2011 Hall of Fame Inductees
2011 Hall of Fame Inductees
The late Uwe Beckmann made his first jump in 1964 and logged more than 1000 jumps in his career. He is a one-time German junior champion and was a member of the West German team at the relative work world cup in South Africa in 1974. Uwe was an active participant in the International Parachuting Committee of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale bringing competitors from several nations together. He participated in discussions of early relative work events, including baton pass relays and stars. Beckmann collaborated with Larry Yohn in writing “Sky Diving,” which was published in 1979. In 1994, he was awarded the FAI Gold Parachuting Medal “for an outstanding accomplishment in connection with parachuting.” Beckmann died in 1999.
Bill Booth, D-3546, took up skydiving in 1965 and became an instructor in 1967. Bill has been awarded 12 U.S. and international patents for skydiving safety systems including the hand-deploy pilot chute, 3-ring release system, and the Skyhook reserve deployment system. In 1972, he founded the Relative Workshop, later renamed United Parachute Technologies, a parachute manufacturing company now located in DeLand, FL. In the 1990s, he formed Polar Expeditions, Inc. and with his Russian partners led six parachuting expeditions through Siberia to the North Pole.
Jacques-André Istel, D-2, is known as the “father of modern skydiving.” He immigrated from France as a boy and began parachuting in the United States in 1950. On a visit to France in ’55, Istel learned techniques of controlled freefall which he brought back to the United States ending the days of flailing between exit and deployment. He formed the first US team to compete at the 3rd World Meet in Moscow and introduced collegiate competition. In 1957, with Lew Sanborn as VP, he created the world’s first private parachute company.
L. Len (Lenny) Potts, D-220, officially began his skydiving career in 1952 in New Jersey with the U.S. Special Forces and his civilian skydiving career in 1958. By the time he officially retired from skydiving, he had logged 3,500 jumps and participated in countless competitions both in the states and abroad. In the late 60’s and 70’s, Lenny served as the USPA’s FAA liaison on Capitol Hill where his personal persuasiveness was instrumental during the growing years of the USPA. Currently, he is president of the board trustee for the National Skydiving Museum.
The late Steve Snyder, D-5, was an aeronautical engineer, aviation pioneer, and skydiver. He learned to fly at 16 and to skydive in college becoming one of the first competitive skydivers in the U.S. In 1958, he and Charlie Hillard were the first two Americans to pass a baton in freefall. After college, Steve started his own parachute jumping school but his interests later shifted to inventing and he incorporated Steve Snyder Enterprises. He earned several patents for parachute gear, among them the Altimaster II, a best-selling altimeter and his Para-Plane was among the first ram-air production canopies. Snyder died in 1999.
Tee Taylor, D-462, made her first jump in 1961 and continued to jump while she worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines. At the 1963 National Parachuting Championships, Taylor qualified for the U.S. Parachute Team after producing a doctor’s note for the meet director that allowed her to skydive with a broken wrist in a plaster cast. In 1964, Taylor led the women’s team that took first place in the world meet in Leutkirch, Germany where she took first place in style and was crowned Overall Women’s World Champion. She also competed in the 1964 Nationals in Salt Lake City and, in 1994, traveled to China with the U.S. Parachute Team as head of delegation.