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An Introduction to Deployable Recovery Systems

The first known written account of a parachute concept is found in da Vinci's notebooks (cl495). The sketch he drew consisted of a cloth material pulled tightly over a rigid pyramidal structure. Although da Vinci never made the device, he is given credit for the concept of lowering man to the earth safely using a maximum drag decelerator. Fauste Veranzio constructed a device similar to da Vinci's drawing and jumped from a tower in Venice in 1617. Over a century would pass before further developments would be made by the famous balloonists, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. In 1783 they succeeded...


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 and other inventors have designed parachutes, including fellow Italian Fauste Veranzio who constructed a device based on da Vinci's drawing and jumped from a Venice tower in 1617. Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809), a Frenchman was probaly the first person to actually use a parachute for an emergency. In 1785, he dropped a dog in a basket, to which a parachute was attached, from a balloon...

Stefan Banic 1870-1941

Stefan Banic, a Slovak inventor, constructed a prototype of a parachute in 1913 and tested it in Washington D.C. in front of the U.S. Patent Office and military representatives by jumping from a 41-floor building and subsequently from an airplane in 1914. His patented parachute became a standard equipment for U.S. pilots during the World War I. Banic worked in the United States from 1907 to 1921, with two interruptions. His name is not well-known, however, the Patent Office and military records confirm these historical facts, as you can also see, if you visit various Air Force ( and government...

What to ask before jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet

Is this really for me? There’s no way to tell unless you take the leap. “It doesn’t feel like anything you’ve done before,” says Cindy Gibson, of Austin Skydiving Center in Texas. It’s not like the herky-jerky sensation of riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping since, believe it or not, there’s no sense of falling. It’s windy and noisy, but the primary sensation is peaceful floating, followed by a sharp tug when the chute opens. Free fall has been described as cruising atop a tornado, and as the ultimate high—with no hangover. Solo or tandem? Most first-timers opt...

The First Jump

Back in my Army days, I had come very close to making a sport parachute jump. Only my receipt of orders appointing me to Officer Candidate School, had interrupted the scheme. In those days, skydivers used military surplus round parachutes that land where the wind blows them. And the landings were more often than not, hard. Those skydives frequently resulted in leg and ankle injuries, and I rationalized that it would not be good to begin the OCS adventure with a broken ankle or the like. So, I had not jumped; but as the years passed, I thought from time...

Deanna Kent Skydancer

On this day, from all over the world, two hundred and fifty friends and family gathered in Palm Coast Florida. For her family from Mexico, for the friends who arrived from all over North America, the Orient, South America, Europe, for friends from their early years in Mexico, Elsinore and Perris, for those from her more recent time in Florida - - - for those who danced with her in the joy of her life and cradled her in the challenges of her confusing illness, this day was indeed a celebration of life! In the indoor service, to which bountiful...

An Abstract Medium

It's our first time. We go to the airport early, before they open. We have to take a class first. It's a larger group than usual, they tell us. The club shows a video tape of a lawyer who tells us about the contract we are about to sign. He tells how it will be impossible for our survivors to sue if we get killed. We elbow each other and snicker. We sit up straighter. We stand in line to sign the contract and pay our $125.00. `We watch a movie. We learn how to fall. They hang us from...

BASE jumping

BASE jumping is without a doubt my favorite sport in the world. If I had to give up all other activities and keep only one, it would be BASE. The feeling you get when you leap off of a stationary object is like nothing else in the world. Nothing. You are jumping into dead space, with absolutely no noise or wind resistance. Since the jump starts from a standstill, you experience the full effect of acceleration toward terminal velocity. This is entirely different from jumping out of a noisy airplane that already has velocity and is creating wind resistance. Don't...

Son, Skydiving is Dangerous

As a 19-year-old undergraduate still looking for a major course of study, life seemed to have little to offer me except cheap thrills. If something would go wrong, and I would splatter against the plowed earth of the Sacramento valley, well, what was the point of being alive if I didn't experience all life had to offer? It goes without saying that children of all ages will be drawn like moths to the fire of every kind of sensory stimuli. It is our job as responsible adults to shield them from the flames of both real danger or virtual thrills,...

The Sky Is The Limit!

From the start you must understand that I am quite ruthless when it comes to achieving goals, which seems out of character for a person with cerebral palsy or any other disability for that matter. Most people would not even think about tackling it, let alone getting out there and doing it. Over the last 50-years, I have achieved many changes in the community by making organizations and community groups aware of the abilities of people with disabilities. Among these is a Diploma of Honor from Paris for my Typewriter Artwork and I have been awarded The Duke of Edinburgh...