Plane Facts: Parachutes

Plane Facts: Parachutes

Parachute depiction
An early depiction of a parachute.

We have compiled interesting facts about the history and evolution of parachutes.

Derivation of “parachute:” From the Italian “para,” meaning “prevent,” and the French word “chute,” for fall. A device for preventing a fall.
First known parachute concepts: China: Han Dynasty writer Sima Qian in a book of historical legends
Qian’s parachute concept: Two big hats grasped by hand
First modern parachute design: Leonardo da Vinci, 1485
Inventor of the modern parachute: Louis-Sébastien Lenormand, late 1700s, in France
First successful parachute jump: Lenormand, 1783, from a balcony of Tour de la Babote
Approximate height of balcony: 60 feet
Outcome: Lenormand was unhurt
Witnesses: Dozens
First parachute jump from an aircraft: Jean-Pierre Blanchard, 1785, France
Blanchard’s first “guinea pig:” A local dog, who survived the event
First use of parachute as a rescue device from an aircraft: Blanchard again, when his balloon burst. The account was not witnessed.
First all-silk parachute design: Andre Garnerin, 1797
First woman to parachute: Jeanne-Geneviève Garnerin, Andre’s wife
First parachute jump from an airplane: Albert Berry, 1912, St. Louis, Missouri
Berry’s profession: Daredevil
First packed chutes: Early 1900s, concurrent independent development by many
First woman to parachute from a plane: Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick, 1913
First freefall: Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick, again
How “tiny:” 5 feet tall and 85 pounds
Profession: Acrobat and performer
Number of jumps: More than 1,000
Age at death: 85
First use of a parachute as a braking device (drogue chute): 1912
Inventor: Russian Gleb Yevgeniyevich Kotelnikov
First use to stop a plane: Late 1920s
Purpose: To stop Soviet airplanes landing on ice floes
Other Kotelnikov inventions: Backpack parachute, cargo chutes and automatically opening chutes
First use of parachute in wartime: World War I
First use: Disputed. Balloonists and fighter pilots made successful jumps.
First concept of airborne troops: Benjamin Franklin, 1784
First successful paratrooper drop: 1926
Number of airborne troops jumping for Normandy invasion, 1944: More than 13,000
Rank of D-Day airborne assault all time: Fourth
Largest ever: Operation Market Garden, British invasion of Holland
Number of airborne troops: More than 34,000
Largest parachute: Pioneer Aerospace, 52 feet in diameter
Purpose: For Mars landing of spacecraft
Users: Earthlings
Inventor of rocket-powered “ballistic” parachutes: Boris Popov
First certificated whole-airplane parachute system: Cirrus Aircraft
Number of successful saves: More than 200
Person who coined the term “whole-airplane parachute:” Isabel Goyer

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