About this image: I always wondered what people meant by “cloud nine”… until I plunged right through it. Sixty-five miles south of Buenos Aires, free-falling over the infinite green of Las Pampas. And yes, a cloud to two.
Parisian André-Jacques Garnerin carried out the first ever parachute descent from a balloon as early as 1797 to an awestruck audience. In the 19th century it was women’s turn to take to the sport with Katharina “Käthe” Paulus amongst the most famous, credited with inventing the folding (knapsack) parachute. The ripcord parachute used in modern skydiving was invented in 1908 by Leo Stevens, but didn’t come into use until 1920.
Both Albert Berry and Grant Morton claim their place in history as the first ever skydiver. Grant Morton jumped over Venice Beach, California in 1911, his safe landing assured by an “automatic” silk parachute. Albert Berry took the plunge in 1912, but since he had dropped 500 feet before the parachute opened, argued that the title must be his.
Skydiving became a recreational sport after World War II, when a plethora of parachutes were decommissioned and former paratroopers turned skydivers. I don’t blame them. Once you get that adrenaline shot, nothing quite compares.
My travel style? Just take the plunge and see what happens.