2012 Hall of Fame Inductees

2012 Hall of Fame Inductees

Class of 2012

2012 Hall of Fame Inductees: (from left) Jennie Cooney (Muriel & Hank Simbro’s daughter), Muriel Simbro (inducted along with her husband Hank – posthumous), Victoria Hinojosa and Toni Evans (daughters of Bob Buquor – posthumous), Dan Poynter, Craig Girard, Claude Gillard. Not represented in the photo – Carl Boenish – (posthumous)

2012 Inductee Carl BoenishCarl Boenish, D-2556, was a pioneer freefall photographer capturing many of the earlier relative work jumps and was the aerial cinematographer for the feature-length movie “Gypsy Moths” starring Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman and Deborah Kerr. He experiment ed with different film speeds, perfected slow-motion techniques and used creative camera angles including mounting a camera backward on his helmet. Boenish was one of the first camera flyers to modify a jumpsuit with wing extensions to slow his fall rate for large-formation photography. He is considered the father of modern BASE jumping and filmed the first jumps from El Capitan in 1978 helping to popularize that sport. He was posthumously awarded USPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Boenish died in a BASE jump off the Troll Wall in Norway in 1984. 

2012 Inductee Bob BuquorBob Buquor, C-450, is one of skydiving’s earliest camera flyers. He played a major role in the beginnings of star formation relative work.  Buquor photographed the first 8-man, was a cameraman on the early TV series, “Ripcord” bringing skydiving into thousands of homes across the country. In 1964, Buquor covered the World Parachuting Championships in Germany for ABC-TV; in 1965, he filmed one of the most dangerous stunts in the history of skydiving: Rod Pack’s infamous chute less jump in Arvin, California which Life magazine published a photo. The Bob Buquor Memorial Star Crest Award is named in his honor. Buquor drowned in 1966 in the ocean off Malibu Beach while filming a stunt sequence for a Hollywood movie. 

2012 Inductee Craig GirardCraig Girard, D-11420, made his first jump in 1981. He has won seven world championships (five in 8-way and two in 4-way formation skydiving). He is a full-time professional jumper and formation skydiving coach. Girard became a U.S. Army Golden Knight in 1986 winning the 1989, 1991 and 1993 World 8-way Formation Skydiving Championships as well as the 1988 and 1990 World Cups of Formation Skydiving. He is a member of Arizona Airspeed winning four world championships and five more world cups in 4- and 8-way; member of the 300-, 357- and 400-way large formation world record skydiving teams and the chief freefall instructor at Skydive Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

2012 Inductee Claude Gillard

Claude Gillard’s sport parachuting career spans more than a half century. He began jumping in 1959 and was an Australian parachuting champion by 1962. He was a pioneer of relative work performing the first 2-way in Australia as well as several baton passes. In September 1961, Gillard leaped from 23,600 feet—a two-minute, eight-second free fall—an Australian record that helped publicize the sport in his nation. He is a judge, coach, rigger, instructor and competitor; he was instrumental in introducing new concepts to the Australian parachuting industry. Gillard served as president of the Australian Parachute Federation from 1966 – 2001; he was a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale judge beginning in 1968; and president of the International Parachuting Commission from 1994-1999. He was a leading proponent of canopy relative work around the world and was awarded the title of Companion of Honor in 2003 from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

2012 Inductee Dan PoynterDan Poynter, D-454, made his first jump in 1962. He is one of skydiving’s foremost equipment authorities; he is a master rigger and canopy designer; American author, consultant, publisher, professional speaker and parachute designer. He has written 127 books – a dozen on skydiving, parachutes, and aviation including “The Parachute Manual—A Technical Treatise on the Parachute,” first published in 1972 and subsequently revised, considered the bible of the industry and a must-have by riggers worldwide. Poynter served as president of the Parachute Industry Association, chairman of the board of the U.S. Parachute Association, president of the International Hang Gliding Commission; is a member of the board of trustees of the National Skydiving Museum and a recipient of USPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

2012 Inductee Hank and Muriel SimbroHank (D-63) and Muriel (D-78) Simbro Henry “Hank” Simbro both began jumping in 1960. Hank was a pilot and aircraft owner; member of the third place men’s team in 1000 meter accuracy at the 1962 world meet in Orange, MA; a decorated World War II Marine Corps veteran who was wounded at Iwo Jima. He died in 2010. Muriel Simbro, known as skydiving’s first lady, was the first woman in the U.S. to earn a D license; she was the leader of the first full women’s team that the U.S. supported winning the 1962 World Parachuting Championships and the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal in a world meet. She received the Helms Athlete of the Year Award, a national award that recognized excellence in amateur athletics. She also appeared on the TV show “To Tell the Truth.”

One comment

  1. I want to thank the Skydiving Hall of Fame for honouring a true gentleman and diplomat, as well as a major pioneer in the sport of parachuting in Australia, Mr. Claude V. Gillard, OAM.

    I was privileged to work for Claude on several occasions, including a stint as his student rigs packer at his Labertouche DZ between ’79 and ’81. Claude always believed strongly, and still does to this day, in the core Aussie moral philosophy of “giving someone a fair go”.

    I fondly recall in 1979 him telling me he didn’t want any of that dangerous Canopy Rel stuff going on over his drop zone, which we had all been reading about in “Parachutist”. So myself and Ben Page worked out the dynamics of how it could be done safely and went up and did the 1st Canopy Rel over Labertouche…. which got us growled at by Claude “okay you got away with it, but be careful”. Still, Claude would not allow CReW to be taught at Labertouche (too dangerous) so I moved down the road to the Commando Skydivers DZ and taught introductory CReW there from ’82 to ’86 under Chief Instructor Denis Cairns (back when there was no such thing as a CReW instructors rating), before retiring from jumping in 88.

    It warms my heart to find out years later he became a strong proponent of something I helped to pioneer in Australia, Canopy Rel.

    You can read more about this amazing gentleman and someone who was a mentor and sort of father figure to me (and a lot of us young bucks back then) at http://labertoucheskydivers.net/staff/Claude.htm

    My wife and I recently flew downunder to visit with Claude at his new home at the Ramblers Drop Zone west of Brisbane. After 29 years since we last chatted, we found him still hearty and hale and full of life at 85+ years and slightly baffled at all the attention he is getting thanks to the Hall of Fame recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to the sport of skydiving/parachuting.

    I can not think of a more deserving person to be so honoured with induction into the Skydiving Hall of Fame, and the 1st Aussie to boot. Well done Claude. Good-on-ya-mate!

    Kindest regards,
    Hugh S. Gregory,
    Spaceflight Historian
    APF D-708, E-345, Pro Demo, Rigger C, Nat Judge, ASCR,
    USPA C-14307, JM, Nat Judge, CCR-279

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