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Sport and Air – Skydiving - Set

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  • 19.10.2019
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About Sport and Air – Skydiving

The “Sports” series launched in 2018 focuses on both popular and less well-known sports. This year the three stamps from this series are dedicated to sports which are practised at lofty heights.

Plunging down to the depths

Skydiving involves jumping from an aircraft such as an aeroplane, a helicopter or a hot air balloon. Even back in his day, Leonardo da Vinci drew up construction drawings for a functional parachute and over the years many people have attempted parachute jumps from towers and roofs using homemade ones. The first documented parachute jump is considered to be the jump by the Frenchman Louis-Sébastien Lenormand, who successfully descended from the tower of an observatory in 1783 with the aid of a cloth-covered wickerwork frame. In 1797 André-Jacques Garnerin risked the first jump from a hot air balloon over Paris. Two years later, his wife Jeanne Labrosse took her place in history as the first female parachutist.

The idea of a collapsible parachute was devised by the German parachute jumping pioneer Käthe Paulus, who completed hundreds of jumps from 1893 on and was a consultant to the German army during the First World War. Parachutes quickly became established in the military, initially primarily as life-saving devices, but from the 1950s on they increasingly came to be used as sports equipment by civilians.

Falling and floating

Skydivers are equipped with a main and a reserve parachute as well as with a harness. An opening mechanism automatically opens the reserve parachute at a particular height if the main parachute has not already opened. After jumping out of the aircraft, usually at an altitude of around 4,000 metres, there is first a period of freefalling, which, depending upon the speed, lasts around 60 seconds. At an altitude of around 1,000 metres, the parachute is opened manually, and the skydiver lands after around five minutes of flying beneath its canopy.

The introduction to skydiving is often a tandem jump together with an experienced jumper. Experienced skydivers challenge themselves with accuracy landings or in other disciplines such as figure or formation jumping as part of a group. For this, various formations are created during the freefall stage. The motif on the stamp with its light and airy green design shows a female skydiver in freefall and flying under the canopy.