The Physics
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Altitude of the Lowest Parachute Jump

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Pattenden, Mike. Risky Business: Daredevils. easyJet In-Flight. 2005. "He has performed similar jumps in movies like Triple X, Charlie's Angels, and the Fast and the Furious, but perhaps his most dramatic leap was his lowest - just 29 metres from the statue of christ in Rio de Janeiro." 29.0 m
High life of 'God of the Skies'. CNN. 31 July 2003. "He has leapt from the 98-ft statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, the world's lowest base jump." 29.9 m
Bradley, James. Amazing Parachute Facts & Stories. 1 October 2004. "On 3 July 1944, C-47 in twin columns dropped the 1/503 at 400 feet AGL. However due to an altimeter error two aircraft dropped troops at 175 feet (AGL)." 53.3 m
"The lowest recorded combat jump is the German paratroopers (Fallschirmjager) when then jump into Crete (WWII). The Fallschirmjager jumped from 250 feet." 76.2 m
Lineage and Honors of the 509th Airborne Infantry. 1st Battalion (ABN), 509th Infantry. JRTC and Fort Polk Web Site. June 2005. "Executed the lowest altitude mass parachute jump in history exiting the aircraft a 143 feet in England during June 1942 rehearsals" 43.6 m
Crave magazine - Your Guide to Extreme Culture. Jan/ Feb 2005. "He crossed the English Channel strapped with a carbon wing and then later went on to attain another world record by crossing the English Channel through Sky diving Free Fall. He also holds the world record for the lowest parachute dive from the Christ Statue in Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil, clearing it in only 29 meters." 29.0 m
Starr, John. The Fabulous Rocketeers. Skydiving FAQ: how high, how low, how fast? 21 May 2004. "I have personally made freefall BASE jumps from 350 feet, one static line jump from 160 feet, and a few "direct bag" (a type of assisted deployment) jumps from 210 feet." 48.8 m

A parachute is a device used to slow the fall of a person or object from a great height. Gravity and air resistance act upon falling objects. The force of gravity is normally much larger than the air resistance on many objects (for example, people).

Parachutes have been used to deliver cargo, as brakes for landing airplanes, and today for skydiving. In BASE (Building Antennae Span Earth) jumping, a very dangerous sport, jumpers jump off of buildings, towers, bridges, cliffs, etc., opening a parachute in the final seconds, just before landing. In most countries, BASE-jumping is illegal. BASE jumpers jump from fixed objects.

BASE jumpers have to come up with newer equipment designs and parachute packing and deployment methods because BASE-jumps take place close to the ground. BASE jumpers have developed quicker methods to get their parachutes to open quickly. They have developed "highly specialized" parachute equipment and packing techniques.

Austrian BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner has lived his life on the edge. He has spent his life jumping off huge structures and parachuting to safety. He makes jumps in movies like "Triple X" and "The Fast and the Furious." He is said to be the first man to jump off of the Petronas Towers (451 meters) in Malaysia (the tallest building in the world). He has made more than 2,600 parachute jumps and 130 BASE jumps.

One technique the military uses is static-line jumps. Static line jumps are done low, about 305 meters or less, and they use round parachutes. This technique deploys a large number of troops into an area in the quickest manner. HAPPS (High Altitude Precision Parachute System) or "stealth parachutes" are military skydiving rigs that cannot easily be seen from the ground.

Kristina Arthurs -- 2005