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					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-Sébastien 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

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.