Parachuting is an air-sport, also known as skydiving. It is an action-sport in which participants exit from the aircraft and return to earth only with the aid of gravitational pull. The sport involves either a solo-flight to compete with other competitors, or in hybrid formation.
In 1919, Leslie Irvin performed the very first intentional free-fall jump using a ripcord. Now-a-days parachuting may or may not involve a free-fall jump. A free-fall jump is the time when skydiver’s body gradually accelerates to terminal velocity without deploying the parachute.
Competitions of parachuting were started in 1930s. Twenty years later in 1952, it was acknowledged as an international sport.
There is a large range of parachuting sports, the main competition styles are described below:
- Accuracy — accuracy of landing, the object is to land as close as possible to a target
- BASE Jumping — involves parachuting from a structure or cliff, with competitions based on landing accuracy.
- Camera Flying
- Cross-country — a skydive where the participants open their parachutes immediately after jumping, with the intention of covering as much ground under canopy as possible.
- Formation Skydiving
- Banzai Skydiving — a form of skydiving in which the diver throws their parachute out the airplane door, waits and then jumps after it.
- Canopy Piloting (Pond Swooping) — a form of competitive parachuting in which canopy pilots attempt to touch down and glide across a small body of water and onto the shore.
- Skysurfing — a skydiver attaches a board to his feet during freefall
- Style — the aim is to take maximum speed and complete a pre-designated series of maneuvers as fast and cleanly as possible
- Tracking — Tracking is where skydivers take a body position to achieve a high forward speed, allowing them to cover a great distance over the ground.
- Bodyflight / Tunnel Flying — competitions using a vertical wind tunnel to simulate free fall.
- Wingsuit Flying — a variety of skydiving, where a person will fly in the air using a special jumpsuit called the wingsuit.
- Paragliding — riders using para-gliders perform cross country or acrobatic maneuvers.
- Hang Gliding — a type of air sport in which the rider flies a non-motorized aircraft which is called a hang glider.
- Ballooning — competitive hot air ballooning is a test of accuracy, not speed. The aim is to fly as close as possible to a target and drop a weighted marker.