Da Vinci Parachute

Over 500 years ago Leonardo da Vinci designed a parachute. He was certain it would fly, though he had no way to prove it. This was true of most of his designs. The cliché – “He was way ahead of his time” came into existence because of Lenny.

In fact he left us specific details in one of his notebooks. He describes the exact materials and processes that should be used to build this wonderful contraption.

He believed that a man could jump from any height and the parachute would allow him to fall safely back to the ground, completely unharmed. leonardo-da-vinci-parachute1

In the 15th century, the problem was Da Vinci had no way to lift the parachute into the air high enough to test it. That wasn’t possible until 1783 when the 1st Hot Air Balloon was designed and flown. Only then was it possible to pick the parachute up and raise it to an altitude high enough for a drop test.

Hot air balloons have been around for over 200 years. Leonardo’s parachute design and materials for over 500.

But no one has ever bothered to try and test it. Not a single one of us in over 2 Millennia. Why?

Then along came a man named Adrian Nicholas. He decided what the hell? Why don’t we build it and test it? Of course all of the modern day parachute designers and engineers said it would never work. What do they know?


I taught my class Da Vinci and the 40 Answers in Austin, TX last week at the Wizard Academy.

We were talking about how cool it was that someone finally got off their ass and tried it.

Adrian was our kind of peeps.

One of my duties as a member of the Board of Directors for the Wizard Academy is to seek out and find cool people like Adrian to come speak at the Academy and share their experiences.

I went looking for Adrian Nicholas. I wanted to extend an invitation to him to join us at the Academy. I was incredibly excited about getting the chance to talk to him. I wanted to hear his story; how he just decided to go for it and try it when no one else had in 200 years. What made him decide to take the chance?

Then I found out that Adrian Nicholas died 3 and a half years ago doing what he loved; skydiving.

No cliché can capture the enormous jolt that news had on me, so I won’t try.

In class, while we were talking about Da Vinci’s parachute, we were also talking about “time and money.”

Time and Money.

You can trade one for the other. You can spend money to save time.

When you spend money you can always make more.

When you spend time it is gone forever.

Adrian, I wish I could have met you.

Mark L. Fox

About admin

Mark L. Fox is a leading authority on teaching practical creative thinking techniques for business. Mark was the youngest Chief Engineer ever on the Space Shuttle program at the age of 31. He received NASA’s highest recognition of “Launch Honoree” at the age of 23. Mark has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an MBA. Having held top management positions in Rocket Science, Aircraft Hydraulics, Engineering Services, Customer Service, Software, and e-Business, Mark has an extremely diversified background.


  1. Everything dynamic and very positively! 🙂

  2. Hi, You think it is strange that someone didn’t test it? I find it very strange that 200 years before the invention of the hot air balloon let alone the plane that he has an idea to save someone from falling – from where a cliff.

  3. Great comment…..thanks Simon.

  4. That is a great site! I saw the information is very usefule! I will tell my firend to visit!keey good jop webmaster!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *