[FPSPACE] Leonardo da Vinci's parachute design works - 523 years later
ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Apr 30 10:15:25 EDT 2008
Da Vinci's Parachute - Field Tested 523 Years Later!
The parachute that Renaissance-genius Leonardo Da Vinci drew is built and
tested... after 523 years Parachutes have come a long way in the last few
decades: They're easier to steer and a great deal less likely to go wrong.
So it takes a certain amount of nerve to plunge 2,000ft relying on a "chute
designed in an era when heretic astronomers were being burned at the stake."
But Olivier Vietti-Teppa, 36, a Swiss daredevil jumped at the weekend using
a parachute based on sketches made by the artist in 1485. Vietti-Teppa is
the first person to have made it safely to the ground with the da Vinci
model. In 2000, Briton Adrian Nicholas tried it but had to use a back-up
parachute to complete his descent. Mr Vietti-Teppa's parachute was made
using modern fabric along lines imagined by da Vinci. The specifications
were found in a manuscript dating from 1485.
The parachute consists of four equilateral triangles of fabric, seven yards
on each side. The base of the pyramid is a square of mosquito net, which
enables the parachute to open.
A wooden frame originally conceived by da Vinci was not used. It has one
drawback - it is impossible to steer.
He said after the jump in Payerne, near Geneva: "It worked perfectly. I was
unable to steer it, but I just glided gracefully to the ground. "I came down
smack in the middle of the tarmac at Payerne military airport. A perfect
Vietti-Teppa confided that he had been wearing a modern reserve parachute in
case da Vinci's design - made out of four triangles of fabric and with a
pointed top - had failed to open.
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