The parachute allows you to jump from high places and control your decent. Now base jumping in Minecraft is possible! The parachute pretty much steers just like the boat. It's fun! It only takes a few jumps to learn to skydive! Pressing the 'W' key will give you forward motion that can take you pretty far. The parachute will deploy by right-clicking on the ripcord item after you jump. Make sure you are wearing the parachute first! Just above the ground your parachute will 'drop' giving you a soft and safe landing. Watch out for overhanging cliffs and cliff walls. The parachute may 'drop' if you get too close. Use the space bar key to add 'thermal lift' and you will rise up.
There is a config file in the config directory in your minecraft folder. You can set the height limit of the parachute. You really can't do much above 256 meters anyway. So the default altitude is 225 meters. That should be high enough to get you over anything. You can change this to suit your needs including disabling it altogether by using a limit of zero. The parachute texture is the wool texture from the current resource pack. You can choose a single texture color or use a random one. There is also an option to disable the 'thermals'. A 'fallDistance' option allows you to set how far you fall before the parachute auto deploys using the AAD item. You can also select the canopy size too. You can set the parachute texture here also. All this is explained in the config file.
Crafting a parachute is easy, 3 wool blocks, 2 strings, and 1 leather or 3 wool blocks and 3 strings for the hop-n-pop. See the crafting recipe screenshot below. Also the crafting recipes for the ripcord and AAD items are shown too.