interesting Parachute Facts

November 3, 2009 | In: Science facts

The word “parachute” comes “para”, meaning “against” or “counter” in Ancient Greek, and “chute”, the French word for “fall”

DaVinci sketched the design for the first parachute in 1485.

The first user of a man-made parachute was not a man or a woman, but a dog.

The inventor of the parachute, a Frenchman named Jean Pierre Blanchard, tested his new invention in 1785, by going up in a balloon with his dog, strapping him to a parachute, and tossing him out.

We don’t know whether the dog survived, but we do know that Blanchard’s parachutes did work, so there’s a good chance that the dog made it safely to the ground.

When Blanchard tested the parachute himself, he was surprised to find that he swung back and forth as he floated down to the ground – not a pleasant feeling. His solution: a hole right at the top of the parachute, which allows air to rush through, helping to keep the parachute stable. The column of air rushing up to and out of the hole works almost like a pole, keeping the parachute centered, and letting the person under it have a smoother trip.

The modern parachute was invented in the late 18th century by Louis-Sébastien Lenormand in France, who made the first recorded public jump in 1783.

June 26, 2000, British balloonist Adrian Nicholas proved da Vinci right. In a parachute built of wood and canvas to the artist’s specifications, Nicholas was hoisted to 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) by a hot-air balloon and then released.

The first jump from an aircraft was made more than 200 years later by Captain Albert Berry at St. Louis, USA, on March 1st 1912.

The highest parachute jump ever made was done by U.S. Air Force Captain Joseph W. Kittinger Jr. on Aug. 16, 1960 over New Mexico.

A 92-year-old man with artificial knees made it into the record books by becoming the oldest person ever to jump out of an airplane with a parachute.

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