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Vol. 8 - May 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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50 Years Of Freefall

Skydiving Legend Lew Sanborn


As a competitor, photographer, aviation enthusiast, businessman and co-founder of Parachutes Incorporated--pioneers in parachute design, training techniques, and founder of the first sport parachuting center in the U.S.--Lew's contributions to modern-day skydiving are immeasurable. He was awarded the Leo Stevens Award in 1965 and the coveted U.S. Parachute Association Achievement Award in 1972 for "originating safe and reliable parachuting equipment and for pioneering work in freefall photography." In 2000, the year of his 50th anniversary of freefall skydiving, Lew was inducted into "The Hall of Fame of Parachuting "in Felicity, California.
Originally from Cleveland, Lew now lives just outside of St. Louis with his wife, Jacky, who learned to free fall with him when she was in her 50s. She doesn't jump anymore since a bad hip forced her to retire several years ago.
Since 1994 an anual "Lew Sanborn Memorial Accuracy Meet" is held on different dropzones throughout the USA, and all started when Lew was traveling around the country trying to become the first skydiver to jump in all 50 states. Eventually he visted Sandy Hook, Mississippi, a small private drop zone in southern Mississippi, owned by Jim "Mac" McMurry. There the idea was born to hold a competition that would promote skydiving, accuracy, and D-license.
Lew came in second to jump in all 50 states, but was instrumental in helping to establish the first annual meet for which he graciously agreed to allow the use of his name. It was originally to have been called the "Lew Sanborn Memorial Accuracy Meet", but Lew figured since he was still alive he would rather it wasn't a "memorial".
Check out for information on this year's the "Lew Sanborn Accuracy Meet", November 11-12 at Gold Coast Skydivers in Moss Point, Mississippi.


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