The Aviation Trail Parachute Museum on the second floor of the Aviation Trail building tells the story of the development of the free-fall parachute through interactive exhibits, original artifacts, panels with copies of historic photographs and text, and a timeline around the soffit of the exhibit space. Designed to appeal to both adults and children, one of the museum's most popular exhibits is an interactive display of Joe Kittinger's 102,800-foot jump from a balloon gondola that set a world record in 1960.
At that time*, Joseph Kittinger set the highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump (102,800 feet), longest drogue fall and fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere (614 mph). For a fascinating look back at this historic event, check this link to Kittinger’s account of his experience in a National Geographic article published in December of 2012, the 50th anniversary of the feat: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/121008-joseph-kittinger-felix-baumgartner-skydive-science/
*The pending jump by Felix Baumgartner, referenced in the preface to the article, was accomplished in 2012, with a jump from 128,100 feet, breaking Kittinger’s record, and becoming the first skydiver to exceed the speed of sound while in freefall (833.9 mph). The altitude record was again broken in 2014 by Alan Eustace with a jump from 25 mile above the earth.
For more on parachuting history visit the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum located in the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park Visitor Center at 16 S. Williams St., Dayton, Ohio 45402 and follow @ParachuteMuseum on Twitter. Museum information can be viewed on the Parachute Museum page on this website.