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Pieces of Eight"Amputees cannot jump in France!" - Larry Yohn, 1977 after returning from a trip.
Yohn said that the French national parachute federation would not allow people with missing 'digit' or 'limbs' jump - not even as a first jump student.
A little bit peeved about this, Yohn wanted to demonstrate that amputees were not as 'disabled' as people thought and that they could perform state of the art freefall maneuvers.
Yohn enlisted the help of Al Krueger. They asked Chuck Anderson and Paul Henley to do a jump with them. The photo was to be widely publicized, appearing in PARACHUTIST. A special photo would be sent to FAI in Paris to clearly illustrate the foolishness of their rule banning amputees from jumping.
Ironically, the group represented all four missing limb scenarios. Krueger - left arm Anderson - right arm Yohn - left leg Henley - right leg
The four men reached Elsinore at 8 Am on a Saturday. The manifestor looked at them strangely as they said they would be jumping as a group with Carl Boenish filming them.
The group did little in the way of rehearsal. No need for a walk-thru. They just had to figure out an exit. They got some advice from the other teams practicing for Nationals. On the ride up to altitude in the DC-3, everyone was encouraging them.
The group got a pass of their own. (Probably so that everyone else could watch from the ground.) Al Krueger was floater, Paul Henley was first in the door, followed by Chuck Anderson and Larry Yohn. The exit commenced and out they went.
Each jumper flew his body in a slightly different way to balance out the missing limb. When they did jumps with other jumpers, their asymmetrical body position was never a problem. This time it became noticeable. It was just as easy to compensate as the star built as it was with other jumpers.
Pieces of EightAnderson and Henley made a two-way. Then Krueger docked on Anderson's right. Krueger and Anderson did a hook-to-hook hook-up. There was a slight mechanical problem of keeping the hookup, but they managed to keep it through out the dive. Yohn docked fourth across from Krueger.
Smiles bursted onto each jumper's face. Boenish dove under the formation for some underside shots.
Chuck Anderson- yellow, Al Krueger - orange, Tom Henley - blue, Larry Yohn - black.
Photo by Carl Boenish
Make It Larger
Over the years Yohn and Krueger tried to build larger and larger stars with amputees. In 1981, Krueger said, "We failed miserably when we found that - when we got together in anything larger than a 5-way - the result would be everything from an uncontrollable spin to real problems with fall rate."
Ten years later the group tried again, but still no larger star came of it.
In 1993, success befell the group. They built an 8-way over Perris Valley Skydiving on Oct 9, 1993. They held the star for 8 seconds.
Photo by Tom Sanders
Pieces of Eight
The group did five more 8-way dives over the weekend and a few zoo loads.
"I've had more fun doing this than I can tell you about. The whole group has gotten so comfortable with their disabilities that they can laugh at themselves and enjoy every minute of it." - Al Krueger.
Part of their humor includes the runner-up names for their group: 20% Off, Bone Saw Gang, Gimp Load
On 10/12/96 at Raeford, NC the group built a 14-way. That is the current record today (11/15/01).
Pieces of Eight met Nov. 17 and 18, 2001 at Perris, CA to break this record. The record was not broken, but two new POE numbers were issued.
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