Skydiving History

Skydiving History

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Skydiving History

Humans have been using parachutes for hundreds of years. This dates back to China in the 1100s. Around 1495, Leonardo DaVinci designed a pyramid-shaped, wooden framed parachute that Adrian Nichols jumped in the late 20th century. This parachute descended slow enough to land, but Nichols was worried the heavy frame would crush him. So at a safe height, he released from it and landed under his reserve.

The modern history of skydiving began in the late 18th century with Jacques Garnerin from France who performed skydiving jumps from hot air balloons. In the late 19th century, women began to appear on the scene. Kathe Paulus from Germany skydived professionally in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. Tiny Broadwick, another professional skydiver in the U.S., was the first woman to skydive from an airplane in 1913 and the first to make a freefall in 1914.

During World War I, parachutes were introduced as rescue devices for observation balloon pilots, but airplane pilots were instructed to land with their aircraft. The first emergency bailout from an airplane occurred in 1922. In 1925, experiments with stable, extended freefall began.

In the time between World War I and II, adventurous orphans and runaways, performed parachute jumps at air shows. In WWII, the first troop insertions with parachutes were cited with turning the tide of the war.

After World War II, a surplus parachutes and former soldiers with the courage to skydive for sport resulted in the growth of skydiving as a hobby. Competitions began to develop and gain acceptance among the international air sports. People first heard the term "skydiver," coined by Raymond Young in the mid-1950s, as the first commercial skydiving centers opened.

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