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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193593
Last updated: 8 April 2021
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Date:24-JUL-1837
Time:7.:35 pm.
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Royal Nassau Gas Balloon
Owner/operator:Charles Green & Edward Spencer
Registration: Unregistered
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Blackheath, Greenwich, London -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Parachuting
Departure airport:Vauxhall, Southwark, London
Destination airport:Blackheath, Greenwich, London
Narrative:
On 24.7.1837, the Gas balloon "Royal Nassau", piloted by Charles Green & Edward Spencer was involved in a fatal accident: Parachute collapsed when one person was dropped from the balloon, at Blackheath, Greenwich, in South-east London. Robert Cocking (aged 61) killed

Robert Cocking (177624 July 1837) was the developer of an early unsuccessful parachute design and the first person to be killed in a parachuting accident:

"On 24 July 1837, Cocking's parachute was gaily decorated by the Gardens' artist E. W. Cocks. At 7:35 pm, Cocking ascended hanging below the balloon, which was piloted by Green and Spencer. Cocking was in a basket which hung below the parachute which in turn hung below the basket of the balloon. Cocking had hoped to reach 8,000 feet (2,440 m), but the weight of the balloon coupled with that of the parachute and the three men slowed the ascent; at 5,000 feet (1,500 m) and with the balloon nearly over Greenwich, Green informed Cocking that he would be unable to rise any higher if the attempt was to be made in daylight. Faced with this information, Cocking released the parachute.

A large crowd had gathered to witness the event, but it was immediately obvious that Cocking was in trouble. He had neglected to include the weight of the parachute itself in his calculations and as a result the descent was far too quick. Though rapid, the descent continued evenly for a few seconds, but then the entire apparatus turned inside out and plunged downwards with increasing speed. The parachute broke up before it hit the ground and at about 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 m) off the ground the basket detached from the remains of the canopy. Cocking was killed instantly in the crash; his body was found in a field in Lee"

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cocking#Crash
3. Donald Glassman (1930). Tales of the Caterpillar Club: Jump!. Simon and Schuster. p. 243.
4. https://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10410828&wwwflag=2&imagepos=4
5. https://blog.library.si.edu/blog/2013/07/24/leap-of-faith-robert-cockings-parachute-experiment-of-july-24-1837/
6. http://victoriancalendar.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/july-24-1837-poor-mr-cocking.html
7. http://vauxhallhistory.org/robert-cocking/
8. https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1964/1964%20-%200144.PDF

Media:

Robert Cocking's ill-fated parachute design of 1837: Cockings parachute

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
14-Feb-2017 19:23 Dr.John Smith Added
14-Feb-2017 19:24 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Total occupants]
14-Feb-2017 19:25 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description