Most people know that skydiving involves jumping from a perfectly good airplane, floating down, deploying a parachute and landing. However, if that is all you think there is to skydiving, you may be surprised! Though a popular sport today did, you know that it has been around since 1797? Andre-Jacques Garnerin successfully jumped from hot air balloons in 1797. It is fitting that the first woman to parachute was the wife of the inventor of the device. Jeanne-Genevieve Garnerin was the first woman to ever make a parachute jump in 1799. Here are a few more interesting facts about skydiving.
There is a common misconception that parachuting or skydiving is dangerous, and considering human beings are jumping from extremely high altitudes with little between them and certain death this is a fair assumption. However, it is also false, throughout out the United States there are only about 30 deaths per year attributed to the sport. This is approximately 1 death per 100,000 jumps or .001%.
Safety equipment and regulations are so strict that very few accidents occur. In the US, a skydiver is required to jump with two chutes, a main and backup. The backup or reserve parachute must be examined and repacked periodically by a certified rigger.
Age is Not a Factor
If you think that skydiving is only for the young, there are a couple of people you should meet. Frank Moody was 101 years old when he set the age record for the oldest tandem jump in 2004! Then there is the lady who wanted to jump for her 99th birthday and skydived from 12,000 feet. Even youth is not a barrier to this fantastic sport as a four-year-old holds the record for youngest tandem jump from 10,000 feet.
Parachute Life Saving Device
You already know that the parachute is your life saving device when you are floating through the air, but what about water crash landings? There have been numerous reports of military pilots who have been pulled to safety underwater by deploying their chutes!
The record for the highest parachute jump is still held by Captain Kittenger. He was testing high altitude escape systems for the US military when he ascended to over 100,000 feet and jumped. His decent topped out at 714 mph and lasted 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Due to the altitude he was of course wearing a pressure suit.
Many people are concerned that the free fall from an airplane will induce a heart attack! Not so say veteran jumpers, the feeling is not like that of a rollercoaster but instead like floating and the air resistance actually provides a sensation of support.
These are just some fun and interesting facts about skydiving. If you have ever been interested in the sport there are numerous resources for locating a skydiving class near you. Before you will be allowed to jump on your own, most instructors prefer you have about 20 jumps under your belt. You should know of course that some of your instruction is going to take place far above the ground!
Eric Boyd is the owner and operator of Skydive Spaceland a skydive Houston resort and dropzone. Skydive Spaceland uses the most advanced equipment and training for skydiving and tandem skydiving.
16111 FM 521 Rd, Rosharon, Texas 77583
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