Women only make up 20% of the skydiving community. But they certainly have made that percentage count. We’ve put together a list of some of the big names in women’s skydiving to celebrate Women’s History Month.
The first female parachutist, Jean-Genevieve Garnerin, jumped on October 12, 1799 from a hot air balloon operated by her husband at an altitude of 900 meters. Her niece, Elisa Garnerin, also got into the business, completing 39 professional parachute jumps between 1815 and 1836.
Kathe Paulus worked with her husband, Latterman, to invent a collapsible parachute prototype to make hot air balloon travel safer. Tragically, Latterman died in an early attempt to test the prototype. Kathe not only survived her first jump, she went on to improve the parachute and turn a decent profit during World War I. She lost most of her fortune in the Great Depression, but is remembered for the 70 exhibition jumps that she completed before 1914.
Perhaps the most notable woman in skydiving history is Georgina Ann “Tiny” Thompson. Married at 12 years old and a mother by 13, Georgina first entered the world of skydiving after her husband’s passing when she was only 15 years old. She saw Charles Broadwick’s exhibition and demanded to be a part of the troupe. She was an instant hit at carnivals and air shows because of her small stature, feminine attire, and daredevil maneuvers. She is remembered as being the first parachutist to intentionally freefall, land in water, and demonstrate the principle of the rip cord. Tiny completed over 1,000 jumps in her 70 year career.
We salute the women that have impacted our industry and hope that you’ll help us up the percentage of women involved in the sport. Contact Virginia Skydiving Center today for an experience you’ll never forget.