|Leonardo da Vinci aerodynamics|
- An unnamed contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci
- depicted a conical parachute in the 1470s,
- but let’s say the parachute started with da Vinci
- because his twelve-yard pyramidal design
- was more well proportioned
- to carry the weight of a man,
- because the first person to test the idea,
- Fausto Veranzi, studied da Vinci,
- and because da Vinci’s design was recently proven to work.
Parachutes for war
- Airmen parachute from damaged airplanes,
- and descend on towns with guns and grenades.
- Allied drops behind enemy lines have resulted
- in heavy losses from so-called “friendly fire.”
- In the turbulent wake of a jumper (the “burble”),
- a pilot chute can sometimes fail to pull out
- the main canopy, resulting in death.
- (I report this because I like the word “burble.”)
- Parachutes slow down fighter jets
- as they land on aircraft carriers.
- Ribbon parachutes are deployed
- to slow the descent of nuclear bombs.
- Free fall isn’t really free.
- By definition in free fall only the force of gravity
- pulls an object through space,
- but the force of air resistance,
- hot enough to burn up a falling star,
- supports a diver like a cushion;
- if you had no parachute,
- would be free about
- plummeting to the ground.
- Pack your parachute, carry an umbrella,
- use safety glasses, wear your bicycle helmet,
- don a life-preserver, and lock your doors.
- It takes an effort, but then you don’t need
- to worry whether an accident will happen,
- even though accidents sometimes happen.