This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

The Sky is Not the Limit — the Ground Is!

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October 22, 1797: First Parachutist

If you use Google search today you will see a tribute to the first parachute jump of note made by André-Jacques Garnerin from a hydrogen balloon 3,200 feet above Paris.  The picture above is NOT André-Jacques Garnerin.

google

Leonardo da Vinci conceived the idea of the parachute in his writings, and the Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand fashioned a kind of parachute out of two umbrellas and jumped from a tree in 1783, but André-Jacques Garnerin was the first to design and test parachutes capable of slowing a man’s fall from a high altitude.

7The first ever Parachute jump from a Balloon008

Garnerin first conceived of the possibility of using air resistance to slow an individual’s fall from a high altitude while a prisoner during the French Revolution. Although he never employed a parachute to escape from the high ramparts of the Hungarian prison where he spent three years, Garnerin never lost interest in the concept of the parachute. In 1797, he completed his first parachute, a canopy 23 feet in diameter and attached to a basket with suspension lines.

Garnerin_0

On October 22, 1797, Garnerin attached the parachute to a hydrogen balloon and ascended to an altitude of 3,200 feet. He then clambered into the basket and severed the parachute from the balloon. As he failed to include an air vent at the top of the prototype, Garnerin oscillated wildly in his descent, he landed shaken but unhurt half a mile from the balloon’s takeoff site. In 1799, Garnerin’s wife, Jeanne-Genevieve, became the first female parachutist. In 1802, Garnerin made a spectacular jump from 8,000 feet during an exhibition in England. He died in a balloon accident in 1823 while preparing to test a new parachute.

If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ~Helen Keller

My soul is in the sky. ~William Shakespeare

The sky is not the limit — the ground is

Andre Garnerin

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