Skydiving is a popular past time for a huge number of Americans, but have you ever wondered about the history of skydiving. Skydiving activity has been a popular sport for a long time starting in the 18th century with balloons along with parachutes. Over the years, skydiving has undergone a tremendous change and experienced a surge in 2009 when former President of the United States George H.W. Bush accomplished his long held dream of skydiving.
Some people believe skydiving started by Andre-Jacques Garnerin in 1797 in France. This is because the sport garnered worldwide appeal in 1797 when Garnerin made his jump from a balloon parachute in Paris. However, history shows that the parachute were in existence in China during the 1100's. Later in the 1400's, Leonardo da Vinci designed a parachute in Italy, which Adrian Nicols used. However, Nicols expressed concerns about the safety of the equipment and used his reserve to lessen the impact when he released the parachute.
During World War I, the military used parachutes to accomplish some of their military functions. The parachute was essential for activities including landing troops in inland areas and as an access for pilots to get out of their aircraft if necessary. Then in World War II military paratroopers continue using parachute just like military personnel did in World War 1. This led to a greater demand of parachutes. Additionally, the U.S. Army changed parachuting activities from strictly military in nature to include recreational usage. With military personnel partaking in competitions and team sports maneuvers, this tradition continues today in the military.
Raymond Young during the 50's referred to parachuting as skydiving, and this term became a permanent name for this activity. The first commercial skydiving school appeared in the 50's as well. Skydiving sport during the 1960's was no longer limited to military personnel as civilians started skydiving in increasing number. This popularity continued to grow in the 80's because the material used in skydiving was improved and much lighter to use.