Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Parachute Story (03:11)


Sky divers entertain audiences at international events and air shows; steerable chutes allow them to create pictures in the sky. High speed jets and dragsters employ parachutes for additional braking. The technology saves lives, and aids in military operations.

Initial Jumps (02:57)

In October 1797, Andre Jacque Garnerin made the first parachute descent from a hot air balloon. By the 1900s, balloons were used for military reconnaissance and sport. The first parachutes used an open position, but quickly redesigned to be suspended by brake cord.

Plane Jumping (03:39)

In 1912, parachutes attached to a static line were developed; Tiny Broadwick was the first to operate a manual rip cord on July 4th, 1914. During World War I, militaries thought that parachutes would spur pilots to abandon their craft; Vizefeldwebel Weimar made the first successful bailout in April 1918.

Jazz Age Jumpers (02:06)

Sport parachuting trended in the 1920s and 1930s; special towers were built to train enthusiasts. Bat jumping developed, a predecessor to sky diving.

Military Jumping: Pioneers (07:44)

In 1927, the Italian Air Force initiated airborne forces; in Papua New Guinea, homemade parachutes dropped supplies from Junkers G 31 planes. In 1936, Germany formed the first Parachute Battalion, and set up training schools; they were first used in war on April 9th, 1940.

Military Jumping: World War II (06:30)

In 1940, England and the United States formed parachute battalions; on June 6th, 1944, allied airborne forces successfully secured Normandy beaches. In September 1944, a massive paratrooper operation initiated ten days of ground assaults in Holland; during the conflict, parachutes were utilized heavily for various purposes.

Military Jumping: International Conflicts (04:35)

France used airborne troops during the Indochina conflict and Algerian War of Independence; the British Special Air Service developed a technique involving abseiling. The United States dropped massive supply loads during the Korean War, rendering gliders obsolete; the Soviets innovated parachuting of tanks, using retro rockets for landing.

Advancements and Applications (02:26)

The ejector seat developed in the 1950s. NASA spacesuits were tested by parachute; on August 16th, 1960, Captain Joseph Kittinger jumped from a balloon at 100,000 feet. Parachutes safely landed space capsules, and employed as space shuttle landing brakes.

Sport Jumping (11:07)

Parachuting competitors developed “stacking”; an American team made a record 38 stack in 1992. Ledge jumping and paragliding became popular events. Base jumpers debuted in the 1920s; since then, enthusiasts have chuted from various buildings and landmarks.

Free Falling (05:40)

After World War II, sky diving developed; altimeters aided jumpers with parachute release timing. Special Forces invented the High Altitude, Low Opening technique for covert operations. Aerobatics and formation teams manifested; in 1996, 300 participants jumped over Russia for the world record.

Credits: The Parachute Story (00:42)

Credits: The Parachute Story

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Century Of Flight: The Parachute Story

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Follow the evolution of the parachute in this episode of Century of Flight, from the first jump off a hot air balloon in 1797, to covert HALO operations of the late 1990s. Watch an array of teams and enthusiasts jump from cliffs, planes, helicopters, balloons, and buildings. Learn how the parachute changed how militaries supply ground troops and invade countries. See how parachutes are used as braking systems for high-speed vehicles, and how they assist in space missions.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185480

ISBN: 978-1-64623-955-9

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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