In RealLife, parachutes are ''big''; rarely less than twelve to fifteen feet across once unfurled. But in animation (and comics especially), parachutes are usually much smaller -- a four to six foot diameter for example -- yet somehow, they still manage to work just as well (if not ''better'') than their real life counterparts. This also applies to airship envelopes, and for the same reasons.

This is based on the RuleOfPerception, as a realistically proportioned parachute would reduce the user to little more than a dot or a line hanging from it.

A type of {{Balloonacy}}, with ParasolParachute as a distinct subtrope usually PlayedForLaughs. See also ImprovisedParachute, which often fits this trope.


* In ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', the main character jumps from a building and uses an approximately 2x2 foot scarf to soften his fall. Try that and good luck in not reducing your leg bones to shards.
* ''Film/UndercoverBrother''. When Undercover Brother falls over the edge of the cliff near the end of the movie, he floats to the ground using his bell-bottom pants as a parachute. They are much smaller than a normal parachute.
* ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure'' - when Pee-Wee drives Mickey's Edsel convertible off a cliff, after several seconds of screaming, he raises the top, which balloons out a small amount and floats the two-ton car to a soft landing.
* ''Film/TheGreatRace'' - Professor Fate has a small pedal-powered airship - but the envelope component looks too small to lift the metal gondola framework, let alone a person - and it carries ''two'' people. Still, it looks cool.
* ''Film/TheGreatDictator''. One of the wacky inventions demonstrated by Grand Marshall Herring is a hat parachute. It doesn't work.

* In the first ''Literature/SkylarkSeries'' book by Creator/EEDocSmith, the antagonist Marc "Blackie" [=DuQuesne=] [[spoiler:bails out from the titular spacecraft while high in Earth's atmosphere, using a parachute ''designed for compactness'' [[JustifiedTrope on a world with both considerably lower gravity and higher atmospheric density than Earth]]. While the landing isn't described, there's no indication of him requiring a lengthy stay in hospital when he reappears in the next book.]]

* ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' has a specific switch that gives him [[RuleOfThree three of these.]] Somehow they can help him ''survive re-entry'' into the Earth's atmosphere.

* Almost every dirigible in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is ridiculously small for its lifting power.

* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** The Deku Leaf in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' is used to slow falls and ride updrafts; it's only about two or three feet to a side, though it at least relies on [[AWizardDidIt magic]] for its power to stay aloft.
** The sailcloth used by Link in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' is used for similar purposes and is of similar size.
** The Paraglider in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' is at least a bit bigger than the previous two, and unlike them it seems specifically designed for this function. It's nonetheless way too small to realistically serve this function.
* The ''Aladdin'' example under Film also applies to [[VideoGame/AladdinCapcom the SNES platformer]], though the player needs to pick up the rug first.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has raggedy, patched parachutes that are about six feet squares but work perfectly until their time runs out or you land. The engineering tinker goblin glider has a pair of wings that unfold from one's cloak that are about the same surface area.
* The B.A.S.E. Jumper parachute in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' isn't much bigger than an umbrella. Notably, [[AchievementsInIgnorance it can only be used by the two classes who can]] RocketJump.

* ''WesternAnimation/TheHerculoids''. Whenever Gloop or Gleep turn themselves into an ImprovisedParachute, they're significantly smaller than a regular parachute -- too small to provide the braking power they do.
* Any and every Creator/WarnerBros cartoon parachute.
* Many cartoons show umbrellas being used as parachutes -- the real-life consequences are shown on ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' when Hank jumps off the roof of the compound with an umbrella (in a Batman Halloween costume), with fatal results.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' shows the short-but-massive Ram-Man descending on a parachute only slightly wider than his shoulders.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop''. Penelope once used her ''scarf'' as a parachute after jumping from a plane.