Leslie was born in in Los Angeles, California in 1895. He is credited with making the world’s first free-fall descent using a ripcord in 1919. With an intense interest in parachute innovation and jump safety, he formed his own parachute company also in 1919 which grew to six factories by 1939, and eventually led to today’s Airborne Systems. During the WWII era when canopies were made of silk from Japan, he delivered the first canopies made from nylon instead, the material of choice to this day for skydivers. His many patents for innovative design of canopies and parachuting equipment made possible what we enjoy today.