How parachutes work is identical to that of the Galileo’s Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment. Galileo climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped two balls of different masses, but similar shape and density at the same time; they both hit the ground at the same time. Parachutes were developed centuries later from the same principle that was in an experiment involving both a feather and a rock. Both the feather and rock were dropped at the same time, but the rock hit the ground much sooner than the feather. They are both accelerating at -9.8 m/s (g), yet the rock hit the ground first. This conclusion is a result of air resistance. There is a greater deal of friction acting upon the feather because it has a larger surface area and has a density similar to that of the air particles. However, in the vacuum of space or an area where friction is not present, a feather would fall just as fast as any other object. When humans fall from a high point, they are like the rock in the example above, but when they are given a parachute and use it, they resemble the feather. Parachutes increase one’s air resistance as they continue to fall. Terminal velocity is the highest velocity attainable by an object as it falls through air. It occurs once the sum of the drag force (Fd) and buoyancy equals the downward force of gravity (FG) acting on the object. In other words, an object/thing can not exceed a certain speed falling downwards, assuming that only gravity is affecting it, because there will be enough air resistance present to balance the acceleration, giving it a constant speed, which is your Terminal Velocity. Parachutes are designed to reduce Terminal Velocity by a whopping 90 percent!
Parachutes are actually three chutes in one packed into a container. It consists of the main parachute, the reserve parachute (a backup parachute), and the pilot chute (helps the main parachute open).The pilot chute is triggered by pulling the ripcord. The suspension lines, ropes that connect the main chute to your harness, then open behind you. Thankfully, the main parachute is designed to open in a delayed fashion that prevents your body from breaking by being jerked too hard and suddenly. When you are falling at fast speeds, and there is an immediate 90 percent drop in that speed, one’s body will break. So the parachute is slowly funneled out of one’s container to initiate drag. This keeps our body safe from a whiplash, jerk or jolt (someone or something) suddenly, typically so as to cause injury, like incident. The Terminal Velocity that humans reach when they skydive is about 55m/s, and will drop to 4.5m/s when their parachutes are opened.