Recreation: Jumping for Joy

"There are few activities today that are legal, moral, unfattening—and habit forming. Parachuting is one of them," explains Jacques Andre Istel, 34, French-born Princeton graduate and the U.S.'s prophet of sport parachuting. According to Istel, it's as easy as falling off a log. Thousands of feet in the air, of course.

Jumping for the sheer joy of it hardly seems like recreation. Back in 1957, only 200 Americans had tried it for fun. But in 1962, some 15,000 jumpers racked up 80,000 descents. Federal Aviation Administrator Najeeb E. Halaby loves it, and...

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