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Heaton Pens Comprehensive Memoir

Gear & Industry Spotlight | September 2019
Sunday, September 1, 2019

USPA Executive Director Emeritus Norman Heaton, D-565, recently published “My First 1,000 Jumps—The Evolution of a Skydiver and the Organization That Became His Life,” a nearly 800-page, coffee-table-sized memoir that gives a comprehensive account of the events surrounding the world of skydiving, the Parachute Club of America (USPA’s predecessor organization) and USPA from 1961-1975. In the book, Heaton, PCA/USPA Executive Director from 1964-1975, chronicles his role in leading the organization for more than a decade and all of the internal and external challenges surrounding it.

In the foreword to the book, J. Scott Hamilton said, “In this epic, carefully researched and highly detailed memoir, Heaton takes us along on what became a decade-plus of adventure, a crucial time of growth, leadership and high accomplishment for both himself and the organization that became the U.S. Parachute Association. During his tenure, USPA, on behalf of the sport, dealt with fierce internal political intrigues and struggles, faced and surmounted repeated regulatory obstacles and existential threats from the Federal Aviation Administration and state agencies, began to form alliances with other sport aviation organizations, developed national standards and programs to improve training and operational safety, and fielded U.S. parachute teams that represented America brilliantly on the world stage of competitive sports, hosting two exemplary World Parachuting Championships in the process.” Heaton’s stewardship of and accomplishments on behalf of skydiving earned him the USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, membership in the International Skydiving Hall of Fame and the Féderátion Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandier Diploma.

“My First 1,000 Jumps” is dedicated to Charles R. “Chuck” MacCrone, a legendary skydiver and Heaton’s friend for more than 50 years. The book contains countless personal anecdotes about the pioneers of the sport, and more than 1,500 people are mentioned by name. Heaton unflinchingly recounts his interactions—good, bad or indifferent—with the many characters involved in parachuting at the time. The book also contains 400-plus photographs, including a cover photo by Chip Maury of Heaton in freefall over the 1971 National Championships in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. 

Published by Page Publishers, the memoir is available electronically and as a softback for $83.95 at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, as well as iTunes, Google Play and other retailers. Readers can also buy a signed book directly from Heaton for $80 (including shipping and handling) by sending check, cash or money order payable to NoHeat Publications to P.O. Box 145, Smithville, OK 74957.

Heaton will appear in person at the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame Celebration at Skydive Perris in California in October. He will sign books at author-meet-and-greet events on October 18 and 19 and will donate 25 percent of the $80 purchase price at those events to the museum.

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