All About Parachuting Parachuting is, as they say, not for the weak-hearted. That is why it is considered as an extreme sport. While only a handful would actually try it, there are quite many enthusiasts who enjoy it just by watching skydiving shows and exhibitions. But exactly what does parachuting and skydiving entail? Where did it originate and why is it popular even up to this day? Parachuting has been around far longer than we thought. It traces its roots back in 852 A.D., when Arman Firman, wearing a large cloak, crashed and landed after jumping from a tower in Spain. Most did not consider this as the first parachute jump ever made, since he was only wearing a cloak. While many tried to do the first jump, the first recorded jump was in 1797, when Andre Jacques Garnerin used a silk chute after jumping off a hot-air balloon. As airplanes have become more popular, so has the parachute. During World War II, it was used by soldiers and airplane pilots during emergencies and to transport supplies and equipment in war areas. Since then parachutes are popularly used in shows and exhibitions. Skydivers jump out of an aircraft flying at an altitude of about 4000 meters. They free fall for a short period until a specific altitude when they activate the parachute and cause their speed to decelerate as they land. Cords are used to control direction and speed, so they are able to land at a specific spot. Together with the rise of its popularity is the invention of its many designs, all to make the parachute stronger and safer to use. The key is to slow down the opening of the chute and minimize oscillations and sudden jerk that parachutists often feel during descend. To allow more control, holes and slots are added to the canopies. Also, with the many different uses come different designs as well. There are designs for high speed and high altitudes, cargo and sport jumping. Parafoils are also added to provide ease in "flying." Usually, first-time skydivers are strapped together with a professional or experienced skydiver, who activates and controls the parachute. But after experiencing a few jumps and mastering one's flying skills, you'll have the courage to jump on your own until you are hooked with the sport. The sport may seem dangerous, but surprisingly, there are lesser fatalities now. With innovations and safety measures adopted in the US and in most parts of the world, fewer deaths and accidents have occurred in the past years. Among the safety measures is the requirement of a reserved parachute, which must be inspected by a certified parachute rigger. Also, an automatic activation device or AAD is used to activate the reserve parachute at a specific altitude should the skydiver fails to activate it. Altimeters, both visual and audible ones, are also used to let the skydiver know the altitude he's in during a jump. Anyone can experience parachuting and skydiving, for a thousand and one reasons. But before doing your first jump, make sure that you learn the basics and safety measures that this dangerous sport demands. And as any professional skydiver or trainer may tell you, always remain calm and enjoy the moment. After all, the thrilling, exhilarating feeling is what brings people to love this sport. What are Parachutes? Skydiving is now one of the most popular extreme sports in modern times. The thrill of free falling in the sky and landing softly on the ground is an undeniably adrenaline pumping experience. The most important thing about this sport is the parachute. Kids can make homemade parachutes with the right materials. Having a real one is a totally different story. Parachutes have a long history and development. Thanks to several daredevils it is now much safer to use compared before. Parachutes have been made of different materials through out its development. There are also different types of parachutes that have been used throughout history. Before you think of going for skydiving lessons you have to know what parachutes are to ensure your safety. If your parachute does not deploy the way it should, it will fatal for you. Parachutes The word parachute means against the fall. It is designed to slow the motion of an object. Normally it used by people to slow down their descent to earth or to other celestial bodies. It can also be used to slow down the descent of objects to the atmosphere. They can slow down not just vertical but also horizontal deceleration. Drogue parachutes are used to slow down fixed wing aircrafts and drag racers. They are have been made of different materials through the years. The very first one was made of a cloak with wooden struts. The parachute was conical shaped the same with Leonardo da Vinci's sketches. Rigid parasol was used in China for entertainment. Modern designs are made of nylon that has "rip stop" and "Zero porosity" technology. Rip stop gives it a weave pattern which prevents it from tearing and ripping apart when used. The zero porosity technology prevents the air from passing through the fabric. The first modern design was invented by Louis-Sebastien Lenormand in 1783. At that time it was thought to be used as a means for getting off a hot air balloon. It was then used for military purposes in the 19th century. It was used by artillery spotters in World War 1 that were secured to observation balloons. In World War II they were used for surprise attacks by landing soldiers on the enemy line. First modern designs where round and usually used by paratroopers when they are deployed by an aircraft. These are usually drag devices which means they are not maneuverable and provide no lift. These were replaced by square ones through the Advance Tactical Parachute System. Another variation of the round parachutes is the annular and pull apex. It's a round parachute with suspension lines to the campy apex. A fabric can be removed at the apex to open a hole that releases the air and provides annular geometry. A similarity to this is the ribbon and ring parachutes that were designed to deploy at high speeds. They have ring shaped canopies with a hole in the center to release the pressure. The commonly used design today is the Ram-air parachute. They have parafoils that have the same capabilities as paragliders. They enable the person to control the speed and direction for a soft landing. Ram-air parachutes are used for skydiving and recreational purposes. They also have reserves for emergency and are packed in such a way that will guarantee proper deployment. Types of Parachutes In its basic sense, a parachute is neither made for travel and sports, it was created to increase safety while descending from a certain altitude. It is a medium to delay the pull of gravity from earth when deployed form higher altitude. In short, it makes the dropping of an item, a person or equipment vertically or diagonally slower by reducing the amount of dragging force while maintaining a balance so that the item would remain safe until it reaches the ground. Early physicists have made use of this principle and newer develops in parachuting technology led to the creation of various types of parachutes. Early types of parachutes Parasol type -- Though not strictly called parachutes, the parasols were commonly used by performers in China to create a slow falling effect onstage. Conical parachute -- Possibly the earliest form of parachute is the conical shaped-parachute which appeared during 1470s in Italy preceding the design conceptualized by Leonardo da Vinci. As an escape device, this type of parachute was intended to allow people to get safely on the ground from burning buildings. However, there are no written records whether this parachute was ever used for that purpose. Pyramid Parachute -- Another design by Leonardo da Vinci, this parachute was conceptualized in Milan during the early part of 1480. It was a canopy that is supported by light wood held by a square bottom frame. Pack-style parachute -- This is the predecessor of all parachutes that are stored in casings these days. Round parachutes -- A basic drag device, round parachute is used in various settings like medical missions, cargo applications and military operations. While being described commonly as round in shape, the parachute actually resembles a dome or a jellyfish. This has been among the most popular type however; present-day parachutists don't normally use this kind of parachute. The earliest round parachutes were circulars with flat surfaces that made them unstable, thus causing a number of deaths and injuries on parachutists. To add more stability, military round parachutes were made parabolic or conical in shape. There are two types of round parachutes- steerable and non-steerable. Like ram-air parachutes, non-steerable parachutes can't be maneuvered to intended direction thus this type glides only to the direction of the wind lending no control to the parachutists. However, steering is provided through cutting large holes in the edges giving relatively partial forward speed. Square parachutes -- The cruciform design helps reduce oscillation. It is commonly used today by sport skydivers. Ram-air parachutes -- For better control of speed and direction, ram-air parachutes allow the canopies to self-inflate. Like standard paragliders, ram-air parachutes are designed to hold, spread and lessen the tension of parachute deployment on terminal velocity. Ribbon/Ring Parachute -- Specifically designed for supersonic speeds where ordinary parachutes would break down, this type often has a hole in the middle of the canopy to lessen the pressure as the parachute reaches the ground. On some designs, the ring of the canopy is broken into a number of ribbons that are connected by ropes so as to allow more air to pass. The leaks in between the ribbons will diminish the pressure on the parachute so that breaking or shredding of the canopy is prevented. These various types of parachutes are made according to the use they have and some are according to the technology the inventors had during their time. How do Parachutes Work? Parachutes were very amusing when you're a kid. They are common science projects at school. They are fairly easy to make and require only inexpensive materials. However in the real world, using a parachute while free falling has serious implications. If the parachute does not deploy at the right moment, the person can fall to their death. Fortunately they have gone through developments and trials throughout the decades for safer landings. Understanding the principle behind a parachute is easy but understanding how parachutes work is essential. By knowing the correct sequence of deployment you'll know that you will be able to make it to the ground in one piece. Parachutes are packed by the owners themselves or riggers. They must be packed properly so that they will deploy correctly. It would take a lot of effort to pack a parachute. Modern designs have zero porosity which means the air can't pass through the fabric, making harder to fold. A reserve is also packed along with the main parachute in case something goes wrong. The reserve is also packed by rigger. Is taken out and repacked again every couple of months so that it won't get stiff. Deployment sequence In a normal situation the deployment sequence has steps. To start the sequence the skydiver pulls out the drogue chute. It's inside a little pouch placed at the bottom of the container or knapsack. When the drogue inflates it pulls the bridle. The bridle is a nylon webbing which is ten to twenty feet long. This in turn pulls the closing pin. The pin holds the canopy. When the pin is pulled it gives out a small pop. The other end of the bridle is connected to the deployment bag. The deployment bag contains the lines placed in a zig zag pattern underneath and the parachute. As the drogue and the bridle continue to pull upward, all the lines will be unfolded and stretch out. The line in turn, pulls out the risers as it continues to unfold. The risers have nylon straps that connect the lines and the parachute to the container which is carried by the skydiver. The parachute is pulled out of the deployment bag by the tension in the lines. The wind then inflates the canopy. Modern designs called Ram-air parachutes have sliders. They hold the lines together and prevent the canopy from opening to quickly. If that opens it can cause a tear in the canopy and/or hurt the skydiver. When the parachute is completely out and opened the skydiver can grab the toggles to be able to steer the parachute towards the landing site. Unfortunately there is still the possibility of something going wrong. A part of the main canopy may not inflate or entirely at all, it may get tangled in the lines, rips or never comes out of the deployment bag. If any of this happens the skydiver can deploy the reserve. You have to cut away the main canopy first to be able to do this. A release handle can be pulled out of your shoulder straps to cut away the main canopy. After that, either the reserve deploys automatically due to the reserve static line. On other designs the skydiver has to pull out a second handle to release the reserve. Let's just hope in both of these cases he reserve deploys correctly. Parachute Science We all know what parachutes are for. They are very to make as a science project. However the science behind a parachute is not as easy as you think. There are key factors that you have to consider. Experimenting may take a bit of patience if you intend to study them seriously. They came in different sizes and designs. For a parachute to able to work in real life, actually takes accuracy and extra caution, after all lives are at risk. Modern designs have come along way compared to their earlier forms. The very first modern parachute was invented in 1783 but there were also earlier forms. Several individuals have dared to take the leapt to test their designs. Some were successful but some lost their lives due to poor designs and setbacks. Science behind the parachute The earlier forms were made of fabric and wooden struts. Most of these were conical shaped. At that time the parachute was only intended for entertainment. It was later on conceived as an escape device two years after the modern parachute was invented. It was used to get off a hot air balloon. Later developments lead to the use of silk, vented parachute and knapsack parachutes. After successful jumps it was then used in the military during World War I and II. Nowadays it is more popularly used for extreme sports such as skydiving. The main idea behind it is that the parachute slows down a falling object. It does this by creating a drag or air resistance. When the parachute canopy is deployed the air molecules move farther out creating drag. The more drag that is created the slower the object falls down. The drag or air resistance depends on the surface area of the object. Parachute canopies have large surface area which creates enough drag for its passenger. Shapes also have an effect on the efficiency of the parachute. Modern designs have rectangular or tapered shapes. Tapered parachutes are in parachute sports. They have more fabric cells to enable more control and speed. Rectangular ones on the other hand are used for recreation. The safer and more frequently used in training programs for students. Parachutes must also be packed correctly for it to deploy properly. If the canopy deploys too quickly it may rip and/or hurt the skydiver. The canopy may get tangled with the lines or does not inflate. The lines may also break. Due to this sliders were added in Ram air parachutes to slow down the opening of the canopy. Modern designs also have a rip cord and zero porosity technology. The ripcord enables the parachute to deploy correctly and the zero porosity prevents air from passing through the nylon fabric. There are variations to the modern design because of parachute sports. BASE jumpers use a different design when compared to paragliders. Different designs play a role in the efficiency of the parachute. All in all the efficiency of the parachute will depend in the materials, design and how it is packed. Reserve parachutes are also available when the main canopy fails. Let's just hope that it will deploy correctly this time. Parachutes are packed by their own skydivers and reserves are packed by riggers. The science behind parachute is important to make sure that you are informed on what is supposed to happen. A Brief History of Parachutes The physics behind a parachute is easy to understand. But making real ones are far from easy. Making toy parachutes seem like a good idea for an easy science project but experimenting with different variations is not as easy as tying strings to a fabric. Making parachutes for use in real life takes a lot of risk and accuracy. Before modern parachutes gave us the thrill of skydiving it took a lot of guts for early investors to design parachutes that actually work and not fall them to their death. The history of parachutes went through a lot of development and a few deaths. The modern parachute was invented by Louis-Sebastien Lenormand in 1783. However there are earlier versions of parachutes created by a few centuries earlier. Before the silk parachute was invented, there were basic designs built that worked in the same principles. Parachutes, past and present The earliest form was a cloak attached to wooden struts. It was made by an Arab Muslim named Arem Firman in the 9th century. He jumped from a tower in Cordoba and suffered only minor injuries. Parasols were used in China for entertainment. It allows entertainers to jump form high places and float to the ground. Leonardo da Vinci also sketched parachute with conical designs. It served as an escape device to enable people to jump from burning buildings. In 1617 Faust Vrancic was the first person to be able to make a successful jump with a parachute. Jean Pierre Blanchard developed his own parachute as a means to get off a hot air balloon. His first demonstrations were done with a dog as the passenger. He later on unintentionally put his invention to the test as he escaped from his ruptured hot air balloon. In the 1790's he made a parachute out of silk which were more stringer and lighter than previously used materials. Early parachutes were made of linen with a wooden frame. Andre Garnerin invented the vented parachute in 1797 and made a successful jump using Blanchard's design. The vented parachute improved stability during descent. Gleb Kotelnikov invented he knapsack parachute. It was popularized by Katchlen Paulus and Paul Letterman. The first major use of parachutes was in the military. It was by artillery spotters and pilots. Unfortunately the parachutes were heavy and pilots were not able to use it entirely. The German Air Service provided parachutes to their pilots. Unfortunately there were many setbacks that most of the pilots died when using them. Leslie Irvin was able to invent a parachute that can be used by pilots when jumping out of an airplane in 1919. The Irvin parachute became successful leading to the creation of the Caterpillar Club. Experiments on parachutes were continued by several countries. It was then used in surprise attacks by dropping soldiers in enemy lines in World War II. The soldiers were called paratroopers. Airborne forces and crew were trained and equipped with parachutes. Their designs were developed and improved over time. After the war parachutes were used in skydiving which is an extreme sport. The latest parachute is called Ram-air which has the same capability of a paraglider. It enables its passenger to control the speed and direction of the parachute for a soft landing. It's made of nylon and uses the latest technology to prevent tearing. Finding the Best Parachuting Equipment Undoubtedly, parachuting is among the most popular sports in its genre. Much of its popularity can be imputed to the portrayal of this dare devil sport in the movies and ads. But unfortunately, parachuting is no cheap sport. Purchase of a brand-new complete set of equipment can really be very expensive, not to mention skydiving lessons, skydiving apparel, and the cost of an actual jump. That is why it is important to know where and how to find the best parachuting equipment for you. The main part of your equipment is the chute system. A special backpack is used to keep two parachutes. While years ago, only one parachute is required, now skydivers are required to pack a second one in case the first parachute fails to open. This backpack has straps for your legs and chest. You can also have an automatic activation device, a mechanism that triggers the opening of the parachute at a certain altitude if you fail to activate its opening. This fail-safe mechanism makes it an essential part of any parachuting equipment. Generally, newbies are advised to use bigger parachutes. As one becomes more skilled, your parachute may be smaller and more responsive. Now to purchase this equipment, there are two options for you. If you are seriously thinking of making skydiving a sport, then it is wise to invest in new gear. Or you may also purchase used ones which may be relatively cheaper but are just as durable as well. You can browse through skydiving websites which also feature equipment for sale, or some other sites which support online purchases. Here you can see the different kinds of parachutes available. Some sites even compare the equipment by price and performance. Some sites have forums for skydiving enthusiasts. You may post questions and read postings to give you an idea on which equipment to buy. Since these members are more knowledgeable because they are speaking through experience, it is wise to follow their advice. You can also visit a sports shop in your locality. The good thing about visiting these shops is you are able to inspect the equipment prior to purchasing it. These stores may even put the equipment on sale or on discount during off-season. Ask their sales agents for more information on the different products. One technique that professional skydivers do is to look for updates in the internet and then visit the local shop to personally check the equipment. Choose the best and latest equipment that you can find. Innovations in the materials used and the design make the new equipment more hard-wearing and effective than old parachutes. Also check for trends and new safety devices. You can also purchase used equipment. Apart from the cost, another advantage of this type of equipment is that you are able to choose well by trying on different types before choosing one that you prefer the most. Parachuting equipment, when properly used and maintained, can go a long way. Others would suggest on buying expensive gear, while others prefer buying the cheaper ones. Whatever equipment you will use, nothing beats proper inspection of your equipment before a jump. And of course, you must know how to use them properly. Parachuting accidents can actually be avoided if one observes due diligence and gives full attention to detail. Thrill Seeker's Guide to the Right Parachute Parachutes are essential for skydivers, either for recreation or competition. Although skydivers across the globe are trying to land without one, this feat is not proven yet. There are many variants in parachute designs and sports. Most enthusiasts know what they need including safety guides since they are trained. However newcomers and thrill seekers are not that aware. Before you decide to try an extreme sport you have to follow safety guides to prevent anything from going wrong. Landing looks pretty easy for any veteran. However for a newcomer, it's not as good option to be complacent. Selecting the right parachute will depend on what extreme sport you decide to pursue. Modern designs come in different variants and some are personalized. Picking your parachute and buyer's guide The right will depend on what type of sport you embark on. The main difference lies on the canopy and the overall design of the parachute. If you plan on taking it easy you can start with skydiving or parasailing. Newcomers can enroll on skydiving clubs that will teach you the basics. Parachutes used for skydiving are called Ram Air. They are equipped with parafoils that make them safe and easy to control. They also have two sheets that provide high pressure for better direction and stability. Parasailing on the other hand uses a parasail. It is a ParaCommander type of parachute which is a variation of the round parachute. It has suspension lines attached to the apex of the canopy. Ribbon and ring parachutes are used in speed skydiving. They are made to deploy at supersonic speeds. The canopy is ring shaped and the ribbons spread under extreme pressure. The canopy has a large hole in the center to release pressure. The most common type of design among newcomers is the Ram Air parachute. Ram air parachutes can either be rectangular or tapered. They are very stable and usually used for recreational skydiving and courses. Rectangular ram air parachutes are also used for BASE jumping, canopy formation and as reserves. BASE jumping is extreme dangerous though because you have to jumped from fixed objects. BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth. Antennas can be towers that are uninhabited, spans can be bridges or arches, earth are cliffs or other natural formations. The size and shape of the canopy is also important because it affects the efficacy of the parachute. The size of the canopy depends upon its payload or passenger. You have to make sure the canopy has enough capacity for your body weight. Heavy weights need larger canopies and thicker lines or cords. The weight capacity can be founding the package. Make sure that your parachute will be able to support your descent. Knowing all of this is enough. It's better to take courses first before attempting to make a jump. Apart from having the right parachute you also have to make sure that they are packed right. If not the main canopy may not inflate or get tangled in the lines. If they inflate too quickly the lines may break and the canopy may tear. Having fun is good as long as you know that you are on the safe side. Surviving a fall is rare even records prove that individuals were able to do so. Make sure you have done all the safety procedures and read all the guides. Parachuting Gear -- Knowing What to Wear Who doesn't enjoy a skydiving exhibition? The formation and techniques that experienced skydivers do as they jump, free fall and slowly descend can be breathtaking for the average spectator. If it is exciting for the audience, then it is no doubt twice as exciting for the skydiver himself. But while most skydivers focus on perfecting their skills and using the best and latest equipment, some of them neglect another important aspect of skydiving. This is the parachuting gear. The basic parachuting gear is the jumpsuit. Others use a wing suit. Any skydiver will tell you the importance of a jumpsuit. Imagine if one wears jeans and a tank top during a dive. The clothes would well be torn into pieces because of the pressure from the winds. A jumpsuit protects you from the winds, sun and other elements. It also protects you as you land. Not all landings are perfect. Others land on their back, or your parachute can be caught in a tree, causing you to bruise against the branches. A good jumpsuit must be able to protect you from scratches, cuts and bruises. Aside from the jumpsuit, other pieces which a skydiver must have include protective gear. Helmet, padding and spinal protector are just among the few gadgets that you must wear. Choose the gear that would best suit you. In choosing the right gear, choose one which is made of some durable material, one that does not easily tear or break when exposed to heavy winds. It must also be heat-resistant and waterproof. Also, make sure that the suit fits you well. A suit that is too tight restricts your movement, aside from the fact that it may break or tear upon pressure. One that is too loose may also open easily when subjected to strong winds. There are some sports shops or specialty shops which sell these types of apparel. You may also visit some websites and make an online purchase. Seek advice from your trainer or other professional skydivers as to which apparel or style is better in terms of performance and cost. If you want a perfect-fitting jumpsuit, you can have it tailor-made. There are some tailoring shops which specialize in making skydiving gear. Although this may be a little more costly than the ready-made ones, the comfort that a perfect-fitting jumpsuit brings to the user is priceless. While a new jumpsuit may be ideal, for those who are in a tight budget, there are also used materials that you can find. Ask the sales person from your local sports store or some specialty shop if they have any second-hand apparel for sale. Or your new friends in the skydiving club may have some extra gear that they can sell to you. Because of the forces of nature that a skydiver is exposed to, it is therefore important to invest on some hard-wearing parachuting gear. The gear need not be expensive. The important thing to consider is your comfort and your safety. The gear must be able to protect you as you go through the experience of skydiving. And it must be comfortable so that you will enjoy the experience. Otherwise, all the skydiving lessons and practice that you did will be put to waste if you don't wear the perfect gear during the dive. A Brief Guide to Parachute Pants Parachutes have gone through a lot of developments and use. Its purposes are not just escape devices. After the World War I and II more developments to its design lead it to be used for other purposes such as sports and recreation. Parachutes are safer than they were decades ago, which garnered the interest of thrill seekers and extreme sport enthusiasts. Although the parachute is the main focus, other accessories such as the pants are also equally important. Parachute pants have also been associated with the 80's. The pants are used to go along with the parachute. Other designs include jumpsuits and wing suits. The design depends on its purposes. Companies make different prototypes that can be used in different kind of sports. They are also associated with the clothing trend during the 80's and MC hammer. Pants for jumping and breakdancing Parachute pants are made of ripstop nylon. This type of fabric is water repellent and lightweight. They have interweaving ripstop threads that are reinforced in a crosshatch pattern. This enables the pants to resist ripping or tearing. This type of fabric was also used to replace silk that were originally used in making parachutes in World War II. These pants can be custom made and are made to fit the wearer. Companies have their own sizing system and use the customer's measurements to make one. Typically, they have standard features such as elasticized waistband, crocodile closing system, zip front fly and Velcro knee reinforcements. They can be matched with a top. They also became popular in American culture in the 80's because of breakdancing. Breakdancers used nylon to make their own trousers and jumpsuits. This enables them to do fast and intricate routines that they call "downrock" without tearing their pants. It also decreases the friction to be able to do speedy moves. The use of nylon and its large baggy cut resembled parachute pants. It was then later on labeled as parachute pants. They gained more popularity when they were used by hip hop artists. This time they were light weight, loose fitted, and styled with excessive zippers, folds and pockets. The baggy cut and folds creates a visual effect which enhances the rhythm of the dancer's moves. The pockets are not really usable and are merely used to add another zipper or another superficial feature to the pants. They are designed with bright colors, neon patterns, and Middle Eastern prints which are different from its predecessors made by breakdancers. These pants went out of style in the 90's. They were rather mocked by people as an emblem of the era of excess which was the 80's. They did make a comeback though but they were used by individuals in the Rave scene. Unlike before they became functional and the many pockets were put to use. They have a zipper in the calf to vent the leg for cooling in hot dance floors or remove the lower part of the pants. The design and materials are similar to the ones in the 80's but more usable. They were called "Phat Pants." Parachute pants, along with body position, enhance skydiving and play a big role when competing in sports. There are many companies that manufacture this type of clothing. They can also add drag and play a role in the aerodynamics of skydiving and other parachute sports. Military Parachuting -- History and Later Developments From the first demonstration by a girl in 1914 to the final jump in the Pacific in the World War II, military parachuting proved to be of great value in military operations. The year 1914 marked the first occasion that the military considered the use of airborne attack during battles and attacks. The use of parachuting was demonstrated by Charles Broadwick through his adopted 20 year old daughter Tiny. She gave perfect steering and landing but she was never seen after the jump. The design then was a basic backpack container which resembled a sleeveless coat. While the military officers who witnessed the demonstration were enthusiastic about the project, the Army never approved of it, dismissing the benefits that could have otherwise turned the war in their favor. Later in the World War I, the pilots were made to fly without parachutes due to the belief of the generals that these men would abandon their planes in the slightest sign of provocation. However, the Germans were already using parachutes for their military operations. While the design is rather basic, composed only of a canopy, several suspension lines and a container for the parachute, the parachutes gave the Germans good advantage over their enemies. The mechanism was a bit crude but it was a cause of envy among pilots. After which, the Army was forced to adopt the use of parachutes in their operations which caused different results. In Normandy for example, of using parachutes yield great results in spite of the fact that the troops were highly disorganized thus the paratroopers went in different directions. Several developments were made on the military parachutes. Nowadays, there are several designs that are being used for military operations. These are highly sophisticated designs that were made exclusively for military use. Also, there are some military divisions that are dedicated to the use of parachuting to deliver men and supplies to ground. Special Operations Force, for example, performs high altitude jumping to accomplish missions. They include forces like Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets. On the other hand, Pararescue PJs make use of the HALO/HAHO as an important component of their paramedic operations. HALO and HAHO jumps, High Altitude Low Opening and High Altitude High Opening jumps respectively are very unlike static-line jump which is the basic type of military parachuting and is done at a maximum altitude of 1000 feet. Static-line deploys paratroopers at the quickest way possible. In the HALO or military skydiving, the jumpers freefall in groups. In sport sky divers this means no-contact RW. On the other hand, HAHO is similar to cross country skydiving where the jumper glides from an altitude of 25, 000 feet. HAPPS or High Altitude Precision Parachute System (also popularly known as stealth parachutes because these cannot be seen easily on the ground) is the skydiving rig used in military operations. This rig is quite similar to the ones used by sports skydivers; the only main difference is that there are attachments in the HAPPS that allow for other items to be carried. Also, there is a harness for the O2 gear. For both canopies, the usual size is 360 sq feet. Oftentimes, the soldiers have to carry 150 lbs of equipment when deployed in remote areas which require special features that will support this weight. Military parachuting, with all its sophistications and advancements, is made for tactical operations alone and not for recreation. Videos of Parachuting -- Fun Way to Know the Sport Better When one talks about parachuting, several things come to mind. The exhilarating feeling it gives to most skydivers, the high cost of its equipment, and the danger that comes along with it are some of them. But just the same, the sport remains popular not only among skydivers but spectators as well. In fact, more enthusiasts are enjoying the sport not only by going to actual skydiving and parachuting events but also by watching videos on parachuting. Skydiving and parachuting is one of the most popular activities in most sunny areas of the world. The excitement and adrenaline rush that it gives the skydiver is something that no other sport can give. Maybe because it gives men the illusion of flying that makes it really popular. Because it is now considered more of a sport than just a recreational activity, there are several disciplines that call for both recreational and competitive events. Among the other disciplines are formation skydiving, sky surfing, free fall skydiving, paraski, canopy formation and BASE skydiving. While there may be some accidents that occur during skydiving, these could be attributed to negligence and inexperience. These fatalities should not hinder you from trying it anyway. It is estimated that less than 1 in 1,000 jumps experience opening malfunction. Before any jump, you must make sure that you have the proper equipment and training that you need. Examine your gear. Check them for any problems. Sometimes trained riggers do the packing of the parachute. Most people pack a second chute as back-up in case the main chute fails to open. You must also learn the sport well. Look for skydiving facilities in your area and ask a trainer to teach you. You can join a skydiving club or organization in your area. You can also look at some listings of professional skydivers and see if anyone can train you. Some trainers use videos in teaching. This makes learning more effective, since you will be able to see how it is actually done aside from reading it in books or hearing it from your trainer. Aside from these instructional videos, you may also watch videos in some websites dedicated to skydiving. Here enthusiasts upload videos that are both instructional and entertaining. You will also learn tips and techniques in skydiving. Other skydiving enthusiasts can post their comments and opinions on important areas of skydiving such as equipment, apparel and skydiving sites. To find more videos, you can look at websites which provide video sharing and type the keywords "parachuting" or "skydiving." You will be surprised at the number of videos uploaded by members. You will see different formations and styles in shows and skydiving exhibitions. Of course, there may also be accidents that will be uploaded there. There are many videos of parachuting that you can watch. When watching the instructional ones, you can actually learn the basics of skydiving before doing your first jump. On the down side, watching videos which feature accidents may leave you feeling afraid, causing you to dread the sport without even trying it first. However it may affect you, watching the videos remains to be entertaining and educational at the same time. And they are readily available and accessible when you want to watch them. Making Sense of Powered Parachutes Anyone, except the agoraphobics maybe, have at sometime dreamt of flying. A few of us have followed this dream only to find out that flying an airplane is more like driving a truck. However, other people sought other avenues of flying like skydiving and parachuting. Well if you are still contemplating this dream, you might consider driving a car in the sky. Powered parachute is more like maneuvering a family car above the land, only you have flexible wings. It is a recreational activity which combines parachute wing technology with an engine. Advantages of getting a powered parachute: It requires no license -- You surely have to train for several hours on how to operate this kind of parachute but you don't have to earn a considerable amount of experience or pass a number of qualifications before you are able to drive one like this. In fact, there is no need to get a pilot's license since this machine is classified as an ultra light vehicle. It is relatively inexpensive -- When compared to jets or airplanes, it is doubtless that this type of parachute is a lot more inexpensive. The price of a parachute like this usually runs around the price of family car. The regular maintenance is such that you would not pay more than $1,000 a year. Also, it runs on premium auto oil. It is convenient -- Unlike other powered aircrafts, this parachute does not need a runway to take off from or to land on, and a considerable stretch of smooth field will do. It is easy to operate -- Its popularity could be largely attributed to how easy it could be operated. If you are a car driver, chances are you could learn to drive this one too. It is safe -- The sports type of parachuting, while categorized as an extreme sport, does not necessarily mean that it has high injury or fatality rate. In fact, there are only around 30 plus people in every 100,000 who die in this type of sports. The same is true when in powered parachuting. In fact, this is the safest aircraft used in recreation available. The deployment of the canopy is not really a problem since the aircraft would not leave the ground if this does not open, the aircraft does not stall and it is fairly stable due to the pendulum effect of the hanging cart. In case the engine dies, the aircraft was designed to glide safely to the ground. It provides the experience of flying -- Not everyone has the money to rent his private jet or to fly his own airplane but anyone who has the capacity to buy a second or a third car could buy an aircraft that will let him explore the sky. The handler can fly as high as the engine allows and as low as "just above the ground". You could fly at around 10,000 ft and glide down or just hover around the treetops to indulge in the view down below. Top this with the constant speed of 30 mph which will allow you to enjoy the experience without worrying too much on whether you are going too fast or too slow. Power parachutes have their inherent advantages which were designed exactly for people who once dreamt of flying. If you can't tolerate the adrenaline rush of sky diving or BASE jumping, perhaps this recreational aircraft could be a good choice for you. Parachute Skydiving and Other Sports After World War I and II parachutes were used for different purposes. Pushing the limits of extreme sports, new variants of parachuting was created. The origin of skydiving in uncertain but its popularity later on led to different sports and events around the world. Others engage in this activity for thrills, while serious skydivers join competitions around the world. Parachuting sports are also included in the Olympics which made it not just another recreational activity for adrenaline junkies. Parachute skydiving comes in different variants. Most of these variants are still related to skydiving with certain modifications. Parachutes come in different designs which make them accessible for different uses. There are many Parachuting organizations that hold events for their members.
Parachute skydiving There are many sports that are related to parachuting. Most people are aware of skydiving as a recreational activity an extreme sport. However there are also other variants that parachute enthusiast engage in. Most of theses sports involve a lot of skill and requires proper training. They test the ability of the pilot to control their parachutes at different levels. One of the variants is the Accuracy landing. The main objective is to land as close as possible to a target. Teams are composed of 5 members that compete in 8 rounds. The members of the team jump together from 2,700 feet to 3,300 feet. Each member should land as close as possible or exactly dead center of the target. The score is measured from the dead center in meters. Scores are added each round. They considered as individual and team scores. Blade running involves participants flying down a mountain and making their way through slalom courses using their parachutes. Pilots use a different kind of parachute that gives them more speed. These parachutes have smaller surface areas. This requires a lot of ability in canopy control. It's a winter sport which is a cross between slalom skiing and skydiving. Its inventor is hoping that it will get featured in the winter X games. Canopy formation is another variant wherein participants built formations. This is done by flying their own parachutes close to each other and docking on their teammate's parachutes. This may sound easy but it takes a lot of coordination and timing to be able to complete a formation. If one of the team makes a mistake, the formation will break. Free falling is does not offer much time too and members should be very well coordinated and organized to be able to accomplish a good formation. Freeflying is another form of skydiving wherein the skydiver makes different positions which increases speed. This enables the skydiver to perform different routines and formations. Besides the conventional belly-to-earth position, they also do sit flying, back flying, head up or down flying, and side flying. This can be dangerous because they increase the speed of the skydiver. Participants have to make the box position at the right moment to slow down and be able to deploy their parachutes. These are some of the variations of parachute skydiving. They often range from potentially risky to extremely dangerous activities. Participants should take their corresponding courses undergoing any type of parachute sport. After all, if anything fails while you're up in the air you can fall down to your death. There's a difference between taking a risk and inviting danger. Parasailing: The Thrill of Flying with Less Risks Parachuting is not for the faint of heart. Although modern parachutes are now safer than they were decades before fear of heights will always permeate through society. Up in the air anything can still happen. When you're free falling up in the air you only have a parachute to help you from falling to your death. Let's just hope that your reserve works when your parachute fails. Fortunately for those who are extra cautious, there is a recreation that will still give the opportunity that is harmless. Most parachute skydiving involves a lot risk. Jumping off an aircraft thousands of feet from the ground already strikes fear. Fortunately parasailing eliminates that for a more comfortable ride. This recreational activity is usually offered at resorts for vacationers and tourists. Harmless fun by the beach The concept of parasailing began in the 60's. Pierre Lamoigne unintentionally started the sport. He attached a parachute to his moving car to help his training for safe landing techniques. He used this method because it's the easiest way to raise the pilot without having to use an aircraft. He was a parachute teacher and used this method to instruct his students. The intention was to raise the pilot high enough and then set him free to float. However when he did not set the pilot free this contributed to the start of the sport. Colonel Michel Tournier flew behind a tractor using his parachute in 1961. In the 70's Mark McCulloh used the parachutes at sea. He started raising the parachutes on the shore. After that he used a motorized platform he designed and later on a boat to raise his parachute. Water provided safer landings so parasailing were done at sea since then. He later on created the parasail winchboat. In 1963 the Parachute Pioneer Company began making parasails. Jacques-Andre Istel bought the license from Pierre Lamoigne who made the first parasail to able to manufacture and sell it. Brian Gaskin also made some of the early parasails. He experimented with parachutes that were made in the 60's and later on created the "Waterbird". It's the first true parasail that became the template for modern ones used today. In 1975 Brain Gaskin founded "Waterbird Parakites", a company that makes parasails for commercial and recreational use in United Kingdom. McCulloh's parasail winchboat (which was introduced in the 80's) along with Brian Gaskin's "Waterbird" created a combination that made parasailing widespread. All parasailing operators use winchboats that are equipped with a power take off. The boat's engine serves as a hydraulic winch. Parasails are annular and pull down apex type of parachutes. It is originally a variant of the round parachute with suspension lines and a hole in the apex that can be opened. Water parasailing is mostly recreational while the ones done in land is a competitive sport in Finland. In land parasailing, instead of using a boat, they use a car or a snowmobile to raise the parasail. The vehicle towing the parasail controls the height and speed while the parascender controls lateral movement. If you are looking for a safe thrilling ride then parasailing is for you. The faint of heart does not need to jump of a plane into dizzying heights. The water provides soft landing and a life vest comes as standard equipment. Parachuting Statistics on Accidents Despite the lack of concrete parachuting statistics, misconceptions still surround both parachuting and skydiving. Many people believe that every year, there are a lot of individuals who die or get injured because of parachuting and they attribute a great number of reasons to these wrong assumptions. There are only several reasons why parachuting accidents occur including malfunctioning equipment such as a canopy or a reserve canopy that did not open, collisions between jumpers, and difficulties during landing. Malfunctioning equipment is said to have claimed more lives than the other two major causes of accidents. However, operator error is the real culprit for most of the time. For one, jumpers do not use just one canopy, instead they have a main canopy and second canopy which makes it almost impossible for jumpers to get injured because of malfunctioning equipment. Also, it is usually the problem of lines tangling rather than broken parachutes. On the other hand, difficulty in landing is usually contributed by factors that are often not subject to the control of the jumper. Usually, accidents due to landing are attributed to poor estimation of how much longer jumpers have to take to perform maneuvers in the air. The third reason is largely due to jumpers deploying their parachutes so closely together. It is easy for people to believe that novices are involved in more parachuting accidents than experts. But in reality, there are lesser chances that students will get injured or die during jumps. In fact, there are more expert jumpers who die each year in parachuting than students due to the fact that they tend to try higher altitudes which increase the risk of accidents. According to studies, parachuting is considerably safer when compared with perceived lesser risky sports such as scuba diving or board surfing. In fact the average death due to parachuting is only 30 in every 100,000 jumps while there is a higher rate of 47 deaths in every 1000,000 scuba diving exercises every year. There is a higher rate of death in mountain climbing totaling to 50 deaths in every 100,000 and 67 lives are claimed every year because of hot air ballooning. Interestingly history proved that parachuting accidents could be deterred even when it seems most impossible. There are so many accounts in the past, particularly in World War I and II, which proved that people jumped and met accidents while airborne and still managed to get through it with minor injuries. And there are those who miraculously survived the feat with only bruises. In all there are 21 people who died during 2004 due to parachuting, 25 in 2003, 33 jumpers in 2002, and 35 people in 2001. Some of these deaths may have occurred due to jumping without parachutes. Accidents in extreme sports are inevitable. However, it is surprising that people's common perception is not always right. A sport may seem to be less risky but actually has higher risks than those sports that are more exciting and exposes people to more hazards. Parachuting is among those sports that are perceived to excite the nerves because of thrill but actually has a lot lower percentage of injuring or killing people. This is just not another false perception; it is real and is backed by parachuting statistics. Three Ways of Making a Parachute It may not be much but making a parachute could be a very fun activity, both for the exercise of knowledge on aerodynamics , or maybe some things more about physics and just for the sheer fun of it. Also, it is a good alternative to common toys seen in the market today. Introduction A parachute is a device which uses the effect of drag to slow down its descent from high latitudes. It was invented by a man named Louis-Sebastien Lenormand during 1783 and is not used both for military and recreational activities. Its general design includes a canopy that is made of a lightweight fabric that supports the suspension lines and is supported by tapes. Similar materials are used in almost all forms of parachutes. Here are three modifications on making a parachute. Parachute Model No. 1 Materials needed: * A piece of lightweight cloth, preferably 30 cm sq (handkerchief, bandana or scarf could be used) * A weight (could be a small toy, a metal washer or any piece of small item that could give sufficient weight to the parachute) * 4 pieces of 40 cm long strings Instructions: Using the overhand knot, tie each corner of the lightweight cloth. Afterwards, tie each string to the inner edge of the knot allowing the bulk of the knot to stop the string to slip off. Collect all strings in one hand and pull the center of the cloth using the fingers. Again using an overhand knot, tie all the ends of the strings together allowing, as much as possible don't leave a space at the end of the strings. Finally, attach the weight to the parachute. If you are using a washer, use a lark's head knot. To test the mini parachute, try dropping it from shoulders' height. Make the necessary adjustments to achieve better gliding motion. Parachute Model No. 2 Materials needed: * A polythene bag (I possible make use of a stretchy polythene bag) * Four one-foot long stings * A paper clip * Modeling clay Instructions: Cut a 12 by 12 inch sq from the polythene bag. Make a hole on each side of the square. Tie the strings to all sides of the hole, making the length of all strings as uniformed as possible then tie the free ends of the strings using an overhand knot. Attach a paper clip to the tied ends. Meanwhile, make a small model of a person using clay. Estimate the size as to the weight capacity of the parachute. Attach the person to the paper clip. Afterwards, cut a small hole at the center of the parachute about 1 by 1 cm in diameter. To test the mini parachute, the handler should hold the toy on its plastic part and drop it from the highest elevation possible using a chair or a table. Refrain from using this toy outdoors since the wind would easily damage the parachute. Parachute Model No. 3 Materials needed: * A handkerchief or a paper napkin * 14 inch fishing line or strings * Markers or crayons for design * Cork Instructions: Make the necessary design, if using a paper napkin try to be a bit more careful while designing. Clip one end of the strings together then tie the other end to each of the side of the handkerchief or paper napkin, tie them tightly. If cutting holes at the edges of the handkerchief is possible, it is recommendable to make a hole on each side and attach the strings to them. Next, tie the cork to the dangling end of the strings. Finally, test the parachute. Parachute Science Projects Parachutes are a good way to learn about physics and aerodynamics. They are also fairly easy to make with the right materials. The materials can be made out of plastic bags, nylon fabrics from discarded tents, strings and an object that will serve as the payload. The instructions are very easy and there many resources that you can find in the internet. This is why parachutes are common science projects. There are many variations that can be done with a parachute. You can make different designs and make a few variations with your over all design to yield different results. Parachute Projects Parachutes work by slowing down the descent of a person or object in the atmosphere. They create drag or air resistance that slows down the descent while being pulled down by gravity. You can experiment with different designs but the easiest to make would be round shaped parachutes. When an object falls down it has to push air molecules away. This causes the drag or air resistance that inflates parachutes. The amount of drag can be measured through the cross sectional area of the object. The canopy of a parachute has a large cross sectional area which results to more drag. This is what makes the falling object with a parachute slow down. To be able to make a falling object have a soft landing, it must reach a terminal velocity. This is accomplished when the weight of the object is equal to the drag or air resistance. To be able to get the right drag you must have a chute with the right size. The size of the chute will depend on the payload or your weight. Generally, heavier objects need canopies with bigger radius. There is a formula for a decent speed for payloads that is applied to round parachutes. The best way to start is to go simple first so that you will have an idea on how it works. Then you can go from there and experiment with different materials and weights. Using sand can be a bit hard to gauge. You can opt to go for large canopies if you want to try heavier weights. There are materials that are air resistant while some are not. Most if the time it will depend on the weight of your materials. Toy parachutes can be made from plastic bags and strings. Apart from plastic bags you can also use a bandanna, handkerchief, scarf or any lightweight fabric. If fabrics are not available use lightweight paper. You can decide on what object you are going to use for the payload. The simplest payload would be metal washers. It's preferable to use lightweight strings. Make small overhand knots at the corners of your cloth. Then tie the string above the knots. Hold the center of your cloth and pull the strings. Tie the ends of your strings with an overhand knot. Lastly tie the strings to the metal washer. Release the parachute 6 feet high. It's more convenient to use a lark's head knot so that you will able to easily untie your payload. You can add more metal washers if you want to experiment. You can also add suspension lines if you want a different design. There are also other materials that you can use. After you know the basics you can try out nylon fabrics from discarded tents and have heavier weights. Parachute Shapes: History and Relevance Parachutes are fairly easy to make, as toy ones that is. However the parachutes that are made to use for real life is not as easy as you think. Parachutes have gone through a lot of development but at the costs of several lives. When you're free falling thousands of feet up in the air you can fall like pot from a window and literally break when you smash into the ground. No one wants this to happen. Parachutes have to made and prepared correctly. Fortunately modern designs have enabled safer and softer landings. The shape of a parachute is very important. Parachutes have come in different shapes through the years. Improvements have led to the creation of more stable ones in square shapes. Shapes and surface area The early forms before the modern design was invented were conically shaped. They were usually made up of cloth and wooden struts. The very first one was a conic shaped parachute stiffened by wooden struts in 9th century. The inventor was able to make a landing from a tower in Cordoba and suffered only minor injuries. Leonardo da Vinci made sketches of them but there were no evidence that showed it was put to use. It was also used for entertainment because it enabled people to jump and float to the ground which was very fascinating at that time. In China parasols were used for entertaining people. A breakthrough in the development was made when silk was used. This time parachutes were intended to be used for disembarking from a hot air balloon. In 1783 the modern parachute was invented. The shape was round and was compared to the jellyfish. Its major use was in the military in World War I and II. It was given to artillery spotters and pilots. Unfortunately they were heavy in those times. Further developments lead to the creation of paratroopers. These were soldiers dropped into the enemy lines for attack. There are variations to the round shape parachute. Additions were made for other purposes. Annular and pull down apex were round parachutes with suspension lines. Ribbon and ring designs on the other hand are made for deployment at super sonic speeds. It later on developed into a cruciform or square shape which is also used in modern designs today. The design gave the parachute more stability. Further improvements enabled the passenger to steer the parachute to a landing site. Modern designs are called "Ram air" with parafoils that enable the skydiver to control the speed and direction of the parachute. The shape of the parachute is important because of its relation to surface area. The surface are is responsible for creating drag or air resistance which slows down the descent. The surface area blocks the air which creates the drag. The problem is the force of the air changes the parachute's shape. This spills the air out of the parachute. A distorted parachute has less surface area which leads to less air resistance and more speed. This is what makes creating parachutes more complicated than you think. The size of the parachute will depend on the payload or weight of its passenger. Other materials also play a part in stabilizing the parachute and make sure that the canopy does not rip. Fortunately there are experts who can take care of that for us. Parachute School and Courses Parachuting is an exciting recreational activity. Apart from that there are also courses to enable you to engage in different parachute sports. There are many parachute schools in the world. Most of them have state of the art facilities, equipments and licensed trainers that will be there when you make your first jump. There are different course available for newcomers. The courses will depend on levels of difficulty. Newcomers can choose to enroll in different courses. Graduate students can then decide if they ant to pursue skydiving more seriously and compete in a sport. Most of the time graduates become enamored with the activity and become competitors or instructors. Other people who wish to just experience the thrill of it can book for tandem jumping. Parachute school Parachuting became a popular sport when parachutes became safer for public use. Many enthusiasts would meet in a drop zone and later on skydive. Due to the thrill and excitement it provides it gained popularity among the masses. Enthusiasts who wish to push the limits of extreme sports created skydiving, along with its many variants. Parachute organizations would host events and competitions which were held in local, national and international levels. This in turn initiated the start of parachute schools who offer training and courses. There are many parachute schools scattered all over the globe. Their courses are pretty much the same. There are courses available for serious skydivers who want to pursue a sport or want to get a license as an instructor. These schools are popular for thrill seekers. It's not an intensive course but you will still receive lessons from your instructor that could take 30 minutes to 1 hour. This course is called tandem jumping. You will be jumping with your instructor in a dual harness. The whole jump, from take off to landing takes about 25 minutes. You will free fall in 40 seconds and 5 minutes under the parachute. Your instructor will deploy and control the parachute for a safe landing. The student doesn't really need to do anything except enjoy the scenery. Other courses are accelerated free fall and static line jump. In static line jump the trainee jumps from 3,500 feet and their parachute is automatically opened. Trainees will have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and provide light landings. The accelerated free fall is much more intensive than the first two. The ground training takes up to 6 hours. Trainees have to go through 6 levels. A trainee will jump out of a plane from 13,000 feet with two instructors. Unlike tandem jumping the instructor will be by your side and you have your own parachute. The instructors then will use hand signals to communicate with you that was taught during ground training. After 4 or 5 minutes you will deploy your own parachute and land with radio assistance. Both of these courses serve as an entry to a progression system. This system classifies trainees according to their experience. These categories have 8 levels. The first one is completing a basic training course and the last is becoming a qualified solo skydiver. The duration of free falls and altitude gets higher as trainees progress. These levels are different from accelerated free falling though so you must take that course first. Trainees may also have to make consolidation jumps before entering category 8. Jump without a Parachute The use of parachutes when jumping off a plane has been customary. It's natural to rely on these devices to get you down on earth in one piece, even Evel Knievel used one. However some people are not thrilled by skydiving anymore. It was just a matter of time before someone pushed the limits of aerodynamics and parachute skydiving. Enthusiasts have found a way to jump off the plane without the use of parachute. Using the flying squirrel as a model, skydivers are now attempting to disembark from a plane and land safely on the ground without a parachute. Many consider this as dangerous but tests are still being done around the world. The technology is still being developed and designers refuse to divulge their own idea due to competition. Wing suit Jumping off an airplane without a parachute is practically stupid but many skydiving enthusiasts are all competing to be the first one. Skydiving has been a common parachute sport today. Skydivers are willing to push the limits for a world record. Some skydivers have come up with their own design to enable them accomplish the feat. Skydivers are attempting to land by using a wing suit without the use of a parachute. Wing suits are not new. A safer modern version has been created in 1990 by Patrick de Gayardon. Since then it has been put to use by enthusiasts with the aid of parachutes. Using the wing suit and landing without the aid of parachute is almost akin to flying which has inspired many skydivers to push their abilities to the test. The trajectory is vertical as compared to the usual skydiving which is horizontal. The wing suit has nylon woven tightly between the legs, arms, and torso. This creates wings that get filled with air and produce lift. The suit allows forward movement and aerial maneuvers while slowing down to descend. Jeb Corliss, a BASE jumper, have designed his own wing suit that he thinks will enable him to land without a parachute. Currently he is still testing his design but hasn't made any attempts to actually land using it. The first test involved jumping out of a plane, making a 270 turn and then re-enter the aircraft. Unfortunately the first test didn't do well; he missed the plane and was forced to land with a parachute. He plans to get funding and make the first landing on a runway that he will also design. The design will borrow from principle behind Nordic ski jumping. Another designer has also made her own prototype wing suit. Maria von Egidy cannot test the suit herself so she employs skydivers to test them for her. She is also looking for funding and is still working on a way to land the pilot safely. The main problem with wing suits is landing. Pilots can slow down vertical descent by 30 miles an hour but they are moving 75 miles per hour forward. Even though a pilot can manage to slow down their descent any wrong movement can be fatal. Mr. Corliss plan is to slide down while von Egidy is planning to create a form of forward brakes. For now landing without a parachute is still in the works. Individuals may have to settle themselves with skydiving for now before they can glide through the sky like a flying squirrel. How to Survive Without a Parachute The parachute is the most important thing when you're jumping off an aircraft. The idea of jumping without one is practically stupid. Other skydivers are still finding a way to land on the ground without one by using wing suits. No one in there right mind would jump out of an airplane without a parachute but when your thousands of feet up in the air there is still potentials for danger. Something can go when you're training, just for the thrill of it, or while in an airplane. Fortunately there are ways that you can survive without a parachute. Airline disasters and failed parachutes can still happen. In this situation you're free falling up in the air without a parachute to help you land safely. Skydiving may look fun in photographs, and the people look like they are having the time of their lives but real life isn't always picture perfect. You don't have to be paranoid but being mentally alert doesn't hurt. Unplanned freefall and survival You are about to make the first jump in your life or finally put those skydiving lesson to use. Everything is going well. You have applied proper body position and are currently on free fall. Your fear starts to subside and realized what a fool you are for acting like a coward when your feet were on solid ground. You initiate the deployment sequence and then suddenly something goes wrong. In this situation your main canopy either fails to inflate, get tangled in the line or tore apart. Thinking back to your lessons, you deploy the reserve. Unfortunately the reserve does not work and you're left pretty much free falling in the sky. The first thing that you have to do is to stop panicking and think. Skydivers get off the plane at 12,000 feet above the ground. During free fall you're going at 125 miles per hour. At 125 miles per hour you're going to travel at 12,000 feet in one minute. You only have 60 seconds to come up with a plan. The next thing to do is look for something that may break your fall or at least reduce the impact. Look for a body of water and dive. Make sure that the water will be deep enough. If there's no water look for trees. Look for a conifer type of tree such as a redwood. If there are no trees and the suburbs loom ahead try to land on the roof of an RV or mobile home. In other cases when an airline disaster strikes, there are also ways that you can survive the ordeal. It's natural to panic at 35,000 feet, but don't lose hope, because at 15,000 feet you will get your chance. First look for parachutes that may be lying around in the cargo hold or any piece of wreckage that's flat and aerodynamically suitable. In other cases you may still be in your seat while free falling. Get off and look for trees. A tree with an excurrent growth pattern is ideal. You can also use snow and steer yourself to land by putting your arms at your sides. If those options are not available the last resort would be landing at your side so that 5 parts of your body equally absorb the shock. Parachute Games and Sports, from the Innocent to the Extreme The use of parachutes for military purposes has been long gone. Although the military can still use it for their own tactics, they are popularly known for extreme sports and children's games. The use of parachutes has changed along its development. They can now be used by ordinary civilians for recreation. Most of the time, they are used in extreme sports. A thrill opted for adrenaline junkies and curious people who have enough guts. Sky diving is not the extreme sport. There are different variations of parachute sports and games nowadays. Parachute sports are also included in the Olympics. There are many events held for enthusiasts and competitors. They are also included in X games, an event that hosts extreme sports including skateboarding and snowboarding. Parachute games, from mild to extreme There are many parachute games for children. Different variations have been made and usually involve children that foster cooperation rather than competition. This includes parashuffle, paraswap, parasight, paraseek, paraball, lucky 7, round the plughole, and shoe shuffle. Adults tend to take things into a more extreme level. People often engage in extreme sports for excitement and to be able do something different than the usual routine of everyday living. There are many sites to engage in parachute sports. Resorts offer parasailing. There are also skydiving clubs that you can join to undergo training. You can choose to make tandem jumps or get a skydiving course. Safe and milder forms of parachute sports are paragliding and parasailing. The first one is a competitive sport while the latter is recreational. A paraglider is a free flying type of aircraft that is launched by foot. Parasailing is wherein a person is towed behind a boat while being attached to a parasail. Paragliding does involve some degree of risk but not as dangerous as the following sports. An extreme sport variant is the speed skydiving. Unlike the conventional method these one entails a skydiver to jump from an aircraft 13,000 feet above ground. The skydiver accelerates vertically in a head first position into a predetermined measuring zone. The measuring zone begins from 8,850 feet up to 5,570 feet. Altimeters are attached to participants during their jump to measure their average speed as they go through the measuring zone. Skysurfing on the other hand, as the name suggest uses a board similar to that of a snowboard. The board, which is attached to the skydiver's feet, enables him or her to do different stunts. Skydivers can land while the board are still on and slide on the ground or kick it off before landing. Skysuring can be very dangerous and only experienced skydivers engage in such sport. BASE (Buildings, Antennas, Spans [bridges], and Earth [cliffs]) jumping involves jumping off of fixed objects. This is very dangerous because if the parachute is not deployed at the right moment the jumper will die. Base jumpers need to have sharp reflexes because they don't have enough altitude to free fall. They need to deploy their parachutes at the right moment because if it's too late may lead to a bad landing that can cause grave injuries. They should also be skilled in parachute packing to make sure that it will deploy correctly and in controlling their canopies for a harmless landing. Parachute sports can be exciting but it does involve a lot of risk. If you are interested it's best to start with the basic and apply for a skydiving course. Powered Parachutes Skydiving is a popular extreme sport. However for some jumping out of a plane with only a parachute to save your life can be too risky. Although parachutes today are more stable and safer than they were decades before, fear of heights and faulty parachutes always haunt the mind and nerves of any first timer. Wrong timing and faulty equipment can cause you falling to your death from thousands of feet in the air. Fortunately there are other options for those with faint of heart. Fortunately powered parachutes were created. They provide a better and more controlled landing. This is a good alternative for those who are afraid of heights and don't want to jump off a plane. Compared to skydiving they are far safer and very easy to learn. Powered Parachutes It's a parachute equipped with motor and wheels. It can carry one or two passengers. It's also considered as the most inexpensive motorized air vehicle. A new one person powered parachute costs about ten thousand dollars. A top notch two-seater on the other hand costs about fifteen to twenty thousand. A motor scooter can also be converted which costs around six thousand. Its airspeed is twenty five to thirty five miles per hour (that's forty to sixty kilometers per hour) and can fly of up to one thousand five hundred feet. It can also go as high as eighteen thousand feet. The world record for the lowest flight is 10 inches. It can support up to five hundred pounds. One person variants don't need a license to operate. They can be learned in five to seven days by an average student. They only need one hundred feet (thirty kilometers) of land to be able to take off and land. They are safer than conventional fixed wing aircrafts because they are more stable, few control inputs and less stall resistance. They can be controlled by engine or moving its steering bars. The engine controls the rate of vertical climb while the steering bars cause deflection which initiates horizontal turns. Landings are relatively safe as long as the pilot as has a suitable landing site. They often have square wings which are more stable, resistant to stalls and chute collapse. Other designs have elliptical wings which have more air cells than the square winged variant. Most collapses are due to pilot and error. The only setback is weather conditions. They cannot be used when wind speeds are ten to fifteen miles pre hour. Other hazards include rotors and wake turbulence crated when other aircrafts are passing by. The pilot must also avoid obstacles such as power lines, trees, and other things that can be found in low terrains. Powered parachutes fly near the ground so it's much safer to fly upwind of obstacles. They cannot be forced to land on water because the pilot gets tangled with the parachute. They can be used for photography and great for sightseeing. They are also used by flight organizations such as ELLASS (Emergency Low Level Aerial Search and Surveillance). It's a search and rescue organization. They only need small airports, yard strips and mown hay fields for take off and landing. Powered parachutes are good alternatives for those who prefer to stay close to the ground. They can be easily learned and safe for anyone. Finding the Best Sites for Parachuting in Ohio If you like parachuting, then Ohio is one of the best places to go. This state in the Midwest is host to a handful of exhibitions and aerial show annually. The weather and terrain, not to mention the scenic background that the Midwestern sunset brings, make it the perfect haven for parachuting spectators, enthusiasts and professional skydivers. That is why parachuting in Ohio is one of the most favorite pastimes of the state. There are many parachuting sites in Ohio. All you need to do is to find one in your locality. Search the internet for listings of the sites and see if there is one in your area. But if you do not want to be a spectator anymore and are considering skydiving as a sport, you must first choose a skydiving school. You can find one in your area by visiting some websites or by driving around town. You can also ask your neighbor or some skydiver friend if there is any particular school that he can suggest. Once you've chosen a skydiving school, it is time to register or enroll. Prior to enrolment, there shall be some screening to check if you are fit for skydiving. The good news is these skydiving schools are available for practically any type of skydiver, whether you are still a beginner or a more experienced one. This means that you are able to see and interact not only with new skydivers like you but also with those who live and breathe the sport. There are also some skydiving club or organization that you can join in these schools. Here you may also learn more information on your new sport. After registering comes the actual training. Training period depends on your level and on the course that you enrolled in. After you've taken the basic course, you may opt for the next level in skydiving, where free fall techniques, tandem skydiving and skydiving formations may be taught, among others. You may need some parachuting equipment for the training and, of course, the actual jump. You need to have a parachute system. A second parachute is also necessary. Aside from the parachutes, you may also be required to purchase altimeters and automatic activation device. Lastly, you may be required to purchase some gear or apparel such as a jumpsuit and other protective gear such as helmets and spinal protectors. Heavy-duty shoes are also essential. These devices and equipment are necessary to make you "survive" the jump. That is why it is important to consider the quality of the product before buying them. You can visit a local sports store in Ohio to inquire about these. Advances in technology enable the production of better, more efficient pieces of equipment, that's why you must know the latest trends in this field. Parachuting in Ohio is a fun and thrilling activity that any person with no physical or medical constraints must try. Just remember to know what there is to know about parachuting before actually doing your first jump. While everybody may not be allowed to jump, or may not have the guts to do so, you may still enjoy the sport by watching the show. So if you reside in this state, watch out for announcements on a skydiving exhibition in your area.
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