Information for Educators on Skydiving

Last update: 4/20/00

[classroom demonstration]

Freefall Stability Exercise

by Jim Wilson, Activities In Math and Science Education Foundation (AIMS)

This exercise uses a paper skydiver to show how jumpers can fall with full control of their movements.

Click here for a full size image of paper skydiver (image size 7.5 by 9.5 inches)

Cut away the paper border of the skydiver.

[paper skydiver]

Fold the skydiver in half length wise like this.

[paper skydiver]

Find the center of gravity by balancing your skydiver on a pencil, like this.

[paper skydiver]

When it balances, mark the place. This point is the center of gravity. Unfold the skydiver but do not smooth out the crease. Draw a line across the skydiver on the center of gravity mark. Fold the skydiver along the belly of this line.

Unfold skydiver but do not smooth out the crease. Your skydiver should look like this (below):

[paper skydiver]

Hold your skydiver as high as you can and release. The paper skydiver should fall face to earth as real skydivers do for freefall stability.

[paper skydiver]

Hold the skydiver upside down and release. As the skydiver starts falling upside down, it will soon flip over to the normal face to earth.

[paper skydiver]

Another exercise can demonstrate turns. Fold upward one arm and fold down the opposite leg down. Don't fold too much, just a little. This should induce a freefall turn. This is a little tricky so it may take some adjustments.

[paper skydiver]

Skydiver Formations ("Relative Work"): Choose a two-way or three-way formation. Predict, then join different skydivers with SMALL pieces of tape, and drop them several times.

[paper skydiver]

Activities In Math and Science Education Foundation (AIMS)

NASA Ames Aerospace Encounter

The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook

Parachute Discussion

Parachute Quiz


Aeronautics Quiz

How Air Moves Over Objects

How Air Moves Over Objects Quiz

Forces in Flight

Forces in Flight Quiz

Disclaimer and Purpose


Parachuting is a high risk activity and can result in serious injury or death.

This website is for noncommercial, informational purposes only. This is not an instructional guide.

The purpose is to provide information on skydiving from high altitudes. I am not an instructor and I am not claiming to be one. For those interested in learning to skydive or participating in a high altitude jump, you must obtain training from competent and rated instructors.

Michael Wright, D13106
Website Editor

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