Feb 1, 2009, 7:32 AM
Post #1 of 26
Chip passed away yesterday at Skydive Carolina while under canopy doing a tandem. For those that knew him you knew 2 things about him: 1- He was a self-proclaimed "Drogue-Ho", and 2- He was as nice a guy as you'd find on any DZ. Met him as a first time jump student at Skydive Walterboro years ago.
Chip also told me what may be the funniest skydiving story I have ever heard: He was doing a tandem (surprise) somewhere in Florida with a name camera flyer (that I can't recall right now). The camera flyer was on his back with one foot on the tandem student's chest, and the student holding his foot (I know, I know). The camera guy "burbled up" and brushed by the student briefly being chest to chest with the student. After that Chip said he saw "a flash of color" a couple of times and then saw what it was. There in the student's hand was the camera guy's cutaway pillow and cable! He waved the camera guy in, showed it to him, and then mouthed to him "IT SUCKS TO BE YOU!!!" Chip said you could see this in the video, which they watched about 20 times that night!
This is unexpected and hurts like hell. Chip was my Tandem Master for one of the early tandems I did long before I took AFF seven years ago. He was there as a mentor long enough to see me make my first 60 jumps or so. Taught me how to pack. About the most important things to keep in mind while skydiving. "Remember, every skydive is the most important skydive of your life. Whatevers on the ground, stays on the ground." Back in the day I called him Master Yoda and he was the closest thing to it I ever met in the sport, represented everything I wanted to be in a skydiver and later, instructor. I've chosen very few role models in life and he was one of them. Long after he'd left my home DZ I ran into him at a bigway wingsuit event-by that time I'd "grown up" in the sport and graduated to things like wingsuit design and instruction-and I had the chance to let him know that the same stuff he taught me I was now passing down to the next generation of up-and-coming wingsuiters. Now I'm glad I took that opportunity to say that when I had the chance. Wish I'd known that was going to be the last time I saw him. He was one of the highest quality people I've known and I am going to miss him. So long, man. Seeya by the fire on the far side someday. -B
I am glad to say I met Chip at Skydive Pepperell with many awesome peeps. Many a night keeping wuffos from wanting to kick some unnamed drunk skydivers ass (not that they didnt deserve it). But, Chip could defuse the moment, a smile to be missed. To leave this world doing what you love... is the best anyone could wish for.
My mom sent me a link the news article this morning and although I didn't know Chip at all, it was very sad to read. I was pretty suprised the student was able to land the tandem rig without injury and keep his mind enough to perform CPR.
Just got a note from James at Chester: "I wanted to inform the jump community that an exclusive story will be released on Good Morning America (ABC) in the morning (Tuesday, February 3rd) from 7:31am thru 7:38am EST. Chip's tandem student, Daniel Pharr will be interviewed by Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts.
A man among men, a true skydiver, a friend, a laugh. Chip was everything to a lot of people, mostly he was our dearly loved and adored friend and father.
Chip was one of my first instructors and more importantly he was a mentor and best of all he was a true friend. A lot of years have passed since Sir Chip Steel and I first met, but don't worry, just as many beers have passed too. In fact, he introduced me to "the case of beer rule" when something is done for the first time. As i recall, I only had a few bucks left in my pocket and it wasn't enough to buy a case, so Chip, Nelson and I went to the Rusty Horn in Walterboro and we had two beers each and he began telling stories. I knew then that he was someone that clearly unique.
When I became a "tandem ho", he told me about all of the hard work involved. I never imagined that the hardest thing he would make me learn was how to say good bye. To know Chip was to know that he went from this world doing what he absolutely loved.
HEAVEN IS NOW A MUCH BETTER PLACE; ENJOY YOUR NEW WINGS BROTHER
To all of the people at Walterboro, Chester, Pepperell and Palatka as well as those scattered through out, I know your loss is certainly no less than my own and each of you are in my prayers to ease your pain.
quote from Chip: " OK...........this skydiving stuff is over, lets get a beer, I'm thirsty"
God lent us one of his angels for a breif time, now let us celebrate his life!
(This post was edited by listo on Feb 3, 2009, 6:05 AM)
Thanks for sharing the interview link. Chip was a super nice guy and I'm grateful for the time I got to work with him. As we would say in the Arizona desert - It's hump day, but it's a dry hump. Blue skies Chip!
Chip was a super nice guy, always smiling. As a student he gave me alot of great advice. I always enjoyed him being around at walterboro, and will miss seeing him there. it was a privilege to know him the short time i did.
I tried it earlier and couldn't get it to work for me . It's working ok now . Got me why.
I met Chip a few years back down in Walterborough to do some base and a bit of skydiving along with my friends David Shipman, Ken Diodone, Todd Bonnea and Nelson. We all went out to the buzzard tower. Made a jump after dark,went out for drinks and dinner in Charleston afterwards. And all i could think of was what a great bunch of new friends i have made! I remember Chip talking about doing aff and tandems working at the dz a lot. He was one of the most positive friendly outgoing guys. After that i met up with all of the guys (TEAM GARGOYLE) base jumpers for several years at rivers for Bridge day .We got cabins side by side on the hill . It was great sitting around the fire listening to David singing with his guitar Chip, Todd, Nelson and all the wives talking and being the greatest group of people .
I had the pleasure of knowing Chip for the pass five years. He was a dear friend and mentor. Since his return to South Carolina we jumped tandems weekly and I always enjoyed his stories and advise on how to correct certain problems I often experienced with tandems. He was always willing to help and he will be missed by many. I will never forget Chip. Blue skies my friend.
I can't even imagine how anyone who ever knew Chip could ever forget him. He was one of our very best. So many of us owe him so much for his encouragement and help in our own training and I feel very fortunate to have called him my friend.
We're really gonna miss this guy.
And just for the record.... At no time did his hands leave his body!!!!!
I lived in a trailer next to Chip my first real summer as a skydiver. He was the ultimate coach, mentor and friend- never too tired to give advice, and always looking out. I am grateful for the time he spent making everyone around him better, safer skydivers.
Chip, give Paul a big hug for me. Fly Free.
p.s. I still have your book! I'll make sure it gets in the right hands.
Chip I am glad I was able to take that photo of you and my best friend Cheryl Stearns that day at Florida Skydive Center hwen we worked together. I have that on my wall. A good day.... I will miss you my friend. I loved bringing all of those tandems from Disney!!!! You always showed them a great time!!! God bless you my friend. Disney David