It’s not uncommon to arrive at the dropzone and feel immense energy – planes turning hot, the packing mats full and jumpers gathered around looking at video from their last jump – the vibe can be felt by everyone! This may sound and look like a regular weekend at Skydive Perris, but there was something very different about the energy output between October 17th and 19th.. The jumpers that assembled had converged from all parts of the world and represented the sport’s history – it was the likes of Jerry Bird, Col. Joe Kittenger, Alan Eustace, Pat Moorehead, Craig Girard, Luke Aikins, Kate Cooper, Muriele Simbro and more! . It was the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame celebration and the energy was booming!
Skydiving is still a relatively young sport. The earliest account dates back to Andre-Jacque Garnerin who made the first parachute jump from 3,200’ from a balloon in October 1797. However, it was a short descent with the parachute opening straight away. Although there were many fantasies from the dreamers about human flight, it took time to develop, and the first freefall jump wasn’t recorded until Leslie Irvin’s jump in 1919.
The advancement of this sport really started to take off once the military adopted it into its strategy. The earliest competitions were held in the 1930’s and then started to popularize shortly thereafter. With all that being said – the majority of the early pioneers are still around! That’s why the Hall of Fame event is an incredible opportunity to attend and immerse yourself in our sports history, AND to also meet many of the pioneers like Muriele Simbro who was good friends with one of the first Skydiving Hall of Fame Inductees Tiny Broadwick! And current Hall of Famers like Alan Eustace who made the highest jump from 135,908 feet!
Not only are you able to meet the pioneers of our sport, skydivers are incredibly friendly and happy to share their stories that shaped our sport’s history. They’re happy to get their photos taken with you, and before you know it, you’ll be Facebook friends!
We at Skydive Perris are incredibly honored to have hosted this event. We too have a long history of being part of many of our pioneer’s history. You can read more of our 40-year story HERE. However, we want to share one of our most memorable moments. In 1972 a group lead by Jerry Bird came to Skydive Perris to build the first and at the time, World Record 24-Way round formation.
At this event, one person who was actually on the original 24-Way World Record, Rich Picarelli and 23 other talented jumpers came together to recreate that very formation. One of the skydivers on the record, Donna Wardeen shared how they built formations during that time period – as big rounds! Back then they hadn’t yet figured out the need for building a base to help stabilize large formations.
It was an incredible moment.
The Hall of Fame Celebration also didn’t disappoint. It was held on the March Air Force Base just a few miles from here and it was packed with over 500 participants to celebrate the 2019 Skydiving Hall of Fame inductees.
From all of us at Skydive Perris, thank you for joining us in this incredible event as we celebrated our sports history. And a special congratulations to the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame:
- Kate Cooper-Jensen (USA)
- Andy Keech (Australia)
- Alan Eustace (USA)
- Tom Sanders (USA)
- Irena Avbelj (Slovenia)
- Chuck Collingwood (USA)
- Patrick DeGayardon (France)
- John Higgins (USA)
- John “Lofty” Thomas (Great Britain)
- Deke Sonnichsen (USA)
Last but definitely not least – a special thank you to the International Skydiving Museum for trusting us to host such a prestigious event!
Categorised in: Skydiving
This post was written by Gabriel