Parachuting

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A recreational activity and competitive sport. A jump involves individuals jumping out of planes, usually travelling at approximately 3000 metres in height, and free-falling for a period of time before activating a parachute to slow the landing down to safe speeds. Once the parachute is opened, the jumper can control their direction and speed with cords attached to the parachute, and so they can aim for their landing site and come to a relatively gentle stop in a safe landing environment.

At a recreational level, many people skydive purely for the adrenaline rush caused by such a seemingly suicidal plunge, the amazing views possible, and the sense of freedom gained. Most such thrill-seekers initially jump strapped to an experienced skydiver responsible for activating and controlling the parachute. Despite the seeming danger of the leap, fatalities are rare. Divers are required to carry a second reserve parachute which has been professionally folded and checked, and many now use a pressure-sensitive automatic release device that activates the parachute at a safe height if the skydiver somehow fails to activate the chute on their own. Injuries are usually caused by the parachute getting tangled up and thus not providing the full windbreak, or changes in wind forcing hard landings.

Once individuals have mastered the basic jump, there are several different competitive skydiving events. World championships are held regularly in locations offering flat terrain and clear skies.

Some of the events include: