Significant Moments in Parachuting History

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1100 ? Chinese drawings of parachutes.
1495 ? Leonardo Da Vinci draws a square parachute.
1797 Andre' Jacques Garnerin makes a parachute jump from a balloon approximately 2,000' over Paris. He survives and makes many other jumps.
1800's Parachute jumps are made intermittently from balloons.
1914 Tiny Broadwick claims the first free fall parachute jump from an aircraft. The cord from the aircraft to the parachute (which causes the opening) is caught on the tail of the Martin trainer aircraft on her fourth jump. She cut the line and pulled it herself thereby claiming the first jump on a manually operated parachute. Unfortunately, the claim is contested.



Leo Stevens (1908) and Floyd Smith (1919) claimed the invention of the first self-contained parachute. Before this invention, parachutes were packed in the vehicle (balloon or airplane) from which the parachutist jumped.
First decades of the 20th Century Literature discussing the use of parachute troops is published. The concept is considered amusing in most countries but is taken seriously in Germany and in Russia. The Russians practice dropping troops from airplanes in deep snow without parachutes. There are few injuries from shock, but too many fatalities from suffocation. The concept is abandoned.
1940 German airborne troops take Fort Eben Emael, hitherto considered impregnable, by a surprise assault and unlock the key to Belgium.
1940 First United States Army Airborne Test Platoon, the forerunner of the U.S. Parachute Troops, is commanded by  Lt. (later B. Gen.) William T. Ryder, USA
1944 Major airborne assaults by the United States 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions precede by hours the invasion of German occupied France by Allied armies.
1945 600 Parachutists of the United States 11th Airborne Division rescue over 2.100 U.S., British and Dutch prisoners, hours before they are scheduled to be killed by their Japanese captors, at Los Banos, the Philippines, in perhaps the most successful rescue of hostages in history.
1951 First World Parachuting Championships held in Yugoslavia. Both the men's world champion Pierre Lard, and the women's world champion, Monique Laroche, are French.
1954 Fred Mason, a U.S. Army Sergeant, is the first and only American to compete in the Second World Championships at St. Yan, France. Ivan Fetchichin of the Soviet Union is World Champion. Since the U.S. Army does not yet allow free fall parachuting, Mason receives no accolade.
1956 First United States Parachuting Team competes in the Third World Championship in Moscow, USSR. Czechoslovakia wins and the Soviet Union is second.
1957 First sport parachute (J.A.Istel), based on Bernouilli's principle of physics and with zero porosity cloth, is designed and is later exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution..
1957 United States Army is trained in free fall parachuting by Parachutes Incorporated..First student Col.Louis Peterka USA (Ret.) is honored in 2007. His name is engraved in granite at  the Hall of Fame of Parachuting. 




The first baton pass is made in free fall by two Americans, Lyle Hoffman and James Pearson, over Vancouver, Canada. A month later, Steve Snyder and Charles Hilliard, alternates on 1958 U.S.Team, accomplish same feat over Ft. Bragg N.C.

First test of a sport parachute from jet aircraft    24 January  at NAF,  El Centro, CA

1959 First private Sport Parachuting School in the world opens at Orange, Massachusetts on 2 May. Crocker Snow, Director, Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission is first day student. Later student, FAA Administrator Najeeb Halaby is father of Queen Noor...



Col. Joseph A. Kittinger, USAF, parachutes from a balloon at 102,800 feet (31,333.44 meters), the highest recorded parachute jump to date (2007)

The first official world parachuting records for the United States are taken from the Soviet Union in both the day and night categories by the civilian sport parachuting team:  J.A. Istel (captain), W.G. Jolly,  N.G. Pond and  L.B. Sanborn.








Sixth World Parachuting Championships are held for the first time in the U.S. at Orange, Mass. James Arender, U.S. Army is World Champion as the United States wins the World Championships on home ground. The win is contested by the second place Soviet Union which was not allowed to make its final jump in time owing to a disabled aircraft.

Lee Guilfoyle makes the first test jump of a wing type parachute, the Barish Sailwing, at the Lakewood Sport Parachuting Center (New Jersey, USA) on 6 August.1965. 

On February 2nd 1966 Nick Piantanida sets manned high altitude ballooning record of 123,500 feet (over 23 miles) in attempt to free fall through the speed of sound.

Linda Chapman (Lynn Chapman-Adler) was the first woman to jump a gliding parachute, the Barish Sailwing, 23 April 1966 at  Lakewood Sport Parachuting Center (New Jersey, USA).

early 1970's Progress in maneuvering in free fall leads to championships determined prior to the opening of the parachute. The free fall maneuvers are called "relative work" the term referring to the intense teamwork involved during the few seconds of free fall.
mid 1970's The square parachute (actually rectangular) in existence since the 1966 Barish Sailwing supplants the round parachutes for sport use although not for Army Airborne use.
1973 The Hall of Fame of Parachuting is founded..
1974-76 The United States team led by Al Krueger nicknamed Captain Hook wins three national and one world championship in relative work competition. The ten man team is retired undefeated as expense leads to smaller teams in world competition.











The Hall of Fame of Parachuting Inaugural takes place at  Elsinore, California on November 21. Four service Bands from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force lead the parade.

The Hall of Fame of Parachuting moves to its donated and permanent location at Felicity, California.

The Hall of Fame of Parachuting builds the granite Marine Corps Korean War Memorial , the first of many Granite Museum Walls. This leads to its noble and historic Mission..

The Hall of Fame of Parachuting builds the granite History of French Aviation. Etchings are drawn in granite. .The monument wins an Air and Space medal in 2003.

The Hall of Fame of Parachuting builds the granite History of the Foreign Legion

The Hall of Fame of Parachuting builds the eight granite monuments of the History of Humanity

Engraving of the 416 granite panel History of Humanity proceeds