Plummeting for a Purpose.

How wonderful must it be to get in a perfectly good aeroplane climb to three thousand feet or so for about 20 minutes and then open the door and jump out. There is a big caveat to do that of course, you have a parachute on at the same time. You might be thinking to heck with that I’d rather spend my time on Tank Driving Days at it sounds much safer but bear with me it’s a very exhilarating ride.

It takes an incredible leap of faith jumping out of Plane and relying on a bit of canvas to stop you from making a small crater shaped you in the earth. When you jump out of the Plane the gravity of the earth decides that you, as aHuman being, were not meant to fly so it would very much like you to come back down right now. It might seem as if you’re not going that fast but the wind whipping past you face and the loud whooshing noise in you ears might give you a clue and you should certainly think about doing something about it. The something would be the parachute that you strapped on. You did do that I take it? No? Oh dear.

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The first person to jump of something with a parachute was Andre-JaquesGarnerin. Garnerin was a balloonist first and foremost but he was worried as to what would happen if the balloon got in to trouble as it wasn’t that steerable. Parachutes were more like gliders at the time, they needed a frame and they were very bulky and hard to fit in a tiny basket. Garnerin worked on a frameless one. He rose up to 3200 feet above Paris and cut the ropes to the balloon. It carried on up. He plummeted to the earth.  He did it over Paris so that he’d have something interesting to look at as he was falling. The chute opened out as planned and he floated to earth. To prove it wasn’t a fluke he did again a few times and even took a pretty girl Citoyenne Henri with him too.

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How does a parachute stop you from dying? It’s all a question of speed and weight. When you jump out the Plane, as said before, nature decides that that anomaly will be quickly corrected via gravity. The problem is the speed. If you hit anything it is going to be a bad outcome so the first thing you need to do is slow down. The parachute catches the air and combined with you weight starts to reduce the rate you drop. Rather than a stone you need to be a feather.  That’s not to say that you won’t get hurt. The most common injury is a broken ankle, in fact over fifty four percent of injuries the second being the wrist.

It’s very exhilarating, but as a friend said once upon landing, “Arrgh! Never do that! Never do that!” I may well agree with him.

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