Near the surface of the Earth, any object falling freely will have an acceleration of about 9.810 metres per second squared (m/s2). Objects falling through a fluid eventually reach terminal velocity. At terminal velocity, the object moves at a steady speed in a constant direction because the resultant force acting on it is zero. For example, a skydiver falling spread-eagled through the air reaches a maximum speed of about 53 m/s.
There are three stages as an object falls through a fluid:
The weight of an object does not change as it falls, as long as it stays whole.
The diagram shows what happens to the speed of a skydiver from when they leave the aircraft, to when they reach the ground after their parachute opens.
Before the parachute opens:
Note that the skydiver does not go upwards when the parachute opens, even though this can appear to happen when a skydiver is being filmed. The illusion happens because the person with the camera opens their parachute later on, so falls downwards past the skydiver.