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 yarn, rope, and wood. However, the 10,000 foot hop consisted of Nicholas cutting away at 7,000 feet and using a normal parachute to complete his journey to the ground.
Here are some other sky diving facts that you may find interesting:
1. Airborne warfare began in 1918. It was the U.S army dropping a unit by a bomber in the skies on the town of Metz.
2. The maximum parachute jump happened in August 1960 by Captain Kittinger from almost 102,800 feet. The free fall lasted more than 4 minutes in which Kittinger’s free fall rate was almost 715 mph. It was at 18,000 feet when his parachute opened. That mean that 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 by the parachute as well as activating their life vests.
4. The lowest combat jump occurred July 3, 1944 in 175 feet, which was unintentional because of an altimeter error. A total of two aircraft made the error. The cheapest planned combat jump was from 250 feet in Crete.
5. The lowest mass strategic jump was 143 ft.
6. He weighed a mere 105 pounds, had fake knees, and a hearing aid. He leaped at 3,500 feet. A woman at the age of 90 wanted to dive for her birthday to prove that age is just a number.
7. The youngest sky diver was four years old. Again, this shows that any age individual can jump. The jump was a tandem jump, of course and the leap was made at 10,000 feet.
8. To show how teams can have a fantastic time, on February 6, 2004, a group of 357 joined hands and stayed in formation for 6 minutes on their 7th attempt over Takhli, Thailand.
9. You don’t need to think 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 produces a level of support. Free falling is just like a human being taking flight. The air flow is constant and permits for aerial maneuvers that are a good deal of fun.
10. On May 20, 2001, Michael Zang broke the world record by completing 500 jumps in a day. This meant his jumps had to be done in cycles of less than 3 minutes and he finished these jumps from 2,100 feet.
Here are some safety facts for you:
• Approximately 2 million parachute jumps occur yearly. The average number of deaths is 35 and that is 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 important that the sky diver is in reasonably good health. As demonstrated above with the 92, 90, and 100 year old jumpers, there’s no upper limit.
• The charge to sky dive usually comprises the expense of the jump and all equipment needed to make the jump.
• The jolt by the parachute is not painful and you may use the parachute controls to steer it to your desired landing spot. That way, in case you somehow get off course, you can set yourself back on course.
• The landing is a soft landing. You gently land on your feet and step as if you are stepping off of a curb.
• There are a lot of safety precautions set up. You have your main parachute, which is larger in a tandem jump, and you have your drogue parachute, which is a parachute that the instructor releases soon after the jump to slow down the jump. Slowing down it prevents the jump from being as noisy, allowing for instruction. Slowing down it also means having the ability to enjoy the leap and for it to be a little less scary.
• It takes about 10 to 15 jumps before a student can jump with no teacher. Some may need more jumps than that until they’re secure enough to undertake the sky solo.
These are all terrific facts for you to know if you are taking your first tandem sky dive or you’re a seasoned jumper.