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howardwhite

Gary Harbird

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Astounded to learn of the death of Gary Harbird, D-25785, in a BASE jump in Europe.
Known also as "Muppet," he was from southwest England (Dunkeswell) but had been working in the states as an instructor and video guy for many years, at Providence/Boston Skydiving Center and then at Jumptown. He did a lot of BASE jumps, including from a TV tower about two miles from my home -- I'll never go by it again without thinking of him.
He had also worked as a tunnel instructor and coach and helped me beginning to understand backflying only a couple of months ago..
Blue skies, Mup.

HW

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Astounded to learn of the death of Gary Harbird, D-25785, in a BASE jump in Europe.
Known also as "Muppet," he was from southwest England (Dunkeswell) but had been working in the states as an instructor and video guy for many years, at Providence/Boston Skydiving Center and then at Jumptown. He did a lot of BASE jumps, including from a TV tower about two miles from my home -- I'll never go by it again without thinking of him.
He had also worked as a tunnel instructor and coach and helped me beginning to understand backflying only a couple of months ago..
Blue skies, Mup.

HW





So sad. Thanks for taking me on my first A, and putting up with my slow climbing. I will never forget that day Gary. Blue skies.

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During my comeback, Muppet was really encouraging. Great guy, great instructor, great skydiver. This is such a huge loss for our community. I last saw him at Jumptown in November, and he was just getting ready for his winter trek to Europe. With a snowboard and his rig, I kept thinking how much fun he was going to have. I hope we do some sort of memorial for him at Jumptown this spring.
SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353

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:( I agree that this is a huge loss as Gary's relaxed attitude and strong work ethic made him an incredible man in my eyes. I was hoping to get another jump with him but that will have to wait. I am deeply saddened by this news however, I will always remember Muppet the way he was and I am grateful I got to know him a little bit and that he is in my video! Thanks for helping me become the skydiver I am today and Blue Skies Gary!
Life doesn't come with a rewind button. Live with no regrets! ~ Ed Bishop

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I can't believe the news Howard...

I'll always remember all the times bullshitting in the hangar with Gary on cloud days, the kickass freefly check dive I did with him. I looked up to him greatly as a skydiver, and as a person. I only got to make one jump with him at Jumptown, but I will cherish it forever.

Nate

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Your gonna be greatly missed back across the pond at Dunkeswell mate. I still remember the first time I met you.. I rocked up at Dunkeswell to do RAPS only to find a 12 year old Gary packing!.. mate skydiving and BASE was in your blood. The grin on your face after your first jump was the same size as the grin on your face after 7000 plus jumps! Thoughts and wishes to all your friends and family muppet. Blues

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Not sure how many people remember, or know, this but Gary actually ended up on America's funniest videos a while back. When we were at Boston Providence there was this tall grassy/plant area (about 5-6 ft high) that we would swoop through. One day he was down in it and caught a line, and it looked like the bushes just ate him up a and then spit him out 2 seconds later (tumbling).

Muppet stands up, dusts himself up and (in a thick british accent) says "I got caught in the bushes"

Funny funny stuff - if anyone has the original clip out there (Buckland?) send it my way.

BSBD.
Ian
Performance Designs Factory Team

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I have just posted this on the UK Skydiver forum, Muppet was hardly known in UK except by those of us who knew him as a kid and latterly kept in touch on facebook, and of course his close friends and family.

I was greatly saddened to hear of Gary's death yesterday, I believe it was in Switzerland and I understand it was during a base jump. Yes Gary was helping to pack parachutes (under Andy Guest's close supervision) at Dunkeswell from about the age of 10. He started his AFF course at Dunkeswell pretty much on his 16th birthday in 1999, by which time he had 'helped' with about 3,000 pack jobs. He moved to USA very soon after that to pursue his passion for skydiving which is why few British skydivers will have heard of him unless they had met him at Jumptown, Orange, Mass. or at other US dropzones and base venues. Gary was a USPA AFF instructor and tandem instructor. I understand he had logged over 6,000 jumps. I will always remember an incident at Langar in July 1999 during the Brit 100 jumps. Gary had come up to Langar to watch the Brit 100 record jumps, he was just past his 16th birthday and had done 42 jumps by then. "Lofty" Thomas and John Curtis were standing talking to one another about skydiving gear, Gary was standing next to them, his head cocked to one side listening intently. Then he said something to these two great men of skydiving eqipment knowledge, they half turned towards Gary to hear what he had to say, their body language was saying, patiently and not aggressively "Who the blazes is this young kid interrupting us?". Gary said something else, the two great equipment gurus recognised that this boy knew what he was talking about so they turned towards him, listening, and included him as an equal in the continuing conversation! So it goes to show you must learn something doing 3,000 pack jobs before your 16th birthday! Gary, will be sadly missed by all who ever met him. My deepest condolences to his family.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

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