FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Jerry Bird, of Dade City, Florida, has been inducted into the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame, Fredericksburg, Virginia. Jerry is one of eleven individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class at a dinner ceremony during the museum’s skydiving fundraising weekend event August 13 – 15th in DeLand, Florida. The Hall of Fame recognizes and honors those, who through leadership, innovation and/or outstanding achievements have defined, promoted, inspired and advanced skydiving at the highest and sustained levels in the past, present and for future generations of skydivers.
In the early days of relative work (now called formation skydiving or FS), no name was more synonymous with large freefall formations than Jerry Bird. On July 2, 1967, over Taft, California, Bird participated in the first 10-man star. (The term “10-man” was in common use before the more gender-neutral term “10-way” was adopted.) Bird was instrumental in spreading the popularity of relative work around the world. He was a founding member of the skydiving club Arvin Good Guys and later formed the 10-man teams Jerry Bird’s All-Stars and the Columbine Turkey Farm. Bird’s teams captured several national titles and four world titles. In 1983, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) awarded Bird the leonardo da Vinci Parachuting Diploma to recognize his accomplishments, only the second American skydiver to receive this honor.
The National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame dinner welcomed a sold-out crowd of 330 guests who came to watch the sport’s living legends claim their well-deserved spot in skydiving history. Amid a standing ovation and thunderous applause, Bird was presented his official Hall of Fame blazer by museum trustee B.J. Worth. Worth said of Jerry, “Through his charismatic personality, superior athleticism, and strong leadership skills, Jerry Bird was the most famous skydiver in the world for decades. During his 45 years in the sport, Bird excelled on the competition scene. Despite his fame among his peers, Jerry was always accessible to the average skydiver with whom he openly and enthusiastically shared his knowledge.”
The other honorees inducted into the Hall of Fame are Lowell Bachman (in memory of), Gene Paul Thacker (Raeford, NC), Tiny Broadwick (in memory of), Joe Crane (in memory of), Joe Kittinger (Altamonte Springs, FL), Eilif Ness (Norway), William H. Ottley (in memory of), Lew Sanborn (Imperial, MO), Cheryl Stearns (Charlotte, NC), and Ted Strong (Orlando, FL).
The weekend event raised more than $110,000 toward the National Skydiving Museum’s $5 million capital program that will raise the necessary funds to build the museum in Fredericksburg, VA. The museum has already acquired the land which is situated adjacent to the U.S. Parachute Association. When completed, the 20,000 square feet National Skydiving Museum will recognize and promote the sport of skydiving through public education and awareness; recognize the contribution to skydiving by its participants, suppliers and supporters; capture forever the history of the sport through is events,
equipment and personalities; and enhance aviation safety as it pertains to skydiving. It is expected the museum will draw visitors from throughout the world to experience the thrill of skydiving through its history of people, equipment and events.
If you would like additional information or to set up an interview with Jerry Bird, please contact museum administrator Nancy Kemble at [email protected] or
540-604-9745. For additional information about the National Skydiving Museum, visit www.skydivingmuseum.org.