Skydiving is such an exhilarating activity but not for the faint of heart! Many divers love the adventurous sport but are unfamiliar of its roots. The modern history begins in the late 18th century when Jacques Garnerin from France, performed jumps from balloons over Europe. Tiny Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane in 1913 and the first to freefall in 1914.
Originally created as a rescue device during World War I, parachutes were introduced and once stable experiments were conducted, extended freefalls began to take place.
The first parachutes were extremely unsafe. They were an “automatic” parachute which means they were inflated prior to diving or pulled into the air from a box that was attached to the diver’s platform. After realizing the safety issue, a ripcord parachute was invented by Leo Stevens in 1908.
Another form of parachutes was invented to improve the safety of skydiving. This parachute was worn in the backpack of the diver. These parachutes and more were no longer utilized by the military after World War II. People began diving for the thrill of the fall and for recreational purposes. Raymond Young coined the term “sky diving” in the 1950’s when the first skydiving centers opened. Skydiving was then born as an adventurous activity and competitive sport.