigger for Southwest Airways at Thunderbird Field in Phoenix, he was responsible for three civilian pilot training programs in parachute servicing. During this period he also got married and began raising a family that eventually grew to include six children.

Over the next ten years, he developed his own parachute business where he sold and serviced parachutes, as well as designing and fabricating specialized parachute equipment. At the time, his parachute business was the only major parachute repair loft in the southwestern U.S. to be licensed by the F.A.A. He always kept his eyes open for unique or historically important parachute equipment and often traded parachute servicing for items to add to his growing parachute hardware collection. He also worked for two years as a Technical Supervisor for the Phoenix Parachute Company, a firm that mass-produced parachutes under government contract.

It was during these 16 years in Arizona that he accomplished his 19 parachute descents. Unfortunately, his jumping career was quickly curtailed by debilitating arthritis. To compensate for his limited mobility, and painful arthritic joints, David wore a padded helmet with a specially padded suit and shoes that he designed himself. After a jump, friends helped him to his feet. He even did a number of "specialty" jumps (Santa Claus jumps, cut-aways, and delayed opening jumps for fairs, etc.), including some stunt work for movies being shot in the area. He also opened a skydiving school where he taught sport jumpers the rudiments of parachuting. However, because of his painful arthritic joints, David realized that he could best make a contribution to the area of parachutes by applying his enthusiasm and creativity to the technical and design aspects of parachuting. Despite the pain he felt in his joints, he felt that each jump he made was necessary since it taught him things about parachutes, which he could learn in no other way.

In 1953, after obtaining an A.A. degree in engineering from Phoenix College, he joined the 6511th Parachute Test Group (USAF) at El Centro, California, which was at that time the world's leading test facility for parachute systems. As a parachute development and test engineer, he helped develop both personnel and missile recovery systems and worked on ejection seats with Joseph Kittinger. He also was granted patents on a steerable parachute, a novel riser arrangement ("slip risers"), and a bi-area canopy. The steerable chute and riser design were incorporated into the "Tojo" parachute, which became the mainstay chute for the Army's special forces for a number of years. In 1957 he began work for the Irvin Air Chute Company in Glendale, California, where, as head of the engineering department, he supervised numerous parachute system development programs, including a DC-8 aircraft deceleration system and the original mid-air recovery system for the first successful satellite recovery from earth orbit (the "Discoverer" program). During this time, he also was granted two patents as a result of work on a divestible harness project.

From 1962 to 1965, as a project engineer and recovery systems advisor for Space-General Corporation in El Monte, California, he designed parachute recovery systems for a family of sounding rockets, including the Aerobee, the Nike-Kagon, and the French Veronique. Next, he joined the Northrop-Ventura Corporation in Newbury Park, California, where his most notable achievement was his conception and design of the deployment bag, deployment bag retention system, and novel multiple reefing system for the three main parachutes of the Apollo spacecraft earth landing system.

In 1970, David fell victim to the massive aerospace industry layoffs, which occurred after the successful Apollo moon-landings, and did not resume his professional career until 1977 when he rejoined Irvin Industries. As a senior project engineer, he designed the crew recovery system for the WASP II flying platform, designed spin recovery and braking parachutes for the F-16 and the Norwegian F-16 aircraft, and assisted with the design of a recovery system for the Boeing/USAF Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM).

From 1980 until his death in 1985, David worked as the Chief Designer in Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California. Besides working on numerous missile recovery systems, he spent a great deal of time developing novel solutions to some old parachuting problems. This work resulted in patents (pending) for a lowered opening shock personnel parachute canopy, a gliding circular ram-air parachute, a self-adjusting parachute canopy with both low and high speed capabilities, and a reliable, low-cost, simple rectangular parachute design (the SquareX") which permits the canopy to be made from a single square blank of fabric. In addition, he designed an emergency escape parachute for the crew of the space shuttle. In the spring of 1984, David was awarded the highest civilian honor given at the Naval Weapons Center, the William B. McLean Award, for "his contributions and technical excellence over his forty year career."

David Gold felt very strongly that the parachute played an important and somewhat unappreciated role in aviation history. Throughout his life he sustained a keen interest in the history of parachuting thus becoming a leading parachute historian. He wrote numerous articles on the development of parachute technology, including papers for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (A.I.A.A.) and the Survival and Flight Equipment (SAFE) Association, and acted as advisor on related parachute matters to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Aerospace Museum, as well as other museums and organizations. He also held the post of chairman of the Historical Subcommittee with the A.I.A.A. Technical Committee on Aerodynamic Decelerator and Balloon Technology.

On Feb 4, 1985, David Gold died of cancer in Los Angles, California at the age of 67.


103.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Dave Gold was a leading parachute historian and actively participated in all aspects of the parachuting business. He owned a parachute business, pursued a jumping career until debilitated by arthritis, was employed as a design engineer, and avidly collected historical and technical materials relating to parachuting. The collection includes personal papers, parachute research and development materials, blueprints, manuals, photographs, videos, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into nine series:

  1. Series I, Personal Papers
  2. Series II, Parachute Research and Development
  3. Series III, Parachute Equipment and Materials
  4. Series IV, Blueprints
  5. Series V, Regulations, Manuals, and Technical Orders
  6. Series VI, Audiovisual Materials
  7. Series VII, Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbooks
  8. Series VIII, Magazines and Newsletters
  9. Series IX, Books

Other Finding Aid

A complete box and folder inventory for this collection is available on the Special Collections and Archives web site at

Related Material

The Aviation Trail Parachute Museum in Dayton, Ohio maintains the David Gold Parachute Collection.

Guide to the Dave Gold Parachute Collection
Finding aid prepared by Wright State University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA