Why a parachute is definitely a vehicle.

Now, I'm sure some of you read the title of this article and immediately started to wonder if I was dropped as a baby. The answer to that question is yes, but that is not the issue I am here to discuss. Recently, a Sir Marshall Kini wrote about why a parachute is not a vehicle, according to his own logic. Usually one would not classify a parachute as a vehicle, and I would also agree with this sentiment most of the time. There is an exception to this, and that is according to the following.

According to Mr. Kini, to be a vehicle, something must:

  • be able to get a person or cargo from a clearly defined Point A to a clearly defined Point B
  • be at least partially human controlled
    • a self-driving car can still be human controlled, so it is still a vehicle
  • reduce the necessity of a basic unaided human movement
    • a basic unaided human movement is something like walking, running, swimming, or climbing. Something that a human can do with nothing but their own bodies
As some of you may know, it is impossible to survive a fall from about 5 stories up or higher. From the more extreme heights, such as 14,000 feet, the typical height your average skydiver would fall from, people would also probably die.

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Two skydivers having a good time 10,000 ft above sea level

With this fact to consider, many people would normally bring a parachute with them when they consider falling from such a height. From Point A, which is 14,000 ft above the ground, people can travel to Point B, which is 0 ft above the ground, with the use of a parachute. Of course, people can easily traverse this distance without the use of a parachute, but then they would probably die of shock or something. Of course, one could easily say that the parachute is only a tool to ensure survival, but that is not its only function, as it can also be used to circumnavigate the skies.

While one could traverse the great blue via plane or wingsuit, there are some cases where a parachute is an absolute necessity.

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An American serving his country

As seen in the image above, the army uses these wondrous devices to traverse the skies. Why, you ask? Simple, to gather enemy intel.

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Typical locations to hide the intel

Most enemy intel is guarded in rooms such as these, and it is imperative for the U.S. Army to gather intel to secure our country from enemy threats. In order to access these rooms, one must have the necessary clearance, or simply break in. Like the proud Americans we are, we choose the latter option. To infiltrate enemy bases, soldiers may use the HALO technique to drop into enemy bases without being caught on radar. HALO stands for "High Altitude Low Opening", which means that soldiers only open the parachute at low altitudes, typically around less than 1,000 feet from the ground.

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Diving for that intel

As seen here, people will usually take a plane, which is another vehicle, up to these heights to prepare the transition to using a parachute. This can be compared to switching from a getaway car to a boat to flee from any angry Cubans. Both the getaway car and the boat are vehicles because they fit all of the above criteria, and this is true of the plane and the parachute, which work in conjunction to ensure American safety.

Parachutes also fit the criteria of being partially human controlled, as they can be used to circumnavigate the sky with human control, and not just from an airlift.

Man steering with parachute

As seen here, parachutes are controlled via two lever-thingies on both sides of the guy, and are pulled to indicate which direction one would like to steer towards.

Kini's last bullet states that a vehicle must reduce the necessity of basic unaided human movement.
 He states, "a human being is capable of falling with nothing but their own body, so a parachute is not necessary to get from Point A to Point B. This does not mean that you will survive, but a parachute is more similar to a harness when mountain climbing than a car when driving." This point is clearly invalid, as I'm sure most people expect to survive when transporting themselves from one place to another. If one does not survive, what is the point of moving from one place to another? It's like saying that one would prefer to crash into a brick wall while driving.

So, according to Kini's logic, is a parachute a vehicle? Yes. Does this pertain to everyday life? No. If you personally disagree with this, feel free to leave a comment stating as to why this does not follow Kini's logic.

Remember to take your parachute with you to work!

- Gabe :)


  1. In addition, the human controlling the parachute is not the main instigator or channel for movement. Though the parachute is not conveyed by its own mechanics and relies of the wind to function, the same logic applies to any man-made tool. Circumstance is key, making an ideal, all-purpose vehicle a practicable impossibility. Just as a car relies on the ground and other various factors to function, a parachute does as well. Therefore, even the most seemingly unfit objects can be utilized for vehicular purposes given correct practice. Anyways, good debate my fellow comrades. I hope the polls are fair for both of you, Gabe and Kiin.

  2. Well said D3adlock420. I hope that we can end the misclassification of parachutes not being vehicles so we can motive society to prosper as a whole. To often do we let classism separate us and thwart us from making advancements in society. However, unifying the people is what will bring world peace and this is only one step forward.

  3. I have a few things to say. First off, this is very well written. However, there are a few flaws in your argument. You say that the big men jumping from a plane to parachute is like a switch in vehicles in the same way that switching from a car to a boat is. However, jumping from plane to parachute is more similar to moving from a boat to swimming.

    In addition, you say that because a human can use basic motion to end their own lives that anything that prevents that is a vehicle. That is not the case at all. The common example would be climbing a mountain without a harness. It's possible, but a very bad idea. However, a harness is very clearly not a vehicle. Another example would be going diving without an oxygen tank. One probably could not do it, but that does not mean that an oxygen tank is a vehicle.

    Your example of collecting intel is also a bit moot as most people who gather intel do not do so while in freefall, but rather on foot. While one may be parachuting in the process to get the intel, there is no necessity to use it to get to where the intel is.

    I would like to restate that the idea of a vehicle is not to prevent death, which you seem to think is. To consider anything that makes travel safer a vehicle is foolish. A tunnel makes travel less treacherous, but it doesn't mean a tunnel is a vehicle. I could probably think of examples like this for a while, but I'm sure you understand my point.

    Despite our disagreeances, I enjoyed listening to your point of view. Although, to say that my logic says a parachute is a vehicle when you added your own rules to my logic (which I had already used to show why I believe a parachute is not a vehicle,) was likely not in your best interest.


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