Bob Sinclair was a skydiving pioneer. His love for freefall put him in the right places at the right times. And he made jumping a lifetime pursuit.
When I was a kid, I saw an airshow. A jumper made a pulloff at about 600’. It looked like fun. –Bob Sinclair
Bob passed away in DeLand, Florida, on 20 November 2014. He was 89.
To outlive all of the current jumpers should not be difficult as I have more practice at it than most. –Bob Sinclair.
Sinclair began jumping at age 18 in 1945 with the 13th and 82nd Airborne Divisions. He made 17 static line jumps with the Army. In 1947 he graduated to civilian jumping—as best he could. He made 33 freefall jumps without a reserve. His 24’ military surplus seat pack cost him $10. That would be $106.38 in 2014 dollars. From 1949 to 1960, he was jumping in Fairbanks, Alaska, before the sport was formed in the lower 48 states. In 1953, he attempted to jump into the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during half time under a Double L canopy but missed the stadium.
Bob was a very talented and creative guy with a touch of the true madness. –Jerry Baumchen.
In 1958, he entered the US Team Tryouts in Abbottsford, BC. He became a pilot and a Master Parachute Rigger with seal symbol AAD. In 1961, he relocated to Hollywood to become a barnstorming demo jumper, instructor to Hollywood stars, and one of the first freefall photographers. He was an all-round fascinating jumper. He made more than 2,500 jumps by the time he turned 68. Bob became too old to jump—but he continued jumping anyway—for more than 20 years.
I only use a parachute so the mere mortals I jump with won’t be intimidated. — Bob Sinclair
He spent 15 years pioneering freefall camerawork for television and motion pictures. He originated the use of the 35mm helmet-mounted motion picture camera. Sinclair was the free fall cameraman for the Ripcord TV series (1961-1963, 38 episodes). Bob filmed dozens of television shows, commercials, and motion pictures such as Beverly Hillbillies, Bob Hope Show, Mission Impossible, Gilligan’s Island, Hogan’s Heroes, The Green Berets, and many more. Bob is best known for his “Buddy Jump” with Johnny Carson, a 60 second delay from 12,500 in 1968 over Lake Elsinore. Film of this jump was shown many times on the Tonight show as Johnny recounted his adventure. Carson contributed greatly to the growth of sport parachuting.
All of the actors and actresses that we trained were fine students as they were used to taking directions from a director. —Bob Sinclair.
Three video interviews were conducted by Jeff Boddiger for the Skydiving Museum in Ray, Michigan, just before Bob Sinclair passed away.
Video Interview #1:
Video Interview #2:
Video Interview #3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySQe5YlH6B0&feature=em-uploademail
If you don’t get smarter as you get older, you won’t get older. –Bob Sinclair.
Our sport and industry have benefitted greatly from Bob Sinclair’s pioneering work. He will be missed.