The History of Skydiving
Antique Skydiving History
Since the beginning, mankind has always wanted to fly. Unfortunately, gravity is like the unrelenting ball-and-chain that's always holding you down...and consequently, mankind has been forced to fall rather than fly. As it turns out though, falling isn't so bad if you can land safely. The concept of falling from the sky began in China as far back as the 1100's when the Chinese would do what today is called "base jumping"; jumping from cliffs or outcroppings floating to the ground in makeshift parachutes. Later, famed renaissance artist, inventor and engineer, Leonardo DaVinci, penciled a drawing of a pyramid shaped parachute that used a wooden frame which was later tested successfully in the early 20th century by Adrian Nicholas.
Skydiving began in the late 1700's (1797 exactly) by a Frenchman named André-Jacques Garnerin. Jacques flew hot air balloons before he successfully made the first jump with a silk parachute attached to a basket. He would travel across Europe for show floating 3,000 feet in the sky above the crowds, cutting the balloon free and falling in the make shift basket-parachute doing stunts and antics to scare and amaze the crowd all at the same time, giving birth to modern day skydiving.
"Unfortunately, gravity is like the unrelenting ball-and-chain that's always holding you down...and consequently, mankind has been forced to fall rather than fly."
Modern Skydiving History
During World War I, observation balloon pilots were issued parachutes as rescue devices in case they had to bail out. It was only after World War II that skydiving became a hobby when excess parachutes were used by former soldiers who loved what they did in the military so much they began freefalling for sport. Skydiving has since changed and evolved into more than just safety and show, and is now a legitimate recreational sport that encapsulates would-be thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies worldwide.
Today, skydiving enthusiasm has taken off in multiple forms ranging from competitive skydives, formation skydiving, sky surfing, and skydiving schools located across the globe. Hundreds of thousands of people take the plunge every year experiencing extreme skydiving at speeds over 120 miles an hour. This isn't flying, it's falling with style, and that smile isn't on your face afterwards because you're glad its over, it's there because you have just landed from jumping out of a plane over the skies of Milwaukee at 14,000 feet. You did the most extreme sport out there and lived to tell the tale!
"This isn't flying, it's falling with style...."