I also got my rigger's license at the Quincy loft, Dan Poynter was there at the time. Ted told us it was tradition for the students (there were 2-3 of us) to take him out to the Charles Street Steakhouse the night before our practical exam. We did and he told us that we would do fine in the practical, the only thing they looked for was our carefully following the manual for the particular rig we were packing. He said if we got there early enough we could pick out the rig we wanted to do our practical on. We got there early the next morning, but Ted was there earlier. Nowhere in sight were the rigs we had been working on all week. He gave me the weirdest looking rig I had ever seen, along with the manual. It was a WWii Japanese troop rig, and he had the manual with it, read like a Chinese menu. Fortunately there were some pictures. Needless to say he had a great sense of humor. He also, at the time was in a treasure hunting partnership with a guy in Florida. They had dove a few sights and the deck of there boat was filled with rusted iron and wood pieces and clumps of coral attached. A few weeks later a clump the size of a softball was found left over after the rest of the stuff was removed. It broke open and a half dozen pieces of eight fell out. My condolences to hid family and friends
(This post was edited by danchapman on Oct 15, 2011, 4:31 PM)
What a loss! I was doing a hop & pop with another jumper at DeLand this last Spring and on the way up the other guy asked me how long I have been jumping. I told him 39 years and I in turn asked him the same question. He said 50 years and introduced himself as Ted Strong.
Happy I had the opportunity to not only meet this legend but to jump with him.
Wow, A true pioneer of the sport, I am proud to say I met and had some great conversations with. Blue Warm Air my friend.
Ted constantly called me "Junior." When he asked me to shoot the Pioneers of Sport Parachuting jumps both in Utah and Elsinore, both times he made comments of "We'll take care of you, Junior."
Ted taught a lot of people a lot of things, and although he was a very busy man, he always seemed to have the time to talk when it came to exchanging ideas and opinions. I'm sure there is no way of measuring the influence he's had on our sport and military systems. I want to remember Ted this way. There are some edited-out scenes, but it was wonderful to see him laugh so hard when this reserve popped out as he was showing me how the system check worked. He couldn't speak for a few minutes. I didn't know him nearly as well as many, but the few projects we worked on for him were amongst my favorites. My condolences to Marcie and family.
(This post was edited by DSE on Oct 15, 2011, 9:18 PM)
The first time I met Ted was at an S&A meet in the late 70's, a broke college student I was shooting accuracy on an old POS canopy that was so far out of trim it landed only slightly slower than not having a canopy at all.
Ted pulled me aside after the meet and told me that as a big guy I wouldn't last long in the sport unless I got better equipment...I took his advice.
I had the pleasure of performing in some demos with Ted, and he set up me getting my tandem ticket in '86. Ted sponsored Liberty Parachute Team with not only standard skydiving equipment but also assisted in the design and manufactured the specialized gear.
I would run into Ted at different skydiving events around the country, what I enjoyed so much about those times was that we never talked about skydiving. He would tell me about the fascinating things he was doing outside the sport and I would do the same.
I sincerely doubt it's possible to measure all the contributions Ted made to the sport of skydiving, but it is most certainly true it would not be what it is today without him.
For as long as I can remember, Ted has always been there. I bought my first "real" rig from Ted. When I made my first very own rig, I bought the para-pack, webbing and hardware from Ted. Anytime I had a question about gear or jumping, Ted was always ready to help, although he must have hated selling me everything one yard at a time. Because has has always been there for me, I thought he always would.
This is a truly sad day. We were competitors, but we were friends first.
My favorite memory of Ted is from the early days of tandem when Ted and I were practically the only people in the world doing tandem. We knew we had something special, but we didn't yet know if it would be a safe and practical. Up till this point we had been working separately, but on this day we decided to work together. So we exited a 182 over DeLand with two experience female jumpers, and did the world's first tandem RW..a two-by-four if you wish. There were no drogues yet, and those first tandem parachutes tended to destroy themselves (and the jumpers) every other jump or so if you took them to terminal, even with a light passenger. So I guess were were both lucky that day as everything went perfectly.
We landing laughing out loud, shared a round of beer with girls, and the rest is history. I think we can all agree that tandem jumping has worked out very well indeed.
i was lucky enough to meet ted on a few occcsions and the last time i talked to him was in Z-Hills when jerry bird got inducted to the hall of fame. he was a true gentleman,although i did have a couple arguments with him regarding tandem gear. i was working in new zealand at the time and i remember i wrote a strongly worded letter to him about a couple things i found. and fair play to him he replied immediatley gave me some great advice and send some parts free of charge. he was very honest and upfront and a true legend and pioneer for the sport. he will be missed. my deeepest sympathy to all of his friends and family RIP Ted
I had called about two weeks to discuss something and we ended up having a rather long conversation about a number of things.
Yea that was one of the coolest things about calling the factory.... you never knew when Ted would answer the phone. I've a had a number of phone calls with him, the first one was a surprise.... he bent over backwards to help me and went out of his way to send me manuals to all his gear.... for free! He also bent over backwards to help me with my tandem gear and get issues taken care of.... if he didn't handle it personally, he made sure the staff took care of it.
Rest easy and blue skies Ted..... Thanks for all you've given for so many years, you'll be missed!
(This post was edited by stratostar on Oct 16, 2011, 4:49 AM)
Ted's life vas dedicated to his sport, he brought a lot to people from my age and my kind, the actual young generation probably does not know much about him since he has chosen to stay in the shadow... he always has been there when I have been asking for a technical information, very helpful, as it has been written down by rinaldi524, Ted has not been trying to make money in this sport, his goal was to improve it all the time, if by chance he would have the opportunity to carry on for the next 20 years, for sure he would have been done it ..there is probably so few people like him in the skydiving industry, what it needs to be mentionned..thanks for your time Ted
One of my FB friends posted "Where would we be today had it not been for Ted Strong?"
I answered thusly --
Still jumping SILK parachutes with no apex and wild oscillations that break legs, and probably still in surplus containers. Paratroopers would be using the German WW-2 style single point support system instead of two risers that let a person steer. We'd still be using gliders to deliver goods to the battlefield instead of LAPES.
In my opinion, the two most influential people on military jumping and sport skydiving have been Ted Strong and Bill Booth. Bless 'em both.
I "met" Ted about 1975, when I bought my first new gear -- A Navy blue Strong Starlite (loaded with a used blue/black/white Stratostar and a 26-foot Navy conical). Loved the rig.
Loved the man too, when I met him in person a couple of years later when I was editor of Parachutist and went to the Z-Hills Turkey boogie in 1978, when it was basically still the biggest boogie in the world.
When I started BASE jumping with Carl Boenish the next year, Ted was keenly interested in this new variation on parachuting and we talked regularly about technique and gear developments therein.
So it was no surprise that Ted showed up at Bridge Day 1984 with (IIRC) his still-experimental tandem parachute system, held up the tandem harness to me and said with his famous wry grin: "Interested?"
I said "I'll watch you do one first," and while he went just a touch head-low, he was fine and so on the next "load," we jumped together and made history doing the world's first-ever tandem jump.
Later, people asked me how I could trust my life to another person on a BASE jump. My response: "Ted Strong is the most reliable piece of parachute equipment I've ever had on my back. He's worked perfectly 5,500 times, and he's the only conscious parachute system with automatic self-preservation mode that I've ever worn."
Two years later I got my Strong tandem instructor rating, and many times during the ensuing 25 years Ted and I spent time together in person or, more often, on the phone, talking parachuting and other subjects. As others have said, Ted always seemed to have or make time for pretty much everyone, no matter what he had going on.
Ted Strong was indeed a visionary and a pioneer, but even more importantly, he was a gentleman and a first-class human being and we in sport parachuting were honored and blessed to have him as long as we did.
And while of course Ted would've loved to have another 15 or 20 more years with Marcie and parachuting, I'm sure he's content that it ended with a cool jump story:
There he was age 75 skydiving hard at the cutting edge test jumping one of his own creations on a beautiful autumn day with young-enough-to-be-his-children/grandchildren friends and colleagues who all lived to tell lies about his last jump.
Cheers, old friend. We'll miss you but you lived large, long and with a heart full of love and you can't do much better than that.
I met Ted in 1979. In 83 we met again at "the bridge" and hung out a bit. Over breakfast of fried mush and molasses Ted, knowing I was doing tandems for Booth in Deland, was thinking out loud about doing one off the bridge. My ears perked up -but- it would have been his first BASE jump ever. I took a pass and was pleased, if not envious, to see that you took him up on his offer the following year.
Ted was in the vanguard of gear development. His harnesses were supremely comfortable. Modest but strongly opinionated (he wouldn't let anybody touch his container templates with their aesthetic/cosmetic suggestions) he delved deeper and deeper into what parachute delivery systems could do. He knew as well as anybody what the risks were/are and I imagine he wouldn't let any of his systems be tested that he himself wouldn't jump. He was no PT Barnum. He lived his conviction.