National Geographic : 1952 Jun
<- Get Ready ... On "Jump Day minus one," Pat Irwin (right) and a classmate try on harnesses and chest protectors. Jump ing gear includes standard football helmets. Armored housing over the left shoul der guards the all-important rip cord. National Geographie PIhotographer Ernest J. Cottrell + Stand By ... Jump Day: The plane, an R4D, comes into a shallow glide at 2,500 feet. As it ap proaches the jump circle, a cleared area where parachut ists will land, jump master Bill Begley (center) gives the students last-minute instruc tions. Then he moves to the rear of the plane to signal the jump. . . . Go! Begley's fist is a blur as his arm snaps down. Eight jumpers are out the door and into space in as many sec onds.