The latest Google Doodle is celebrating the 216th anniversary of the first parachute jump. This jump was done by Andre-Jacque Garnerin, though his jump was not exactly what many would think of by the current definition of a parachute jump. Of course, given the timeline, it goes without saying that he did not jump out of an airplane.
The jump took place in Paris on October 22nd in the year 1797. Garnerin actually floated up in a hot air balloon with the parachute already fully opened. The chute was made of white canvas and umbrella-shaped and about 23 feet (7 m) in diameter. He climbed to a little more than 3,000 feet, cut the balloon and floated back down to the ground.
While he made it back without injury, the trip down was said to be rough and with a bit of a bumpy landing. To follow that, Garnerin later invented the vented parachute, which took care of the rough ride down. Basically, those vents brought improved stability. Looking forward, the first parachute jump from an airplane came in 1911.
This jump was done by Grant Morton and it was from a Wright Model B in Venice Beach, California. Morton used a “throw out” chute which means he had it in his arms when he left the plane. The knapsack chute came later that year and was invented by a Russian by the name of Gleb Kotelnikov.
Anyway, this latest Google Doodle not only teaches you about this history of parachuting, but also allows for a few minutes of fun. You can watch him land in a variety of locations and regardless of where the landing happens — he removes and tips his hat for the conclusion.