Read by QxMD icon Read

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial

Robert W Yeh, Linda R Valsdottir, Michael W Yeh, Changyu Shen, Daniel B Kramer, Jordan B Strom, Eric A Secemsky, Joanne L Healy, Robert M Domeier, Dhruv S Kazi, Brahmajee K Nallamothu
BMJ: British Medical Journal 2018 December 13, 363: k5094

OBJECTIVE: To determine if using a parachute prevents death or major traumatic injury when jumping from an aircraft.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Private or commercial aircraft between September 2017 and August 2018.

PARTICIPANTS: 92 aircraft passengers aged 18 and over were screened for participation. 23 agreed to be enrolled and were randomized.

INTERVENTION: Jumping from an aircraft (airplane or helicopter) with a parachute versus an empty backpack (unblinded).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Composite of death or major traumatic injury (defined by an Injury Severity Score over 15) upon impact with the ground measured immediately after landing.

RESULTS: Parachute use did not significantly reduce death or major injury (0% for parachute v 0% for control; P>0.9). This finding was consistent across multiple subgroups. Compared with individuals screened but not enrolled, participants included in the study were on aircraft at significantly lower altitude (mean of 0.6 m for participants v mean of 9146 m for non-participants; P<0.001) and lower velocity (mean of 0 km/h v mean of 800 km/h; P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Parachute use did not reduce death or major traumatic injury when jumping from aircraft in the first randomized evaluation of this intervention. However, the trial was only able to enroll participants on small stationary aircraft on the ground, suggesting cautious extrapolation to high altitude jumps. When beliefs regarding the effectiveness of an intervention exist in the community, randomized trials might selectively enroll individuals with a lower perceived likelihood of benefit, thus diminishing the applicability of the results to clinical practice.


You need to log in or sign up for an account to be able to comment.

daniel mehta wrote:


It has long been assumed that parachutes decrease mortality in patients who jump from planes, due in part to influence from parachute manufacturers, and in part to sporadic case reports. This important trial casts doubt on the utility of parachutes. Yet as this study is not sufficiently powered for subgroup analysis across variables like plane type, weather, comorbodity, and moon phase, larger studies are needed to finally put this question to rest.

Thomas Sutton wrote:


For people who are confused, this entire article is satire. There is a common saying in medicine that “there’s never been and will never be a randomized controlled trial about jumping out of airplanes with parachutes, but it’s still a good idea.” The point is that not everything in medicine is or can be data driven.

Tanase Mihai Ionut wrote:

7 that's how antivaxers started...

Shivani Srivastava wrote:


BMJ has a sense of humor

Anonymous wrote:


I think a few more studies on this topic are needed and then a meta-analysis can be performed. Haha. :-)

Charles Voisot wrote:


...Publish or Perish...

Javier Guevara wrote:


Lol... And here i was thinking what kind of people would offer for the study XD

Daniel Ries wrote:


Outstanding! I’m advising all my patients to ditch the parachute!

Daniel Kowalsky wrote:


That made my day! Lol

Michael Truppe wrote:


Thanks, a real statement!

Charles Pollick wrote:


The PARACHUTE trial satirically highlights some
of the limitations of randomized controlled trials.

Anonymous wrote:


Its like Colemanballs!! Medicine does satire

M K wrote:


Looooool! Nice...

Michael Tran wrote:


I’d still wear a parachute regardless. Did you account for drag or air resistance?

Niels-Ole Klausen wrote:


Beatifull study!

Dmitri Gourevitch wrote:



Matteo Galassi wrote:



John Evans wrote:


the science is in ...

Roel Zylstra wrote:


From 2003,

Charles Pollick wrote:


Parachute use compared with a backpack control
did not reduce death or major traumatic injury when
used by participants jumping from aircraft in this first
randomized evaluation of the intervention. This largely
resulted from our ability to only recruit participants
jumping from stationary aircraft on the ground. When
beliefs regarding the effectiveness of an intervention
exist in the community, randomized trials evaluating
their effectiveness could selectively enroll individuals
with a lower likelihood of benefit, thereby diminishing
the applicability of trial results to routine practice.
Therefore, although we can confidently recommend
that individuals jumping from small stationary aircraft
on the ground do not require parachutes, individual
judgment should be exercised when applying these
findings at higher altitudes.

Charles Pollick wrote:


Reminds me of the tongue in cheek article in the Lancet many years ago touting the benefits of bubamycin. Anyone remember that?

Muhammad Shaikh wrote:


Is this a joke?

Kevin Leahy wrote:


I wonder if any news agencies picked up on this important study.

Dyllan Schwenke wrote:


Will definitely be citing this article in the near future

Neal LaPointe wrote:


Hilarious! I would like to know which major corporations funded the study!

Alba Colmenar wrote:



claudine hartell wrote:


Lol this article had my attention too!

Khaled Campa wrote:


Love it!

David Hooke wrote:


This is a beautiful study.
I’m a pilot so would never willingly jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane.
Thinking back over a lifetime of reading randomised controlled trials of a similar nature changing orthodox practices, leaves me chuckling at retribution....

Emilio Medina wrote:



Jim Harrison wrote:


Sounds like another Democrat study

Trending on Read

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"