The Caterpillar Club is an informal association of people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft. After authentication by the parachute maker, applicants receive a membership certificate/card and a distinctive lapel pin of a caterpillar (Irvin Airchute Company gave gold caterpillar lapel pins with amethyst eyes).
Anybody who has saved his life by using a parachute after bailing out of a disabled aircraft is eligible. The club was founded by Leslie Irvin of the Irvin Airchute Company of the USA in 1922 (He is credited with inventing the first free-fall parachute in 1919).
The name “Caterpillar Club” refers to the silk threads that made the original parachutes, thus recognizing the debt owed to the silk worm. The club’s motto is “Life depends on a silken thread”.