Top 8 Fun Skydiving Facts
1 month ago
Our sport is pretty captivating in itself — and even more so when you learn some fun skydiving facts. On top of all of the skydiving myths floating out there, there are a ton of interesting facts about skydiving facts as well. We’ve picked our top 8 skydiving facts (and parachute facts) for your inquisitive mind.
The Most Interesting Skydiving Facts
1. Skydiving Was Invented in 1797
Before skydiving as we know it was a thing, there were myriad attempts across centuries of humans trying to fly! There are several incidents where people have jumped from high places with rigid umbrella-like parachutes that date all the way back to 1100 in China. The first parachute design was in 1495 by none other than the famous Leonardo da Vinci! He sketched a design of a pyramid-shaped parachute in the margin of a notebook.
It’s hard to find clear evidence on who exactly invented skydiving. The best-documented evidence of the first successful frameless parachute jump is by André-Jacques Garnerin in 1797. The French aeronaut dropped 3,000 feet in a gondola under a silk parachute with a small basket tied beneath a hot air balloon. (His wife Jeanne Geneviève was the first documented female parachutist!) The first jump from an airplane wouldn’t come about until 1911 by Grant Morton in Venice Beach, VA.
2. The World’s Highest Skydive Was From 135,908 Feet Altitude
The current world record for the highest skydive is held by Alan Eustace who, on October 24, 2014, ascended via a gas-filled balloon to an altitude of 135,908 feet! Once he reached his final height, Eustace detached himself from his balloon and experienced a freefall that lasted 4 minutes and 27 seconds!!! While on his descent, Eustace reached max speeds reaching 822 mph. Wow!
3. Luke Aikins Became the First Person to Successfully Skydive Without a Parachute
On July 30th, 2016, skydiver/stuntman Luke Aikins performed the highest successful skydive without a parachute. Aikins landed safely in a 100’ x 100’ net in Simi Valley, CA. Aikins had to use an oxygen tank for the first 10,000 ft of freefall, which was then collected by one of the three other rigged-up skydivers that jumped with him.
4. Dogs Can Skydive Too!
Skydiving dogs are usually seen when performing highly technical military operations. The military will deploy dogs that are trained by the United States Navy SEALS to parachute into combat situations. They wear a special canine tandem skydiving harness and jump with their handlers.
It is extremely rare to see civilian dogs skydiving because it requires a lot of training and reassurance to get the pup to cooperate … aaaand the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) isn’t exactly keen on skydiving dogs in the civilian world. However, it does happen! Meet Whisper, the BASE-jumping pooch.
5. The Oldest Skydiver Ever was 103 Years Old!
In 2022, Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden took the title of the oldest person to skydive — she was 103 years and 259 days old! Larsson jumped in tandem with a tandem instructor, Joackim Johansson. The oldest man to do a tandem skydive is Alfred “Al” Blaschke, who jumped in 2020 at the age of 103 years and 181 days.
6. There Are Roughly 4 Million Skydives Performed Annually
According to the United States Parachute Association (USPA), about 42,000 USPA members along with around half a million first-time skydivers made nearly 3.57 million skydives in 2021 — the most jumps ever recorded in a single year.
7. Seniors Are Skydivers Too!
While the USPA reports that most skydivers are around 30-39 years of age, they aren’t the only age group that enjoys the sport of skydiving. In fact, 47% of skydivers are 40 years old and above — 20% are in their 40s, 13% are in their 50s, 9% are in their 60s, and 5% of skydivers are 70 or older.
There is even an organized club, Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS), that was founded in 1966 to represent and organize worldwide events for skydivers over the age of 40. POPS members participate in World Championships and many record attempts such as the record for the world’s largest POPS FS formation at 130 skydivers.
There are smaller organizations within POPS such as the Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS), Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS), Jumpers Over Eighty Society (JOES), and even the Jumpers Over Ninety Society (JONS)! With skydiving, age is just a number!
8. The Largest All-Female Vertical Formation
In the fall of 2022, 100+ women from 22 different countries came together to break the vertical world record for female skydivers. The group of women organized by Project-19, a division of the Women’s Skydiving Network, successfully set an Official World Record by building an incredible, all-female, 80-way formation of skydivers in either a head-up or head-down position!
Now that you are ready to win at skydiving trivia, let’s get you to the dropzone to discover some interesting skydiving facts for yourself. Come jump at New England’s biggest dropzone – Skydive New England! Blue skies, phenomenal humans!