It is widely assumed that parachute use improves your chances of surviving a leap from an airplane. However, a meta analysis suggests this practice is not adequately supported by controlled experiments. See the article Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomized controlled trials by Gordon C S Smith and Jill P Pell. The authors summarize their conclusions in the abstract.
As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.