Did you know the first drawing of a parachute predates aircraft by 400 years? Yes, the first parachute-like drawing was found in a Renaissance drawing in 1470 in Italy. Whether you are interested in parachutes as a pilot parachute manufacturer or as a parachute enthusiast, these amazing facts will satisfy your curiosity about parachutes.
- Coming back to the drawing of 1470, it showed a man hanging from a crossbar frame. The canopy was conical, and he was attached to it through four straps. It is doubtful whether that could work, but it was the first attempt at making a parachute. The great genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, created a better version of the parachute which was pyramidical in shape. And in the year 2000, two people independently tested the feasibility of the parachute he drew, and it worked.
- About 300 years later, in 1783, someone made a successful jump with an early prototype of a parachute. Louis-Sebastian Lenormand created this wooden framed parachute to save people from jumping from burning buildings. The inventor himself jumped from a tower to show that it worked.
- It was during WWI that the use of parachutes by the military started. However, pilots were not initially given parachutes because it could “encourage” them to escape from their plane instead of fighting to their death. Also, the parachutes used then were heavy, and most pilots were not trained to use them. Only the German air service allowed their pilots to carry parachutes.
- Suppose you have watched people shouting “Geronimo” before jumping and wondered why, then the credit goes to a drunk private who was one of the first military personnel to test parachutes for jumps. He shouted it to show that he was not scared, and the rest of his platoon also did the same to show they were not frightened. And that became popular from then on.
- During a war, airborne troops are used for various purposes like surprise attacks, scouting a location, etc. And if they are spotted while going down with a deployed parachute and shot by the enemy, it won’t be considered a war crime. However, if a pilot has ejected from an aircraft, he can’t be fired, as that could make it a war crime.
These are some interesting facts that anyone, whether a pilot or pilot parachute manufacturer, may find interesting.