Parachutists Over Phorty Society

The first Parachutists Over Phorty Society, or POPS, was founded in the United States by Lenny Barad in the summer of 1966. It all started with a letter from Lenny to Parachutist magazine, inviting all jumpers having reached the age of 40 years or over to join. The principal idea behind the concept of this new organization was

  • to promote good fellowship between what were then elder jumpers in the sport;
  • to promote parachuting in general and safety in particular.

It is felt that the image of sport parachuting would be assisted if the general public knew there was a group of men and women involved in this sport who were on the more " mature " side, family types in all walks of life and reasonably settled in their community. The POPS was founded when it was unusual to find forty year olds participating in the sport of parachuting, but although it is now much more common (over half the recent 300 way attempt in Russia were eligible for POPS). That's certainly one of the reasons why Pat Moorehead founded a new branch in the society, the SOS, Skydivers Over Sixty.
There are currently POPS organizations in fourteen countries world-wide, and POPS members meet regularly around the world to take part in serious and not so serious competitions, to attempt records, to meet old friends and make new friends, and to jump together for fun. It provides a focus for those not always interested in serious competitions and training, but who sometimes want something mare than always jumping with the same buddies at the local DZ. Since 1989, The Parachutists Over Phorty Society regularly organize a World Meet; here is the updated list :

  • 1989 Australia
  • 1993 Skydive Orlando, Umatilla, Florida, USA
  • 1995 Centro de Paracaidismo de Costa Brava, Empuriabrava, Spain
  • 1997 Royal Jordanian Parachute Club, Aqaba, Jordan
  • 1999 Chilliwack, Canada
  • 2002 Matamata, New Zeeland

Swiss Pops

The Parachutists Over Phorty Society of Switzerland was founded in 1995 by Théo Fritschy, with three other Swiss jumpers who were present at Empuriabrava. SWISS POPS is a member of the Parachuting Federation of Switzerland, itself a section of the Aero-club of Switzerland. At present time, 93 jumpers are members. SWISS POPS was represented at the followings events :

  • French POPS Nationals 1996 at Péronne
  • World POPS Meet 1997 at Aqaba in Jordan
  • US POPS Nationals 1996 at Xenia, OH and 1997 at Reaford, NC
  • Swiss Nationals of Para-ski 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Each year, SWISS POPS organize a national meeting where foreign Pop's are invited and welcomed.
  • 1996 Bienne (only accuracy and Hit'n Rock)
  • 1997 Magadino (only RW and Hit'n Rock)
  • 1998 Gruyères (RW, accuracy and Hit'n Rock)
  • 1999 Sitterdorf (Rain,only Hit'n Rock)
  • 2000 Ecuvillens (Rain,only Hit'n Rock)
  • 2001 Gruyère (RW and Hit'n Rock)
  • 2002 Beromünster (RW, accuracy and Hit'n Rock)
  • 2003 Triengen

First Swiss POPS RW performance (1998)

The "Hit'n Rock"

There is one traditional competition unique to POPS, and which some members take very seriously, and that's the Hit'n Rock which is the origin of the logo above. The Hit'n Rock combines traditional accuracy with an element of fun. It involves landing as close to the center of the accuracy pit as possible, then completely removing your rig, touching the pad with a hand or foot and then racing to a (rocking) chair forty feet from the pad. To be competitive you have to wear as little as possible to snag on the harness and lines. Altimeters are dispensed with, shoes are taped or dropped on the approach, the chest strap is set for quick release or undone at a few hundred feet and leg straps loosened.

To give an idea of the stiffness of the competition, the world record was set at Empuriabrava at the 1995 World Meet at 3.77 seconds by Bobby Valenzuela from Texas.