|Information about parachute-like dates back to 12th Century.
By that time in Chinese court ceremonials certain devices resembling
parachutes were used to perform jumping stunts from special towers.
The umbrella - one of the inventions of Chinese people, has a significant
similarity to the parachute mechanism.
Three centuries later the idea of the parachute was born in the genius
mind of Leonardo Da Vinci.
He had made a sketch of pyramidal-shaped structure in his notebook.
His original idea was to help people escape from high burning buildings
safely. Although as far as it is known Da Vinci did not put into practice
his project modern engineers consider that it would have worked. That
is why Leonardo Da Vinci is considered to be the "Father of the
About a century later the Hungarian mathematician Fausto de Veranzio
working in Italy published a book called "Machinae Nova"
about his designs of new devices. In that book he shows a picture
of "Homo Volans" ("Flying Man") - a man who had
jumped from high tower with an almost modern-looking parachute - some
kind of oblong sail attached with four lines to a harness on the jumper.
Although Vernanzio claimed to have several jumps with it there is
not evidence proving this statement.
In 1779 the French physicist Sebastian Le Normand, thogether with
Joseph Montgolfier studied about parachutes by throwing animals. Le
Normand is considered to be the first sistematic parachute constructor.
Then in 1785 Jean Pierre Blanchard, famous balloonist and the first
man who flew over the English channel, began to work on parachutes.
After making successful tests with animals and even his own dog, he
jumped himself several times reaching altitude of approximately 2400
meters. Blanchard also made the first silk canopy parachute.
But the first parachute jump known for sure took place on 22 October
1797 in Paris. A man called Andre-Jacques Garnerin was doing his living
by charging people watching his ballon flight until one day his balloon
exploded at an altitude of 700 meters in front of the terrified spectators.
Then Garnerin put into practice his homemade parachute which was 10
meters in diameter abd had 36 suspension lines. He lnded safely about
1 km far from his starting point.This man devouted to his work died
on August 18, 1823 in an
accident with his balloon, after receiving admission from influential
Garnerin's wife Genevieve Labrosse and niece Elisa were the first
women performing parachute jump.
The first recorded emergency jump was made by the Polish aeronaut
Jordaki Kuparento who jumped from his burning balloon on 14 July 1808
In 1837 occurred the first fatal accident in Skydiving History when
Robert Cocking jumped from 1700 meters and his cone-shaped parachute
disintegrated .This proveked widely spread disbelief in parachuting
but efford went on.
In 1802 the French astronomer Lelandes realizes that the reason for
the oscillations during fall was in the air that was under the parachute
surface. He suggested putting a hole in the middle of the canopy and
this really solved the problem.
In 1885 Thomas Balwing invented the harness.
In 1890 the Germans Paul Letteman and Kaethe Paulus used parachutes
folded in bags.
The name of the man who first jumped from a plane is disputable. Grant
Morton Jumped from his plane in 1911 over Venice Beach, California.
Captain Albert Berry who had previously jumped from balloons , made
his parachute fall on March 1st, 1912 near St. Louis.
With the fisrt freefall in 1914 began the sport parachuting.In the
World War I the military forces realized the importance of the parachute
in saving pilot in emergency. The first emergency escape was performed
by an Austrilian pilot on the Russian front in 1916. Then parachuting
was considerably improved by the army for special crew of paratroopers.
Parachuting became popular as some French jumper began practising
it for fun.
The first sport parachuting championship was held in Yugoslavia in
On August 16, 1960 in the New Mexico desert Colonel Joseph Kittinger
made a world wide record by jumpingfrom an altitude of 102,800ft.His
fall lasted about 4.8 minutes and he reached almost supersonic speed!
His achievement remains the highest parachute jump in history.