Blue Skies, Patrick Swayze
By Ed Scott
To the general public, Patrick Swayze—who died at age 57 this week—will best be remembered for the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost. To skydivers of the day he’ll be remembered for Point Break. And for two reasons. First, Swayze took up skydiving at Perris Valley so that he could film many of the skydiving scenes himself. According to co-star Keanu Reeves, the production company issued Swayze a cease-and-desist order to stop skydiving; he kept jumping anyway. Along the way he joined USPA and earned his A license. Second, the movie’s release in 1991 brought a flood of first-jump customers out to DZs nationwide. Those customers didn’t find skydivers bantering in five-minute freefalls, but many did find a sport of their own as shown by USPA’s membership totals. Membership rose from 20,000 at the end of 1990 to 26,150 in 1992, and steady increases in subsequent years. Thanks, Patrick, for boosting our sport. Blue Skies.