Believe it or not, this is the topic of a study led by a Harvard medical school team that just published its results in the BMJ (formerly known, as the British Medical Journal). The paper, titled "Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial" concludes that parachute use: "[does] not reduce death or major traumatic injury when jumping from aircraft in the first randomized evaluation of this intervention. However, the trial was only able to enroll participants on small stationary aircraft on the ground, suggesting cautious extrapolation to high altitude jumps. [...]" The paper, of course, is a good humor satirical take on the significance of randomized control trials. A scientist's way of being funny and making a point at the same time. And it's fun to read. In an accompanying blog post the authors explain their motivation as follows: "In 2003, Smith and Pell published a tongue-in-cheek systematic review which concluded that there were no randomised clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of parachutes in preventing major trauma related to “gravitational challenge.” They argued that the “most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine” should volunteer to participate in a randomised, double blind trial of the parachute. In the two decades since the appearance of this seminal work in The BMJ Christmas issue, the parachute has been the paragon of biological plausibility. The saviour of anecdote. The arch-nemesis of evidence based medicine. There isn’t a week that goes by without a head shaking colleague reminding us that the parachute hasn’t been tested in an RCT."