“Possibly veteran jumpers can describe sensations and thoughts during the brief seconds that elapse between the leap from the plane and the teeth loosening wallop that ensues when the parachute opens and applies sudden brakes to a headlong earthward plunge. But to a neophyte that brief passage of time remains pretty much a blank. Although the parachute harness is designed to distribute the shock to the portions of the body that are best suited to absorb it, the comeuppance you receive when the 28-foot-diametered canopy abruptly goes to work is comparable to an almost instantaneous reduction of the traveling speed to between 15 and 20 miles per hour. In an automobile, such a drastic change of pace might well be preliminary to a swan dive through the windshield. In a parachute harness, you have the fleeting sensation that your skeleton is about to slide feet-first out of your body.”
—Scientific American, January 1942
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