Lew was managing Hemet SPC when he made his 500th jump in 1960.  This is the story of it in Lew's own words.

My logbook read 499. I had waited a lifetime for this next one. Actually it was five lifetimes as I recall more accurately, for as a military jumper just out of service at the tender age of twenty-one, I made the statement, "If I ever make one hundred jumps, I will quit jumping." Yet my log showed 499.

It was Saturday, April 30th, and tomorrow I will have made the jump since all the arrangements had been made for a 6:30 a.m. take-off Sunday morning. Still it remained to be decided just what my 500th would be.

It was not an easy choice for a person, who in 11 years of jumping, had fallen a total of 246 miles in over three hours of free fall.  What could I do that would be different? Jump a different type plane?

I had jumped a total of 37 types of aircraft which include Russian, Yugoslavian, Czechoslovakian, French, German, Canadian, and a few American rare ones such as a Parason Fairchild 22, a Meyers Bi Plane and a Waco U.P.F-7.

Then, there is always the altitude question. Yet the log shows over 38 miles in 60 second delays alone. My highest to date?  20,000 feet with a 100 second delay.  I could not better than this without special type aircraft or military aircraft. That ended that thought.

Something in baton passes?  The log again shows my encounters with baton passes.  It started by what I still call my most impressive jump to date -- holding hands with Jim Pearson on 14 July 1958, over Holland D.Z. at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and it continues with 16 baton passes with the same baton, of which 6 were double passes and 6 passes on four consecutive jumps. And the total I hope is not finished. Triple Pass? This had been completed five passes between six jumpers. As you no doubt realize, the
presently impressive deeds seem to have been accomplished already. Still more will follow as techniques improve and knowledge increases.

What finally helped my decision was my remembrance of statements by various people who seemed opposed to the P.C.A. (Now called the USPA) technique of starting and continuing safely in sport parachuting.  Everyone has their own ideas on how sport parachuting can best be learned.  Fortunately, P.C.A. regulations were written on the basis of past experience by many parachutists, collected, of course, over a period of time.

So what could be more unusual and unexpected for my 500th jump than a static line jump with dummy ripcord pull and a jumpmaster!  This was my decision.  Lynn Pyland was my
Jumpmaster and Robert Venable was the pilot of the Cessna 180. They dropped me at 7000 feet so with my new LoPo canopy designed in my own red, white and blue pattern.  I had five minutes and 45 seconds to find out I have a honey of a parachute.  Also, I now
have five sport static line jumps and my first dummy ripcord pull. 

Close window to return
Close Window