Skydiving has quite the history and the facts are very interesting. In fact, the background dates back all the way to Leonardo DaVinci when in 1485 he sketched the blueprints for the first parachute. The parachute weighed 187 pounds and was made from rope, canvas, and wood. However, the 10,000 foot hop consisted of Nicholas cutting away at 7,000 feet and having a regular parachute to complete his journey to the floor.
1. Airborne warfare began in 1918. The 1st infantry was the very first to go airborne. It was the U.S army dropping a unit by a bomber from the skies on the town of Metz.
2. The highest parachute jump occurred in August 1960 by Captain Kittinger from nearly 102,800 feet. The free fall lasted more than 4 minutes in which Kittinger’s free fall rate was nearly 715 mph. It was at 18,000 feet when his parachute opened. That mean he had been in free fall mode for almost 85,000 feet.
3. There have been instances where military planes have gone down in bodies of water and pilots have used their parachutes to save their lives. They have deployed their parachutes underwater and been pulled up from the parachute as well as sparking their life vests.
4. The lowest combat jump occurred July 3, 1944 at 175 ft, which was unintentional due to an altimeter error. A total of two aircraft made the mistake. The cheapest planned combat jump was from 250 ft in Crete.
5. The lowest mass tactical jump was 143 ft.
6. To show that anyone from any age can sky dive, a 92 year old man sporting artificial knees did a solo jump in Cleveland, Ohio. He weighed a mere 105 pounds, had fake knees, and a hearing aid. He leaped at 3,500 feet. The earliest tandem skydiving jumper was a 100 year old in October 1999. A woman at age 90 wanted to dive for her birthday to prove that age is just a number.
7. Again, this indicates that any age individual can jump. The jump was a tandem jump, of course and the jump was made at 10,000 feet.
8. To show how groups can have a good time, on February 6, 2004, a group of 357 joined hands and stayed in formation for 6 seconds on their 7th attempt over Takhli, Thailand.
9. You don’t need to worry about the free fall creating that”heart attack-inducing” roller coaster drop feeling. The feeling is in fact one like floating and the air resistance creates a degree of support. Free falling is just like a human being taking flight. The air flow is constant and allows for aerial maneuvers that are a good deal of fun.
10. This meant his jumps needed to be done in cycles of less than 3 minutes and he finished these jumps from 2,100 feet.
• Approximately 2 million parachute jumps occur annually. The average number of fatalities is 35 and that’s less than 1 percent of the jumps that take place.
• There is really no age requirement, but it is advised that individuals be around the age of 18. It is also essential that the sky diver is in reasonably good health. As shown above with the 92, 90, and 100 year old jumpers, there is no upper limit.
• The charge to sky dive usually consists of the cost of the jump and all equipment needed to make the jump.
• The jolt by the parachute isn’t painful and you can use the parachute controls to steer it to your desired landing spot. That way, if you somehow get off course, you can put yourself back on course.
• The landing is a soft landing. You gently land on your feet and step as if you’re stepping off of a curb.
• There are a number of security precautions put in place. You’ve got your main parachute, which is larger in a tandem jump, and you’ve got your drogue parachute, which is a parachute that the instructor releases soon after the leap to slow the jump down. Slowing it down prevents the leap from being as noisy, allowing for schooling. Slowing down it also means being able to enjoy the leap and for this to be a little less frightening.
• It takes about 10 to 15 jumps in front of a student can jump without their teacher. Some may require more jumps than that until they’re secure enough to take on the sky solo.
These are all great facts that you know whether you’re taking your first tandem sky dive or you are a seasoned jumper.