The first parachute (click image to view detail) had been imagined and sketched by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century. It's hard to believe something as modern as a parachute could be invented over 500 years ago. Leonardo's parachute design consists of sealed linen cloth held open by a pyramid of wooden poles, about seven metres long. Still, because his ideas were way ahead of his time, the technology was not able to sustain his ideas, thus nobody invented a practical parachute until 1783.
Leonardo Da Vinci was proved right on Monday, June 26, 2000, some 500 years after he sketched the design for the world's first known parachute. A British man, Adrian Nicholas, dropped from a hot air balloon 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above the ground, after ignoring expert advice that the canvas and wood contraption would not fly. Attempts to fully test the parachute in the UK earlier this year failed due problems of wind and safety near populated areas - it weighs a hefty 85 kilograms (187 pounds). But in the wide open spaces of Mpumalanga, South Africa, Mr. Nicholas safely floated down, saying the ride was smoother than with modern parachutes. Beautiful drop Heathcliff O'Malley, who photographed the drop from a helicopter, told BBC News Online: "It was amazing, really beautiful. But none of us knew if it would fold up and Adrian would plummet to Earth." He added: "It works, and everyone thought it wouldn't."
On April 2008, a Swiss man Olivier Vietti-Teppa used a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci from 1485 to create a pattern and build a parachute. Vietti-Teppa did wear a back-up modern chute but wasn't forced to put the current design into action after he jumped out of a plane.