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  1. Jerry, Thanks for the comment on my post. I do have a letter my father wrote to a journalist at the time about that first North American baton pass that was reprinted in Parachutist in the August 1991 issue. I just tracked the article down and you were closer to right than I was. The first baton pass in North America was made in Abbotsford spring of 1958 during the US Team tryouts for the World Competition. The baton pass was made during the last day of the tryouts which had been designated airshow day with mostly demonstration jumping planned for the day. My dad and Lyle Hoffman were given the "Attempted Baton Pass" event as their demo jump for the day. Lyle cut a 14 inch piece of tent pole and wrapped it with green and yellow plastic tape. There are lots of postings of misinformation about the baton pass Jim Pearson and Lyle Hoffman made as well as the one made 2 months later by Steve Snyder and Charlie Hillard in Fort Bragg, NC. Funny what a big deal it was back then when the concept of relative work was so new when today we teach students in a matter of relatively few jumps to perform RW and head down flying.
  2. The first baton pass in North America in Abbotsford, BC however it was James Pearson and Lyle Hoffman that made that pass. The French made the first baton pass and after that everyone in the US was trying to figure out how to do it. The attempts were always made with 1 person exiting and the 2nd person delaying a few seconds before they jumped. There was not a big understanding of how to fly your body back then so each attempt was really the 2 people passing each other like freight trains. The night before the 1st successful attempt my father, James Pearson, and Lyle were sitting in a bar discussing how to possibly make a successful attempt and came up with the bright idea of not delaying between exits and jumping out together. This was at the Abbotsford airshow and they were doing a demonstration jump so they took a self fashioned baton up with them (not telling anyone about the attempt) and attempted what turned out to be the first successful baton pass in North America. Snyder and Hilliard were the first to make a successful baton pass in the US but not the first Americans to do so. There was a reprint in Parachutist a few years ago of a letter my dad had written to a journalist detailing the entire thing.
  3. Just to add something to this list of early D holders. My father was D-9. When those early D numbers where being handed out it came down to who had the cash first to obtain their license (according the what I was told as a kid). Most of them were young guys (early 20's) with families so extra cash was not exactly abundant for them.