O ur Founder, William H. “Bill” Ottley
Established the American Museum of Sport Parachuting and Air Safety in 1972 as a not-for-profit corporation, which is now the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame.
William Henry Ottley D-298, a pioneering figure in sport parachuting, spent more than three decades of dedicated service to skydiving and USPA, as board member, vice president and executive director until his retirement in 1992. He played a key role in enhancing the sport and increasing its popularity worldwide including during the time while serving as the alternate delegate to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Parachuting Commission, the world governing body of all aviation sports. Since 1982, the Ottley Swords have been awarded to the winning 4- and 8-Way teams at the World Championships of Formation Skydiving. Bill’s professional honors include the 1976 FAI Paul Tissandier Diploma for serving the cause of aviation in general and sport aviation in particular, the 1984 Parachute Industry Association’s Don Beck Memorial Achievement Award for skydiving achievements that have stood the test of time, the 1994 FAI Air Sport Medal for outstanding services in connection with air sport activities, and, the 1995 National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award for his efforts over an extended period of years of making contributions of significant value to aeronautics reflecting credit upon America and themselves. Bill was inducted into the International Skydiving Hall of Fame, Class of 2010. The FAI gave Bill lifetime status as a Companion of Honor and the U.S. Parachute Association recognized him in 2014 as an Executive Director Emeritus. The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame established the William Ottley Circle for donations of $1 million or more. Bill died in 2005.
The Hon. George H.W. Bush, D-20000
Honorary Chairman 2000 - 2018
“This [skydiving] is the most exciting thing I have done, next to being President of the United States.”
On June 12, 2004, George Herbert Walker Bush went skydiving in honor of his 80th birthday. It was his third parachute jump since World War II. He also made a jump on June 9, 1999, before his 75th birthday, and told reporters then he had also parachuted in Arizona two years earlier. George H.W. Bush is a World War II veteran who served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and the 41st President of the United States, serving January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993.
Lew Sanborn, D-1
“If skydiving continues to grow as it has for the last 50 years, I can’t imagine where the sport will be 50 years from now. We must preserve our history while we can”
Lew Sanborn is one of the legends in skydiving and holds the coveted D-1 license. Lew started jumping in the Army Airborne in 1949 and has made more than 6,000 jumps. In 1959, Lew and Jacques Istel opened Parachutes Incorporated in Orange, Massachusetts, the first commercial parachuting company in the United States. Lew has the honor of being the “first” to do many things in the skydiving world including the “first” person to jump with a sleeve tied on to the apex, the “first” to film another jumper with a motion camera, and being a member of the group to hold the “first” World Parachuting Record claimed by the U.S. In 2000, Lew became the first person to celebrate 50 years of freefall skydiving. When Lew retired from construction work in 1992, he and his wife, Jacky, traveled around the country living in a motorhome. They eventually settled into retirement in Missouri to be close to family.
International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame
Board of Trustees
Christopher J. Needels, D-1765 | Chairman
Having served in the White House as Director of International Programs on the National Security Council Staff, Chris went on to train former President George Herbert Walker Bush to skydive four years later. His 28 years of service in the U.S. Army included two combat tours in Southeast Asia, service with infantry, armor, airborne, intelligence, Ranger and Special Forces units, and a tour as commander of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the “Golden Knights.” Following his military service, he became executive director of the U. S. Parachute Association, where he remained for more than thirteen years. Chris now resides in Accomac, Virginia, with his wife Conny. He holds USPA license D-1765 and has made more than 3,000 skydives. He received a B.S. (Engineering) from the U.S. Military Academy, an M.S. in Operations Research (Engineering) from the Navy Postgraduate School, and a Master of Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Currently, he is chair of the museum’s Building & Exhibit Design Committee.
Lee Schlichtemeier, D-16256 | Treasurer
Alvin “Lee” Schlichtemeier lives in Plano, Texas, with his wife Carol and together they own and operate Skydive Dallas parachute center in Whitewright, 60 miles northeast of Dallas. Lee made his first jump in 1989 and has almost 500 jumps. He’s active as a national and international competition judge and, as a commercial, instrument, single-engine-rated pilot, flies his own Cessna 206. Lee joined USPA’s board of directors in 1997 as the Southwest Regional Director and began serving as its treasurer in 1999, holding that position on the executive committee until 2013 when he decided not to run for the board again. Doc Lee is a physician, radiation oncologist, and medical director of the St. Joseph’s Regional Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Department in Bryan, Texas. He earned his bachelor’s degree and medical degree from the University of Nebraska and completed his medical residency in radiation oncology at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Lee served in the U.S. Air Force, and Florida and Arizona Air National Guards. Lee is chair of the museum’s Finance & Budget Committee.
Curt Bachman, D-18700 | Trustee
Curt was born into a family involved in the skydiving industry. His father, Lowell Bachman, started Para Gear Equipment Co. Inc. in 1960 and was a founding member of the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) and the International Skydiving Museum. His mother, Dori Bachman, became involved with Para Gear after they married, served 22 years as the treasurer of PIA and was a museum trustee. On the day Curt was born, his parents purchased him a lifetime membership to USPA. Throughout his childhood, Curt accompanied his parents to National and International skydiving competitions. At the age of 18, he traveled to Locarno Switzerland to take an AFF course and learn to skydive. He continued to skydive while in college at the University of Arizona and afterwards, in 1997, began working for Para Gear. Since then, Curt has been traveling the world to various skydiving competitions marketing Para Gear, attending PIA meetings and symposiums, Skydiving Museum events and experiencing exotic skydiving trips. Some of particular note, were the North Pole skydive in 1999, the Millennium Skydive in Patriot Hills Antarctica and BASE jumping Angel Falls in Venezuela in 2001. Curt has skydived on all seven continents which he completed in 2001 in Djibouti Africa.
Dana P. Engelstad, CPA, D-3613 | Trustee
Dana is a shareholder at Johnson, Miller & Co. PC, CPA’s and is currently managing director of the Midland, Texas office tax and advisory practice. He received his BA in English Literature from the University of South Dakota and upon completion of his military service as a commissioned US Army Officer, graduated cum laude with degrees in accounting and economics from North Carolina State University. He began his skydiving career (on a static line) at South Dakota Skydivers, Inc., in 1968. From 1972 – 1978, Dana was an active national style and accuracy competitor and was a member of the 1975/1976 and 1977/1978 US Style and Accuracy Teams. In 1976, he was a member of the World Champion Men’s Accuracy Team at the World Parachuting Championships in Rome, Italy. From 1975 – 1977, Dana was a jump pilot and satellite DZO for Raeford Drop Zone while actively training. From 1977 – 1979, he worked for Para Gear Equipment Company handling international marketing and promotional responsibilities. He coached the national parachuting teams of Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and the Chilean Army Special Forces in square canopy accuracy in conjunction with his responsibilities as Para Gear’s foreign sales rep. Dana is married to M.K. Engelstad.
Paul Fayard, D 3289, made his first static line jump in 1966 at the age of 21 at a small airport in Rising Sun, Indiana. He worked with Jim West (Greene County Sport Parachute Club), for seven years before opening his own Franklin County Sports Parachute Center/Carolina Sky Sports in Louisburg, NC. Fayard Enterprises, LLC, was established in 1973 becoming a major provider of leased skydiving aircraft throughout the world, as well as, providing maintenance for other drop zone’s aircraft. From 2003 to 2007, Paul owned and operated Lake Wales/Phoenix DZ during which time, it hosted the 2003 Nationals. Paul has over 6,000 skydives which include USPA ratings for Jumpmaster, Instructor, Tandem Master and Tandem Examiner. He competed nationally in accuracy and 4-way Relative Work 1969 – 1977, was a member of the TRANSPO 72 team at Dulles Airport in 1972, was a member of the 1973 US 4-Way Relative Championship team and the 1973 World 4-Way Relative Work Championship team. In the early years of PIA, Paul served as Chair of the PIA Drop Zone Committee for 5 years. With over 33,000 logged hours, Paul holds SEL, MEL, Commercial pilot licenses with DC3 and CASA 212 ratings. He is FAA A&P and IR rated for aircraft maintenance. In 2003, Fayard Enterprises provided aircraft support with Paul orchestrating the 100 jumper’s skydiving exhibition which represented all disciplines of the sport at the 100 Years Celebration of Flight at Kitty Hawk, NC and, in 2007, Fayard Enterprises provided aircraft support for the 100-way Canopy Formation World Record completed at Lake Wales, FL. In 2021, Paul was inducted as an Honorary Golden Knight which recognized his close relationship in providing aircraft for their training. Paul is on the museum’s Development Committee.
Cris Fucci, D-18653 | Trustee
Cris grew up watching skydivers jump from his father’s helicopters at military clubs throughout the 1970s and dreamed of joining them in the air. He made his first jump in 1988 and has amassed over 5000 jumps, 72+ hours of free fall, and four FAI large formation world records. He is an active PRO demonstrator, AFF-I and tandem instructor who loves the sport more and more every day. He loves traveling to exotic skydiving locations with fellow Museum Ambassador Lisa Simpson, D38495, including unforgettable jumps into the Great Blue Hole, Kooddoo Island Maldives, and the Giza Pyramid Complex in Egypt. He is a retired Army officer and current Department of Defense civilian employee at U.S. Special Operations Command with 34+ years of service to the Nation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence.
Chris made his first jump in Georgia in 1986 and has logged more than 15,000 skydives in a 34-year career making his mark mainly as a canopy formation skydiver, coach and organizer. He has participated in and engineered numerous Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Records including the 100-way diamond FAI World Record for Largest Canopy Formation Skydive, a record set by the Canopy Formation World Team in 2007 that still stands today. Chris picked up a staggering number of medals—58 in all—at the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships, USPA National Parachuting Championships and FAI World Cups and World Championships. He shares his training techniques through camps and has inspired a legion of emerging CF fun jumpers and competitors in several countries. USPA awarded him its Gold Medal for Meritorious Service in 2007 for “innovations that have redefined the discipline of canopy formation.” He also received a British medal—presented by Prince Andrew—honoring him for saving a fellow skydiver in mid-air.
Kirk Knight, D-6709 | Trustee
Kirk Knight has made more than 7000 skydives and is an active jumper with ratings as an AFF Instructor Examiner, Coach Examiner, and PRO; he has served as U.S. Parachute Team Leader on several occasions. He is a parachuting judge with international ratings from the FAI and CISM and has served as the U.S. Judge to World Military Parachuting Championships annually for the past decade.. He holds FAA ratings as an airline transport pilot in multi-engine airplanes and a commercial instrument rating in helicopters. Kirk is currently a liaison officer at U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, FL, and previously served on the Command’s parachute demonstration team. Kirk is a 35-year Army veteran with multiple combat assignments in infantry and aviation and was Commander of the U.S. Army Parachute Team. He holds several education degrees, including a B.S from Embry-Riddle University, an MBA from Chaminade University, and a Ph.D. from Northcentral University.
Roberto Montañez, C-41870 | Trustee
Roberto is the President of Butler Parachute Systems, Inc. in Roanoke, VA. Roberto has worked in the parachute industry since 1996, starting work as a research assistant while a student at Parks College of Saint Louis University, where he obtained his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. During his professional career, Roberto has worked on the design, development, testing and production of parachute systems for multiple civilian and military applications. Roberto also serves as president of the Parachute Industry Association and is an active skydiver and private pilot.
Brian started jumping in 1977 when Larry Hill had just started with a Cessna 182. His most memorable jumps include 16-way Nationals, the first 100-way in Arizona, El Cap (legally in 1980), Angel Falls with Tom Sanders and into the North Pole. He jumped with the old Coolidge gang as well as the infamous Charles Merritt of Ski-Hi Pioneer Parachute Club which is where Craig Girard, Hall of Fame 2012, started. He knew the legendary Bill Ottley, Hall of Fame 2010, and President Bush. He remains current with Skydive Arizona as his home DZ. Brian is also an extreme big mountain skier and adventurer and mountaineer including reaching the summit of the highest mountain in each of the seven continents, the North Pole, the Titanic, and many others. Brian began his commercial real estate career in Phoenix in 1981. He is the founder, principal, and designated broker of O’Connor Commercial acting as an agent for the sale or acquisition of businesses as well as a source for private capital investment which is in excess of $100 million over the years. Brian is a fifth generation Arizona native and a 1982 graduate of The Colorado College with a BA in Economics. He is a member of the board’s Finance & Budget and Development Committees
Gillian Rayner | Trustee
The recently elected President of the IPC, Gill made her first jump in 1978 jumping regularly for a number of years and becoming an instructor. In 1978, she started paragliding and, in 1984, judging, first accuracy, followed by FS then CF, becoming an international judge in 2006. She became a French delegate to IPC in 1990 serving as IPC Technical Secretary from 1998 – 2002 and became First Vice President in 2007. In 2014, Gill was elected FAI Executive Director (the first women to hold the position.) Currently, she serves on the IPC Judges and the Rules and Regulations Committees and has judged a number of competitions at national, regional and international levels. She has served as FAI Controller to International Competitions five times and has also served on the Jury at International Competitions. She is a member of the board of the French Federation where, in the past, she has held the positions of Treasurer, Vice President, Chair of the Competition Committee and in charge of International Relations. Gill was the recipient of the Paul Tissandier diploma from the FAI; the French Bronze, Silver and Gold medals of Sport (issued by the Ministry of Sport) and the prestigious Aeronautical Media (issued by the Ministry of Transport). Gill retired from jumping in 2003 and currently focuses on indoor flying. After spending most of her career at IBM France in human resources, Gill is retired and lives with her husband in Leucate which is 40 minutes south of the Spanish border where they have a small business running seasonal property they own.
Sandy R.Reid, C-6557 |Trustee
Sandy made his first parachute jump in 1970 and earned his FAA Senior Rigger license in 1971 and his FAA Master Rigger license in 1974. In 1976, he traveled to South Africa for an International Parachuting Championship and remained there working for Parachute Industries of Southern Africa until December 1980 when he moved back to the U.S. After working for several different parachute manufacturing and sales companies, in 1985, Sandy designed a new harness and container system and established Rigging Innovations Inc to manufacture and market it. He has been extremely active in PIA since 1983 serving in various capacities, including as Chair of the Technical Committee for a total of 15 years. He currently serves as a member on the Technical, Risk Management and Rigging committees. In 2000, he established the US Academy of Parachute Rigging in Eloy AZ to train parachute riggers. In 2003-2004 he wrote the Parachute Rigger Handbook for the FAA, which was published in 2005. He has made over 4300 jumps and is a Private Pilot. He is President/CEO of, and along with his wife Brenda, co-owner of Rigging Innovations Inc., a parachute equipment manufacturer located in Eloy AZ. Sandy serves as chair of the museum’s Curations Committee.
Adam Schmucker, D-31724
Larry Stein, D-9016
Larry Stein made his first jump in 1977 and has over 5,000 jumps and is still an active jumper. Over his jumping career, Larry has been on a number of state, national, and world records. He was a static line jumpmaster, static line instructor, and an AFF jumpmaster. In the early 1980’s, Larry ran a Cessna 182 DZ for two years. He graduated from Drake University with a degree in Accounting, passed the CPA exam, and then went on to work as an auditor for three years. Following that he spent the next 10 years in a variety of financial management positions at a large multinational company and after that, he spent 30 years running Operations and Technical Information organizations at another large multinational company. Larry is an Advisor on the Events and Marketing Committees.
Pat Thomas | Trustee
Pat is the owner and president of Sun Path Products Inc, Raeford, NC, a manufacturer of parachute harness and containers. She is also owner of Complete Parachute Solutions, DeLand, FL, and owner of Tactical Training Facility in Coolidge, AZ. Pat made her first jump in 1987 and last jumped in 1991. She currently holds dual citizenship in England and the US and has three sons, one aged 43, and identical twins aged 40, 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Pat is an honorary Golden Knight and very active with the Parachute Industry Association (PIA) of which she has chaired the PIA Symposium Committee since 2005. In 2018, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, USPA's highest award. Pat became a museum advisor in 2011 and joined the Board in 2013. She serves as chair of the museum’s Event Committee and is a member of the Awards & Recognition, Development and Marketing Committees..
Bill Wenger, D-3774 | Trustee
Bill started jumping while attending Southern Illinois University in 1971 and is still an active competitive and fun jumper with over 10,300 jumps. Competitively, he has been a National Champion, World Champion and World record holder in Accuracy, 8-way and Large Formation as a civilian and a member of the Army Golden Knights. Bill coached the U.S. Air Force Parachute Team to 19 National Championships. He served on the USPA Board of Directors for 12 years serving as a member and Chair of the Competition Committee. He has worked as Meet Director for 10+ National and Collegiate National Championships. In 2016, Bill was the Meet Director for the World Championships Mondial which was the largest International Championships ever in the U.S. He is a multi-engine, commercial, and instrumented rated pilot with over 2000 hours flying jumpers and a PADI certified Master Diver. Bill is Chair of the museum's Hall of Fame Committee.
Bruce J. Wicks, D-3493 | Trustee
Bruce made his first jump during Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA in 1965. His military career included two combat tours in Vietnam, Chief of Tower Training at the U. S. Army Airborne School, Deputy Director of the Physical Education Department at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Commandant of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School and Commander of the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team. He was the Team Leader for the U.S. National Parachute Team that competed for the World Championship in Sweden in 1988 and again in 1992 for the U.S. Team that competed in Austria. Bruce also had a stellar career as a judge in national and international events and at these events he was either an event judge or a chief judge. He traveled to competitions held in far-flung locations from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Sweden, England, Yugoslavia, Mexico and France. He was also selected as the U.S. Team Judge for the 1986 U.S. Parachute Team that competed in Ankara, Turkey and for the 1990 U.S. Team that competed for the World Championship in Yugoslavia. Bruce has jumped for two Latin American presidents. They were President Juan Bordaberry of Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay and President BG Kjell Laugerud in San Jose, Guatemala. A high point in his career came during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea where he was one of the main architects in putting together one of the greatest demos in skydiving history. It was the Olympic Rings formation live feed at the Opening Ceremonies which millions around the world witnessed. One of his most outstanding awards in the parachuting field is being selected for the 2020 Class for the International Skydiving Hall of Fame. Bruce graduated with a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Lock Haven University and an M.S. Degree in Physical Education from the University of Illinois. He served as the President of the Golden Knights Alumni Association (U.S. Army Parachute Team) for over 10 years.
Greg Windmiller, D-20004 | Trustee
Greg Windmiller joined the Army in 1990 where he attended the Military Freefall School. During his 26 year enlistment, he has worked in various free fall positions such as member of a Free fall team, the Silver Wings demonstration team and Accuracy and canopy piloting team leader for the US Army Parachute team “The Golden Knights.” Greg owns Superior Flight Solutions which specializes in training Military and cilvilians alike in safe canopy flight.