World Record Re-created

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24-way Star from 1972 Reenacted over the same DZ with one of the original jumpers…

24-way Star, 1972, over Perris, by Ray Cottingham

Supposed to be Grounded

I wasn’t supposed to be on that record. I was grounded by Elsinore the week before. The DZ’s had a reciprocal trade agreement by phone so you would be grounded in both places.  They forgot to make the call.

Rich Piccirilli, 1972 24-way world record holder at Skydive Perris, and participant of the re-creation of the jump in 2019

After 47 years, we believe this is out of the statute of limitations and we can share Rich’s story!

Were you jumping in 1972? If the answer is yes and you are still jumping today, you are one of very few. Almost half a century has passed since 22 men and 2 women made history at Skydive Perris. The dropzone is known for being the host of several world records (they just set the 130-way 2-point total break there on 14 October and several World Canopy Formation Records). Even in the seventies, jumpers would go there to achieve what hadn’t been done before.

Rich Piccirilli was a young 24 year-old at the time, and with his 1,357 jumps, he was already a pretty experienced skydiver. He and Stan Troeller are the only ones on this formation still jumping nowadays, 47 years later.

Rich Piccirilli’s log of the 24-way record, 1972

Rich remembers

“I was grounded by Gary Douris at Elsinore the week before for 30 days. The DZ’s had a reciprocal trade agreement by phone so you would be grounded in both places. Gary forgot to make the call!  I slinked onto the 4 attempts, hiding behind trees and boarding the planes last.  Everybody knew I was grounded but nobody ratted me out. True friends!

“It was the 16th and 17th January 1972.  We had a Beech with 10 jumpers, a Beech with 12 jumpers, a Cessna 206 with two jumpers and the 2 photographers [Carl Boenish and Ray Cottingham]. We made two jumps each day. 

“On the first attempt, Joe Faulk’s reserve opened prematurely, and when Mike Roberts broke grips, he ended up with Al Kruger’s prosthetic arm in his hand!  Luckily, Mike landed with it and returned it to Al on the ground! 

“Second and third attempts also had their issues, but the fourth load was the charm!  It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, waiting for Norm Frazier to dock last in slow motion.  We did it!”

“Within weeks, we were all on the TV program ”I’ve Got a Secret“ with Steve Allen (Youtube ‘I’ve Got a Secret (1972) Alan Alda’ for a great moment of television),  having the players guess what our secret was… “We sky-dived in the world’s largest free-fall formation”

24-way star, 2019, over Perris – Image by George Katsoulis


When the International Skydiving Museum asked Skydive Perris to re-create the jump during the Hall of Fame celebration event in October 2019, having 71-year-old Rich on the jump was a no-brainer. He was happy to join 23 other skydivers for a new 24-way star, only this time it would be out of Twin Otters, along with his friend Lynn Fogleman, who was lurking for a slot on the record in 1972 but hadn’t made the cut.

On his 4,598th jump (3,241 jumps later), Rich Piccirilli made history and became the only jumper to be on a 24-way star world record in 1972 and the re-creation of it 47 years later.

The Roster

Life magazine, 1972

January 17, 1972 jumpers:

Sam Alexander, Jerry Bird, Stan Brown, Bill Covin, Joe Faulk, Bob Feuling, Steve Fielding, Warren Frazier, Pete Gruber, Ron Haun, Hal Hurley, Al Kruger, Bud Kruger, Rich Piccirilli, Gary Quick,  Mike Roberts, Bob Skinner, Bill Stage, Dennis Trepanier, Stan Troeller, Donna Wardean, Bob Westover, Chuck Wickliffe, and Patty Wilson. Photographers: Carl Boenish and Ray Cottingham.

Skydivers in the 2019 Reenactment, with some jumpers from the original load in 1972
Image by Andrey Veselov

October 19, 2019 jumpers:

Bob Bonitz, Steve Briggs, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Keith Conner, Cathy Coon, Carsten Cooper-Jensen, Chris Farina, Doug Forth, Lynn Fogleman, Craig Girard, Larry Henderson, Josh Hall, Milko Hodgkinson, Grace Katz, Scott Latinis, Marcelo Marapodi, Piya Navanugraha, Céline Pelletier, Rich Piccirilli, Dan Pillasch, Erik Prime, Eliana Rodriguez, Siân Stokes and Lisa Walker. Photographers: George Katsoulis and Andrey Veselov.


Reenactment video by Celine Pelletier & George Katsoulis

Music: Audiomachine Edit: Celine Pelletier, George Katsoulis. Thanks to Rich Piccirilli and Randy Forbes for the original footage, the photos and the stories!

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Meet: Celine Pelletier

Céline Pelletier
Céline started skydiving in 2009 in cold Quebec. Since then, she accumulated tens of national and world records (FS) and moved to sunny California, where she works at Skydive Perris as the Marketing Manager. She also is a USPA certified skydiving coach and has over 3,000 jumps. She is the bride in the famous red heart jump that got February in the 2017 USPA calendar.

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