Early Aerodynamicists

Looking back on Andre-Jacque Garnerin’s parachute ‘drop‘ of 1797, we can easily say that his parachute had to work. He, of course, had no way of knowing his parachute would work or that it would slow him sufficiently for a safe landing. He also had no experience with making a safe landing. That didn’t stop him. In fact, that didn’t stop any of the early aerodynamic innovators.

Garnerin

True to the process of scientific discovery, Garnerin’s parachute experiment would not have been possible without the work of those who came before him – most notably the Montgolfier Brothers.    Continue reading

First Parachute Jump

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Today is a big day in fluid dynamic history! It’s the 216th anniversary of the first successful parachute jump. Andre-Jacques Garnerin (1769-1823) accomplished this feat by going aloft attached to the bottom of a hot air balloon.

“I was on the point of cutting the cord that suspended me between heaven and earth… and measured with my eye the vast space that separated me between heaven and earth…” Garnerin wrote. He cut the cord and “I felt myself precipitated with a velocity that was checked by the sudden unfolding of my parachute.”   Continue reading

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