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The History Of Skydiving

Parachuting, or skydiving, is the action sport of exiting an aircraft and returning to Earth with the aid of gravity while using a parachute to slow down during the terminal part of the descent. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal velocity.

The history of skydiving starts with Andre-Jacques Garnerin who made successful descents using a canvas canopy and small basket, tethered beneath a hot-air balloon. The first intentional freefall jump with a ripcord-operated deployment is credited to Leslie Irvin in 1919; however, the stunt jumper Georgina “Tiny” Broadwick claimed to have made earlier freefall jumps simply by cutting her static-line and manually pulling the remaining cord-end after falling away from the aircraft.

The military developed parachuting technology as a way to save aircrews from emergencies aboard balloons and aircraft in flight, and later as a way of delivering soldiers to the battlefield. Early competitions date back to the 1930s, and it became an international sport in 1952.

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