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 organize and participate in the first two skydives of former President George Herbert Walker Bush. 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 Facilities Committee which is responsible for the design and construction of the International Skydiving Museum and it's exhibits.
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 served as medical director of the St. Joseph’s Regional Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Department in Bryan, Texas until his retirement in 2019. 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.
Sherry made her first jump in May 1993 and now has just under 10,000 jumps in her 30 years of skydiving. Her education includes a bachelors degree in psychology and a masters degree in social work. She is a real estate investor and broker of her own real estate company, ACC Home Realty, which opened in 2009 and continues today. Sherry began her skydiving instructional career as a static line jump master, then became an AFF Instructor, Tandem Instructor, Senior Rigger and Skydive University Coach by 1998. The Master Rigger’s tickets soon followed. Sherry has been running Aerohio Skydiving since 1996, and still completely loves making new skydivers! Her passion for teaching led her to become an active Coach and AFF examiner, and she enjoys teaching courses, running the skydiving center, organizing, coaching, and AFF jumps still today. Sherry has served on the United States Parachute Association Board of Directors since 2001, serving many years as the Secretary, one term as President and now is in her second term as Vice President. Sherry has two sons who grew up on the DZ and are both actively continuing the family skydiving and aviation legacy. She is most proud of her work with the Safety & Training Committee in the development of training methods and programs that have been implemented all over the world, and being part of a bigger team to push the skydiving industry to a higher level of professionalism with highly improved safety standards. Sherry is now dedicated to the museum and making sure our skydiving history is documented and appreciated for all to see in the future. Sherry is a member of the museum's Development Committee.
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. Currently, he is serving as active and past member of USPA Leadership Team as Head of Delegation and Team Manager of US Style and Accuracy Parachute Team at World Parachuting Championships and World Cups 2016, 2018, and 2020 - 2023. Dana is married to M.K. Engelstad.
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 static line jump in 1988 and his first freefall at Skydive Carolina in 1991. He has amassed over 5300 jumps, 74+ hours of free fall, and four FAI large formation world records, in addition to multiple state formation 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, Belize; 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 35+ years of service to the Nation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence, and is currently enrolled as a Master of Business Administration student.
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. Chris is Chair of the museum's Hall of Fame Standing Committee.
James La Barrie | Trustee
James is founder and president of Beyond Marketing, the first marketing agency in the world dedicated to skydiving. Over the course of his two decades in the industry, James has earned a reputation for wholeheartedly advocating for his clients, championing a values-based approach to branding and marketing, and empowering business owners to enter into new and exciting phases of their lifecycle. Originally from Antigua, a small Caribbean island, James was born into a family of hoteliers and entrepreneurs who instilled in him the importance of excellent service. After earning degrees in Business Administration and Marketing, James spent four years as PGA Head Professional at a golf club … and then Skydive Carolina DZO Danny Smith wandered onto the course. For the next nine years, James grew this small dropzone into a multi-million dollar operation, and he’s since helped others worldwide accomplish the same. Today, the Beyond Marketing portfolio represents dropzones and industry-specific businesses of all sizes, from start-ups and mom-and-pops to industry mainstays and household names. James frequently conducts on-site training sessions and presentations around the world, including engagements with the Australian Parachute Federation, British Skydiving, PIA, The US Army Golden Knights, and the USPA. James is a member of the board's Events Committee and an advisor for the Marketing Committee.
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, owner of Skydive Arizona, 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. Brian jumped with the old Coolidge gang as well as the infamous Charles Merritt of Ski-Hi Pioneer Parachute Club, where Craig Girard, Hall of Fame 2012, started. He knew the legendary Bill Ottley, Hall of Fame 2010, and President Bush, past Honorary Chairman of the Museum . Brian remains current with Skydive Arizona as his home DZ. Brian is also an extreme big mountain skier and adventurer/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 and owner of O’Connor Commercial, acting as an agent for the sale or acquisition of real estate and businesses. The company is a source for private capital investment, which is in excess of $100 million. 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
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, CF and CP, becoming an international judge in 2006. She became a French delegate to IPC in 1990 serving as IPC Technical Secretary from 1998 – 2002 and then became First Vice President in 2007. In 2014, Gill was elected FAI Executive Director (the first women to hold the position.) She has served in various capacities (judge, jury FAI Controller) at dozens of FAI World Championships and Cups. In 2018, she was elected President of the International Skydiving Commission of FAI, together with an all female Board, another first in the history of FAI. She remains a member of the board of the French Parachute Federation where, over the years she has held the positions of Treasurer, Vice President, Chair of the Competition Committee and she is still 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 Medal (issued by the Ministry of Transport). Worldwide, the number of female jumpers remains relatively stable at about 20/25%, it is Gill’s aim to encourage women to take an active role in sport politics and governance were, with the current exception of ISC, the numbers are way lower than the actual percentage of female jumpers. Gill retired from her professional career in HR in 2003, no longer actively jumps but has fun from time to time in a wind tunnel. She lives in Leucate, a small village located on the Mediterranean, in the south west of France.
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
Adam Schmucker grew up in the world of skydiving with both of his parents being active jumpers. His father, Cliff Schmucker, began SSK Industries, Inc. in 1983 manufacturing the Sweethog Harness/Container system. SSK was located directly on the DZ in Waynesville, OH at Skydive Wayne County, which is where Adam spent much of his time during his youth. SSK became the service center in 1993 of the well-known German produced AAD, CYPRES. Adam was always fascinated and proud of his father’s involvement in maintaining lifesaving equipment and knowing jumpers whose lives were saved by their CYPRES. More about SSK’s history and their involvement can be discovered on their website. Adam began skydiving in 2006 after high school and was instantly hooked. He obtained his USPA D license, coach rating, and static line instructor rating. Adam worked part time work at SSK over the years, and, upon graduating from Miami University’s business school with a major in marketing and minor in entrepreneurship, he became a full time employee. Cliff had an untimely passing due to a skydiving accident in 2013, at which point Adam grabbed the reigns as President of SSK and continues to run the successful business today. They continue to service, sell, and offer CYPRES support to units in the Western Hemisphere for both the sport and military communities, upon other lines of work such as being the LB Altimeter service center. Just as Cliff was President of PIA for nearly 20 years and a trustee of the International Skydiving Museum, Adam has followed a similar path by being actively involved in PIA serving as the Vice President and, of course, also a trustee of the museum.
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 chair of the museum's Marketing Committee and an Advisor on the Events Committee.
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 44, and identical twins aged 41, 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.
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.