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A character is falling from a great height and has no conventional parachute. What to do? Improvise with something else! Usually it's an article of clothing, though a Rubber Man can make himself/herself the parachute.

Parasol Parachute is a Sub-Trope. A Badass Cape or a Parachute Petticoat may be used. Puny Parachute is a sister trope.

Please Don't Try This At Home unless you are, yourself, falling from a great height and have no parachute.

Examples of Improvised Parachute include:


Comic Books

  • Spider-Man on at least one occasion created a parachute using his web shooters.
  • In some Silver Age Batman stories, Batman's cape doubles as a parachute.
    • In the Modern Age, it's sometimes used as glider to slow his fall, with the added bonus of allowing him to reach the safety of rooftops, all while looking really cool. Same basic principle.
  • Indiana Jones used a blanket once.
  • In the comic-only sequel to The Great Mouse Detective, it is revealed that Rattigan survived his fall from Big Ben by using his cape as an improvised parachute.

Film

  • Indiana Jones used an inflatable liferaft when the plane he was on was about to crash into a mountain in Temple of Doom.
  • The Baroness' long skirt in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also acts as a parachute when she is shot into the air by Grandpa.
  • In The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon saves himself with a piece of plastic this way. Probably the least expected object to become a Chekhov's Gun.
  • In Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Pee-Wee and Mickey drive off a cliff, and the convertible top of their car serves as a parachute.
  • Disney's Aladdin: Aladdin and Abu use a rug as one when they jump out a window during the song "One Jump Ahead".

Literature

  • In Angels and Demons, Langdon used a tarp to slow down the fall from an exploding helicopter.
  • In Super Folks, the Lois Lane expy's skirt acts as a parachute when she is thrown off a skyscraper. It turns out she is not wearing underwear which gives quite a show to the rescue workers below.

Live Action TV

  • Using various items as parachutes was part of an experiment on Brainiac Science Abuse.
  • The Myth Busters tested an inflatable raft as a parachute. It technically worked, but was not reliable.
  • An odd example: In one episode of the 2010 Human Target TV adaptation, Christopher Chance and his client use one to stop from great speed, rather than fall safely.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: While The Skydivers doesn't use this trope at any point, Tom Servo quips that one character's enormous, sculpted hairdo could be used in this way.

 Tom Servo: I predict that in the final scene, she jumps without a parachute and then her hair opens up.

Oral Tradition

  • In Chinese mythology, Shun is often considered to be the first parachutist. According to legend, Shun was repairing the roof of a granary when his father and step-brother set it on fire. Shun escaped by using two big straw hats as an improvised parachute.

Video Games

  • American McGee's Alice: Alice's dress slows down her fall (and also helps her float over air vents).
  • Princess Peach uses her dress as a parachute in Super Mario Bros 2 and several other Mario games.
  • Psychonauts: Raz can use his psychic powers to create an improvised parachute - he creates a literal Thought Bubble and grabs onto the dotted bit.
  • Mario's Cape in Super Mario World can be used like this to glide.
  • Kurt Hectic's coil suit in MDK has long streaks that, when held like a hood, lets Kurt either glide or float downwards softly, or get carried to great heights if he's in an updraft.

Web Comics

  • Subverted in Schlock Mercenary, when the amorphous Schlock plans to jump off the top of a skyscraper with a big canister of valuables, using himself as a parachute... but it doesn't work, and he winds up having to improvise on the way down, turning the parachuting into a bungee-jump...
  • In Casey and Andy, Quantum Crook saved himself from falling into lava by making a parachute out of his trenchcoat and boot laces.

Western Animation

  • The Herculoids
    • In "Defeat of Ogron", Gloop takes the shape of a parachute to lower Zandor to safety.
    • In "Mekkor" Gleep provides this for Dorno.
  • Samurai Jack: Jack uses his own clothes as a parachute in order to reach greater heights using blasts of air from the ground.
  • In one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Jerry uses a bra as a parachute.
  • In The Incredibles, Elastigirl uses herself as an improvised parachute after Syndrome blows her plane out of the sky.
    • Using her kids as ballast.
    • She does this again during the climax when she has to save Jack-Jack after he falls out of the arms of Syndrome.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: After a fight against the Dark Hand off a snowy cliff, Jackie grabs the shirt off Tohru and uses it as a parachute.
    • Happens again in a later episode when he jumps out the window of a castle to escape the Shadowkahn and uses the curtain as a parachute to get down the side of the cliff safely.
  • The Magician often used his cape this way.
  • On the Dungeons & Dragons episode "Day of the Dungeon Master", Presto's magic hat acts as a parachute when the gang fall off the back of a roc — for all of them but Eric, who misses his grip and has to be saved by Hank.
  • Alice's dress in Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pizza Delivery", the pizza SpongeBob is delivering becomes a parachute, held to the box by strings of cheese.
  • Early in the "Jungle Jeopardy" episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Penelope uses her scarf as a parachute after her airplane falls apart in flight.
  • One episode of the 1960s Inspector Clouseau cartoon had him and Sgt. Deux-Deux falling from the cliff. Deux-Deux grabbed the tent he was carrying, saving both him and Inspector. Unfortunately they landed next to a hungry tiger.
  • Hammerman's parachute pants.
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