[FPSPACE] Leonardo da Vinci's parachute design works - 523 years later

LARRY KLAES 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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