Parachuting, or skydiving, is a method of transiting from a high point to Earth with the aid of gravity…. involving the control of speed during the descent with the use of a parachute….which may involve more or less free-falling….a period during which the parachute has not been deployed….and the body gradually accelerates to terminal velocity.
The first parachute jump in history was made on October 22, 1797 by André-Jacques Garnerin….who was the inventor of the parachute….as Garnerin tested his contraption by leaping from a hydrogen balloon 3,200 feet (980 m) above Paris…..with a parachute that bore little resemblance to today’s parachutes….as it was not packed into any sort of container and did not feature a ripcord. The first intentional free-fall jump with a ripcord-operated deployment was not made until over a century later by Leslie Irvin in 1919….as Georgia Broadwick made an earlier freefall in 1914….which happened when her static line became entangled with her jump aircraft’s tail assembly….making her free-fall descent unplanned….as Broadwick cut her static line and deployed her parachute manually….simply as a means of freeing herself from the aircraft to which she had become entangled.
The military developed parachuting technology as a way to save aircrews from emergencies aboard balloons and aircraft in flight….which later became a way of delivering soldiers to the battlefield. Early competitions date back to the 1930’s….becoming an international sport in 1952.
This 1979 U S National Championship competition shows how jumping out of a plane with a parachute has evolved into some serious competition….which the U S military team is still quite adept.