Franz Reichelt (1879 – 4 February 1912), also known as Frantz Reichelt or François Reichelt, was an Austrian-born French tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, now sometimes referred to as the Flying Tailor, who is remembered for jumping to his death from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. Reichelt had become fixated on developing a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft. Initial experiments conducted with dummies dropped from the fifth floor of his apartment building had been successful, but he was unable to replicate those early successes with any of his subsequent designs.
Believing that a suitably high test platform would prove his invention’s efficacy, Reichelt repeatedly petitioned the Parisian Prefecture of Police for permission to conduct a test from the Eiffel Tower. He finally received permission in 1912, but when he arrived at the tower on 4 February he made it clear that he intended to jump personally rather than conduct an experiment with dummies. Despite attempts to dissuade him, he jumped from the first platform of the tower wearing his invention. The parachute failed to deploy and he fell 57 metres (187 ft) to his death. The next day, newspapers were full of illustrated stories about the death of the “reckless inventor”, and the jump was shown in newsreels.