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Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary

 

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pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 18, 2008, 11:14 AM
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Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary Can't Post

"So, what are you doing to celebrate 50 years since the first baton pass in North America?"

The history of baton passes has been a bit mixed up and unclear. It sounds like the first may have been Potron & Chalon in France in '56, followed by Hoffmann & Pearson from the US in Canada in '58.

(The main baton pass thread on dz.com has been http://www.dropzone.com/...baton%20pass;#266298)


But in any case:

Three of us who are into old school skydives got together to do a couple baton passes, mostly wearing balloon suits and belly mount rigs. All of us had ParaCommanders. The others were Jerod Cole and Jim Wilson ("Beatnik" here). We realize there were some anachronisms in our jumps, for the era of the first baton passes, belly mounts, and balloon suits did not all coincide.

It was all just small-way RW jumps with very few points, but the old gear made it more interesting.

An edited video of the freefall and landings is at http://blip.tv/file/1182485, viewable online or downloadable in Flash Video or higher resolution wmv. (It'll also go up on Skydivingmovies.com.)

Anyone who knows old skydiving movies will appreciate the background music.

The balloon suits made exit and maneuvering a little tricky, as the experience level with RW in those suits was negligible. Arms get tired when jumping those suits. One can see that on the second jump the right arm of the orange jumpsuit didn't fully inflate. The white balloon suit is really a huge one that does justice to the name.

We made three round jumps each this past weekend, once landing off DZ but the other times in the main landing area. Landings were easy with rolls or standups. No injuries, which is better than what can be said for a couple people with those newfangled square parachutes at the DZ that weekend!


(This post was edited by pchapman on Aug 18, 2008, 11:48 AM)
Attachments: old school - geared up, ready to rock.jpg (133 KB)
  balloon suit in flight.jpg (45.6 KB)


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Aug 18, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Peter,

If you truly want to replicate the old days then go down to your local Sears store and buy three sets of coveralls.

The really kewl jumpsuit 'back in the day.' Cool

JerryBaumchen


Guru312  (C 6814)

Aug 18, 2008, 1:13 PM
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Re: [JerryBaumchen] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If you truly want to replicate the old days then go down to your local Sears store and buy three sets of coveralls.

I second this comment. Wearing a wing suit is cheating a bit.

We spent quite a few jumps wearing Sears coveralls attempting to maneuver our bodies to even see someone in freefall during the latter part of 1960-61.

I can't remember when...sometime in 61-63... when I finally passed our broomstick with tire tape on the ends to another jumper. So long ago I can't remember to whom.

Those were the days!


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 18, 2008, 2:02 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

A little history on the baton pass.
Quote:
May 1966 brought the worlds first 10-man baton pass. Participants were Al Walters, Jerry Bird, Tommy Owens, Joe McKinney, Terry Ward, Al Paradowski, Bill Stage, Don Bradley, Jim Dann and Bob Buquor. Before that dive, the baton pass record stood at around four or five, and it's not known if Arvin's baton pass record has been broken since.

The white one is the only true Krueger balloon suit. The others are just cheap copies.Tongue

Sparky


patmoore  (D 1814)

Aug 18, 2008, 8:44 PM
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Re: [mjosparky] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

As I recall, The first baton pass was made in free fall by two Americans, Lyle Hoffman and James Pearson, over Vancouver, Canada. A month later, my friend Steve Snyder and Charles Hilliard did it over Ft. Bragg N.C. I think they did it out of two C-130s. They were thinking two jumpers from the same plane could never hook up!


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 19, 2008, 3:25 AM
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Re: [patmoore] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

 
In reply to:
As I recall, The first baton pass was made in free fall by two Americans, Lyle Hoffman and James Pearson, over Vancouver, Canada. A month later, my friend Steve Snyder and Charles Hilliard did it over Ft. Bragg N.C. I think they did it out of two C-130s. They were thinking two jumpers from the same plane could never hook up!



Two C-130's?? Wink

Might have been tough, the 1st one flew on Aug 23...50 years ago.

Granted both Steve and Charlie had the 'pull' and the coin to get a couple C-130's later in their years...but as a couple of college students, that might have been a stretch. Wink

The (U.S.) 'Baton Pass' mystery deepens even further! Sly


~`Story One ~

I knew Charlie Hilliard since his Eagle Aerobatic Team stint when he was flying air shows with Tom Popereseny and Gene Soucy.
For years he was the Air Boss at the EAA Oshkosh air show, and me being a member of the parachute demonstration team at that show...I often tried to get Charlie to talk about that 1st baton pass...did manage to get a logbook sig that Steve too signed years later. Cool

Charlie tended to pass it off as no big deal, just something a couple of college guys 'heard' was being attempted, figured they would give it a try and did it.



~ Story Two ~

40 years to the day after the 1st (U.S.) baton pass, we re-enacted the jump at the Oshkosh show with Steve Snyder.

I'd met Steve several times prior, but became friends during that week at AirVenture...a fascinating and remarkable man of countless achievements, Steve seemed to speak with a lot more enthusiasm about the event than Charlie ever did.

Steve said that yes, they had 'heard' similar things were being attempted in 'a few places' around the skydiving world.

And though no one was actually aware that any 'concerted effort' was being put forth, everybody figured someone would eventually do it because so many guys were finally figuring out how to get close enough to each other to 'touch'.

Steve said he and Charlie had 'made contact' in free fall a few times...gave me a wink and said something about not going to elaborate if it was 'by chance or by choice'. Wink

As Steve told it, in order to 'prove' their prowess in the air to their other jump buddies there...(Mass. IIRC)

...almost as an afterthought while walking to the plane, Steve broke off a small branch from a dead limb lying on the ground and told the pilot to make note of who left the plane with it and someone on the ground to make note of who landed with it. Cool


But wait...THERE'S MORE! Shocked




~ Story Three ~

I was jumping an air show in northern California a couple months ago.

As the morning performer briefing was breaking up an older gentlemen flying an act in the program approached me and asked if I was the one they call 'Twardo'?

I confirmed and offered my hand, we introduced ourselves and he pointed to the Strong Enterprise patch on my uniform and asked if I knew Ted...to which I also said yes.

Sit down a minute young man I have a story I've been wanting to tell you for ten years, since your team's re-enactment of the 'first baton pass' at Oshkosh.

According to him, the historical record is in fact a fabrication, likely an innocent one but a fabrication none the less.

He told me that weeks before the Hilliard / Snyder stick-trick, he and Ted had not only done it, but done it more than once.

He said that the reason they never claimed the fame was because in the next month there was to be an accuracy meet at Orange and he & Ted figured it would be only proper that D-1 & D-2 be tapped with the honor of the very first baton pass on U.S. soil.

The ole guy talked the talked...he knew the people and the places and if he wasn't the genuine article, he certainly traveled in their circle!

He explained how Sanborn & Istel were running both the Army free-fall course at Bragg as well as the 'commercial' DZ at Orange, and how the press regarding that 1st pass would be quite boost to the sport....and by handing the honor over to Lew & Jacques, just might put he and Ted in the good graces of the top two guys in the then, new industry.

According to him, Steve and Charlie kinda figured Ted and he either had done it or could do it, which is why they were even trying in the first place...what Steve & Charlie didn't know was the plan to give the ace & deuce of D's the 'honor'.

Since he and Ted hadn't claimed the accolades, Steve and Charlie DID.


"If ya don't believe me, ask Ted for yourself next time ya see him."




Pretty bizarre I thought, but Hell anything is possible so who knows....

Never gave it another thought, that is until a couple weeks ago.

One night...At a private corporate party we jump into during the week of EAA Oshkosh who do I happen to run into but my old 'Tandem Instructor-Instructor' and friend, Bill Mossisey.

I hadn't spoken to Bill since the last PIA convention so we 'guarded the keg' and caught up on things...Sly

As is often the case the skydivers were the last ones to leave the party, I offered to take Bill along with me to the infamous air show performer bar in Oshkosh.

....3 sheets to the wind I remember my encounter in California and tell Bill the story.

Since as a younger jumper I vigilantly attended every safety meeting I ever saw, some of my brain cells have gone the way of the para commander. Unsure

I couldn't for the life of me remember the old guys name, and as I told the story I could see the wheels turnin' in Bill's head.

Oh, Hell...that would have to be Elsworth 'so & so' Bill mused...
He's a crazy ole coot...I dunno if I would believe.........well hey wait a minute, ya know.... there MIGHT be something TO THAT!

So in old school skydiver fashion, Bill puts a DD call at 1:00 am to Ted Strong!

Ted wasn't home, in AZ, doing some testing his wife said...& we let it go at that.

Looks like I'm gonna have to some follow-up checking...if I dig DEEP enough who knows.



...maybe D.B. Cooper was actually the father of Relative Work as we know it. Tongue


pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 19, 2008, 5:01 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like "it was time" for the baton pass to be invented about 50 years back; that various people were getting the idea to dare to get close to each other in freefall. I just wish we had a decent English language account somewhere of the French baton pass. This is even though the standard English language parachuting histories do give credit to the French contribution to early skydiving.


Quote:
the one they call 'Twardo'

... now that's something spoken in hushed, reverent tones, head slightly bowed, by those who wish to be Told A Story.


(This post was edited by pchapman on Aug 19, 2008, 5:03 AM)


JumpUpMyAss  (C 11562)

Aug 19, 2008, 5:26 AM
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Re: [pchapman] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoy seeing stuff like this done - thanks for posting the pics.

Something to consider:

As jumpsuits got larger so did the 'burble'. MA1 pilot chutes gave way to 'hot dogs' with long springs and big inflated diameters to accommodate this.
We also learned to 'sit up' or dip a shoulder and look over the opposite shoulder to watch the pilot chute leave our backs. This interrupted the 'burble' and gave the pilot chute clear air.
Since most jumpers today have never jumped a ripcord rig the 'pilot chute hesitation' is unknown to them.
PCH's can be a big surprise to todays jumpers that venture into rigs from 'back in the day'.
They are the root cause of many '70's era' malfunctions never experienced on todays equipment, bag-locks and the most evil malfunction of all - the 'streamer'.

Have fun but be careful on the old stuff.


patmoore  (D 1814)

Aug 19, 2008, 5:27 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Two C-130's??
No doubt an urban legend I picked up a long time ago.
In reply to:
Might have been tough, the 1st one flew on Aug 23...50 years ago.
The C-130 went into production December 1956. For some reason I thought it was 1953.

Thanks for sharing the narrative above. Very interesting.

I never met Jacques Istel but Lew Sanborn was my instructor and jumpmaster on my first jump, It was at Orange on December 2, 1962. I still have my framed first jump certificate signed by Lew and Jacques.

I had a chance to chat with Lew at Bill Ottley's memorial service. He's a remarkable man.

Steve Snyder was one of the most congenial and friendly guys I ever met. The products he introduced really changed the face of the sport.

Ted Strong introduced some great gear too. I really wanted his style rig but couldn't afford one so I bought a Singer 7-33 and built a knockoff harness. At the Nationals in Plattsburgh in 1970 we had a number of weather holds and Ted asked if he could borrow my sewing machine. I used to travel with an Adler to do canopy and container repairs. After a few hours he came back with a miniature ram air canopy. Beautiful workmanship.

In Spotter Magazine years ago someone (Dan Poynter?) reported that Ted had entered an aviation exhibit in a competition in Osaka, Japan. He had sewn metal stays between the gores of a PC so that it was permanently "open". The writer went on to say that the top award was named for a Japanese aviation pioneer named Setsakaya Tumae. Ted won the "Osake Tumae" award. Wink If readers are too young to remember Laugh In it won't mean anything to them.


(This post was edited by patmoore on Aug 19, 2008, 6:17 AM)


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 19, 2008, 9:07 AM
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Re: [patmoore] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Ted won the "Osake Tumae" award.




In reply to:


" Order in the court room...here come da' Judge! " Cool






Apologies for the narrative, I tend to ramble on a bit during the wee hours...Unsure
The sacrifices one makes when tryin' late night to take the 'quack' outta the ole Gray Goose. PirateWink


I've fortunately had the opportunity to make a bunch of jumps with Lew over the years, many were demos including once flying a line of parachutes through the St. Louis Arch...& his annual accuracy meet has been here at my home DZ for years, I never miss it.

First time I met D-1 that 'really counted' was in Alaska...he and his lovely bride Jackie were camper-driving around the country 'skydiver sight-seein' so to speak....was several years ago- he wasn't a young man BACK THEN!
http://www.dropzone.com/...post=1741189#1741189


My wife & I were in Alaska just sightseein' when I tripped over a dropzone and stopped in. Lew invited me on a jump with two non-English speaking Japanese girls. Shocked

I'd met Lew a few times prior to that but never got to know the side of him that with considerable creativity and compassion, dive-mastered a fairly complicated and successful 4-way seq. dive with those two students and me ...without sayin' a WORD.


He still jumps all the time Smile
~THAT man is one 'Hard-Core' 'Old-School'~''Fuckin' A...SKYGOD!" AngelicBlushCool



~~~VERY Cool !




Lew

Ted

Steve during the baton pass re-enactment.


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Aug 19, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Peter,

Re: I just wish we had a decent English language account somewhere of the French baton pass.

Send me an email, I might just have a contact for you,

JerryBaumchen


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Aug 19, 2008, 12:12 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jim,

I gotta look a little askance on Story Three.

You would think after 50 yrs we would have heard about 'this' by now. Unsure

JerryBaumchen


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 19, 2008, 1:01 PM
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Re: [JerryBaumchen] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jerry~ Smile


~"askance" ~




In reply to:


I'm guessing that's not a good thing huh? Blush


Guru312  (C 6814)

Aug 19, 2008, 2:39 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi Jerry~ Smile
~"askance" ~
In reply to:

I'm guessing that's not a good thing huh? Blush

Whew...now that's the 'Twardo I know...so to speak. Your long post was the longest I've ever seen you post.

But I knew you could do it.


howardwhite  (C 3896)

Aug 19, 2008, 2:45 PM
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Re: [Guru312] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Your long post was the longest I've ever seen you post.
Well, it was long, but it had a lot of empty space in it.Tongue

HW


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Aug 19, 2008, 4:34 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jim,

Go to dictionary.com and check it out for yourself.Laugh

JerryBaumchen


howardwhite  (C 3896)

Aug 19, 2008, 4:41 PM
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Re: [patmoore] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
... my friend Steve Snyder and Charles Hilliard...
Just for the record, it's Charlie Hillard, not Hilliard.

HW


chuteless  (D 41)

Aug 21, 2008, 9:46 AM
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Re: [pchapman] Baton pass jump / 50th anniversary [In reply to] Can't Post

My brother Harry and I were trying hard to do a baton pass in 1963, and it took awhile and a dozen or so jumps before we nailed it.

We always had a baton in our equipment bags, cause that was "THE THING" in those days.

Later we passed a banana ( I stuck it in Harry's mouth in freefall) and raw eggs, and other things, just to make it more interesting.

I knew of two guys who passed a live cat, until it scratched one of them, and he dropped it. They said the cat desparately tried t get stable, but kept flopping over. It was its first chuteless jump....and its last.

( I am not condoning that action...just telling you it happened in Ohio in the 1960s )

The Golden Knights made baton passes at air shows right into the 1970s, and gave the baton to some politician or celebrity on the ground .

I think making a baton pass for old time's sake is a nice gesture.

Bill Cole D-41


skypuppy  (D 347)

Aug 22, 2008, 10:48 AM
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balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

About the juxtaposition of Balloon suits and belly warts on the same jump/

Balloon suits were, I think, sort of in vogue when I started in 1979. I recall at least one person buying a balloon-type suit in 79/80.

Then or shortly thereafter came the two-piece Silly suits, shoobi suits and Jerry Bird Suits.

However, although I think virtually all dz's in Canada were using Belly warts with their student gear in 1979, (SWOOP changed over to tandem-type Innovator containers, still using round canopies in spring of 1980, Gananoque I think went to tandem containers after that, not sure about when Claresholm or the Quebec dz's converted). While I did run into a couple of experienced jumpers with rounds in their tandem containers, I think the only people I encountered using belly warts beyond the student phase were hard-core style and accuracy people.

For instance, Brock or Lindsey Gorrell, Craig Winning, Brenda Blue, Kathy Kangas, Victoria Borghese. Seems to me I remember most of them would have two rigs, a tandem-type for accuracy, so they wouldn't have to sling the reserve, and a second belly rig for style, because some believed that it was advantageous to have a belly=wart rig to keep the centre of gravity lower. Others felt you could bring your knees up higher into your fast fall position without the bellywart, and I believe that by 1984 no one was using the front/back style any more other than for student programs.

I could have that backwards, though because some maybe thought the smaller tandem rigs were less cumbersome for turning style while the bigger, old style foils with ropes and rings fit better into their single canopy containers.

So maybe I don't know exactly what it is I'm talking about, and I'll shut up and see if someone else can make any sense out of it.


murrays  (C 1285)

Aug 22, 2008, 1:43 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

Kathy Kangas was the last one of those people that I remember seeing using front mount gear....back in the days when the zoomies used to train at Gananoque.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 22, 2008, 2:11 PM
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Re: [murrays] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

How long did Cheryl Stearns keep using belly mounts? I vaguely recall she was a holdout for a long time.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 22, 2008, 4:25 PM
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Re: [pchapman] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
How long did Cheryl Stearns keep using belly mounts? I vaguely recall she was a holdout for a long time.
\

The style people like the high mounted chest containers. It gave them something to pull their knees up against when in the style tuck.

Sparky


377  (F 666)

Aug 22, 2008, 4:33 PM
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Re: [mjosparky] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
How long did Cheryl Stearns keep using belly mounts? I vaguely recall she was a holdout for a long time.
\

The style people like the high mounted chest containers. It gave them something to pull their knees up against when in the style tuck.

Sparky
\

I remember one style competitor from back in the day who didn't need a high mounted chest container. She had something else to pull her knees up against... Any guesses as to who I am talking about?


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 22, 2008, 4:52 PM
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Re: [377] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Any guesses as to who I am talking about?

Why Bonnie of course.Tongue

Sparky


wdy_bnckr  (D 624)

Aug 23, 2008, 3:36 AM
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Re: [377] balloon suits and belly warts [In reply to] Can't Post

Susie Newman!


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