Wind Dummy: A device, usually a weighted parachute, used to determine the wind conditions prior to actual jump. Must be recovered by ground crew for re-use.
Self-Retrieving Wind Dummy: A person, usually the lowest ranking member of a jump team, used to determine the wind conditions. Advantage: does not need to be recovered by ground crew; can walk back to the Drop Zone.
(Example left Hugh Oldham in 1968)
In 1968, Oldham formed the "USC Sport Parachute Club," at the University of South Carolina. One of the first collegiate parachute teams to be officially recognized and funded by a college or university.
In December of 1970, while on leave before reporting to RVN, Hugh Oldham, working for Steve Schneider, flew the jump plane for an extensive test series of the early production "Para Plane" in Barnwell SC.
In the early days of Sport Parachuting or Skydiving, jumpers used modified military parachute canopies. Sections (gores) of the canopies were cut out to offer limited forward thrust and directional control. The modifications were referred to by the shape of the cuts: Double L, 5 TU, and the hot 7 TU.
The key word in describing these thrust and control modifications is "limited." Although the mods did create controlled forward drive, it was at the expense of increased rate of descent. Off Drop Zone landings were common, stand-up landings were unheard of with "crash and burns" being the norm.
Cirica 1958. Charlie Hilliard (Eagles Aerobatic Team), left, has his equipment checked by Steve Schneider (Para Plane), right, while members of that year's US Parachute Team. Steve and Charlie performed the first Baton Pass shortly thereafter.
Not until the introduction of the "Para-Commander," or "PC" did parachutist have a canopy capable of simi-reliable "target area" landings, but even the PC was dependent of a "good spot" from the jumpmaster. Given the right wind conditions, stand-up landings were possible. An on-target, "dead center" landing, was something to celebrate. A stand-up, dead-center landing bestowed sky-god status on the jumper.
(Photo above: Juan A. Fernandez
In the late '60's, Steve Schneider introduced of the first production square, ram-air canopy, the "Para Plane," and opened a new era in the sport. Although the "Para Plane's" reefing (opening sequence control) system left a lot to be desired (the opening shock could be severe) and these the early "squares" were prone to malfunction, the flight characteristics and controllability of the canopy resulted in the quick adoption of "squares" as the preferred sport canopy.
Circa 1986+/-. The Misty Blues: L to R top: Alys Brockway, Brigitte Halett; bottom Connie Simpson, Sandy Williams.
More information on the sport of Skydiving: http://www.uspa.org/
Carolina Skydiving Centers:
Flying Tigers: Clemson University SC http://www.flyingtigerspc.com/
Dixie Skydivers: Oconee Airport SC http://people.clemson.edu/~dixsky/
Skydive Carolina: Chester SC http://www.skydivecarolina.com/
Raeford: Raeford NC
Blue Sky Adventures: St. George SC
Skydive Monroe: Monroe NC
Carolina Sky Sports Lewisburg NC