We dug up a short list of interesting facts about Parachutes the other day – some of these may surprise you.

  • The first parachute jump was made long before aeroplanes were invented by a brave Frenchman, André Garnerin, who leapt from a balloom in 1797 and lived.
  • The first parachute 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 August 16, 1960. Kittinger was doing high-altitude escape experiments for the air force and jumped from the gondola of an air balloon hovering 102,800 feet above sea level. That’s 19 miles up in the air! Kittenger’s free fall lasted more than 4 1/2 minutes, during which he reached a peak falling speed of 614 mph, the fastest any human has traveled—without a plane!
  • 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.
  • Credit for the invention of the first practical parachute frequently goes to Sebastien Lenormand who demonstrated the parachute principle in 1783. However, parachutes had been imagined and sketched by Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) centuries earlier.
  • Military parachutes have a determined service life without use of 16.5 years, and every personnel parachute is stamped with a manufacturing date that starts its life-cycle clock. A personnel parachute is also stamped with the date that it is first placed in service (PIS). From that point on, a parachute’s service life cannot exceed 12 years.
  • The average age of sport skydivers is 30-39 years old. 84% of these people are male.
  • There are 306 parachute centres (dropzones) worldwide. 54 of which are in Canada compared to 252 in the U.S.
  • No one at Parachute has ever jumped from a plane… yet.