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 27 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 more 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 Umatila FL USA
  • 1995 Empuriabrava, Spain
  • 1997 Aqaba, Jordan
  • 1999 Chilliwack BC, Canada
  • 2002 Matamata, New Zealand
  • 2004 Gruyères, Switzerland
  • 2006 Eloy AZ, USA
  • 2008 Toogoolawah QLD, Australia
  • 2010 Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • 2012 Teuge, Hollande
  • 2014 San Juan City, Argentina
  • 2016 Eisenach, Germany
  • 2018 Nagambie, VIC, Australia1989 Australia

In Nagambie Polly Chandler was elected as new World Top POP. She will organize the 15th World Meet at Dunkeswell (UK) in 2020.

Swiss Pops

The Swiss POPS 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 (Swiss Skydive). At present time, 160 jumpers are members.

Each year, SWISS POPS organize a national meeting where foreign Pop's are invited and welcomed.

  • 1996 Biel/Bienne
  • 1997 Locarno
  • 1998 Gruyères
  • 1999 Sitterdorf
  • 2000 Ecuvillens
  • 2001 Gruyère
  • 2002 Beromünster
  • 2003 Triengen
  • 2005 Walkringen
  • 2006 Speck/Fehraltdorf
  • 2007 Locarno
  • 2008 Ecuvillens
  • 2009 Kägiswil
  • 2010 Bex
  • 2011 Grenchen
  • 2012 Triengen
  • 2013 Kägiswil
  • 2014 Tschugg
  • 2015 Ecuvillens
  • 2016 Tschugg
  • 2017 Gruyères
  • 2018 Sion (wind tunnel).

First Swiss POPS RW performance (1998)

In 2019 the meet will be held in Biel/Kappelen by Swissboogie the 31th of August and 1st September 2019.

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.