Skydiving in Switzerland is nothing new. This human dream became a reality at the beginning of the 20th century with the first parachute jumps made by military personnel. Since then, freefall has undergone considerable development in Switzerland, both on the military and civilian fronts. That’s what we’re going to explore in this article!
The origins of Freefall
The fascination with free fall dates back to ancient times. As far back as Greek Antiquity, the idea of flying by launching oneself from a height using artificial wings had germinated, thanks to the reflections of the philosopher Democritus in 400 BC.
In the Middle Ages, there were various attempts at free flight, including the daring leap by the English monk Eilmer of Malmesbury in 977, using wings made of wood and leather. Although his jump resulted in injuries, he survived the adventure.
In the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out plans for a flying machine, inspiring the future pioneers of free fall.
The modern era of free-fall began in the 18th century with the invention of hot-air balloons, which enabled people to explore the heights and initiate the first experiments in controlled free-fall.
In 1783, the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard made a parachute jump from a hot-air balloon, surviving a fall that lasted around 10 seconds.
During the 19th century, other pioneers launched from hot-air balloons, such as André-Jacques Garnerin in 1826, who made a parachute jump from a great height, remaining in free fall for around 5 minutes.
Switzerland, too, has played a significant role in the history of freefall, with a long tradition dating back to the early 20th century. To find out more, read on…
The pioneers of Swiss skydiving
The first Swiss parachutists were soldiers. In 1911, Lieutenant Arthur Speck made the first parachute jump in Switzerland, from a hot-air balloon at an altitude of 200 metres.
In the years that followed, other Swiss skydivers achieved remarkable feats. In 1923, Lieutenant Hans Hauswirth made the first parachute jump from an aircraft in Switzerland. In 1934, Lieutenant Ernst Baumgartner set the world record for the highest parachute jump, leaping from a hot-air balloon at an altitude of 14,800 metres.
Skydiving in Switzerland after the Second World War
After the Second World War, skydiving began to develop in Switzerland as a leisure activity. In 1947, the first Swiss skydiving club was founded in Geneva.
Over the following years, free-fall became increasingly popular in Switzerland. In 1967, the Swiss Parachuting Federation was founded.
Skydiving in Switzerland today
Skydiving is a popular activity in Switzerland today. There are many skydiving clubs and centres throughout the country. In particular, we invite you to discover the beginnings of sport parachuting in Switzerland, at Sion.
Switzerland is also a prime location for indoor skydiving. In 2014, Switzerland’s first indoor skydiving centre opened its doors in Sion, in the canton of Valais. → RealFly 😍.
Switzerland has a long and rich history of skydiving. The country has played a leading role in the development of this activity, both militarily and civilly. Today, Switzerland remains a popular destination for skydivers from all over the world.
If you dream of this unique experience in complete safety, don’t hesitate to try indoor skydiving at RealFly, Switzerland’s first vertical wind tunnel, located in Sion, Valais.