Nathan “Nate” Pond, D-69, passed away at his home in Andover, Vermont, on November 3. He was 87. Pond was a legend in skydiving circles and was at the center of a family of aviation pioneers. In 1952, he started his skydiving career at his family’s farm in Goodhill, Connecticut, which many credit as the birthplace of sport parachuting. Pond went on to become an accomplished style and accuracy competitor and a member of the 1958 U.S. Parachute Team. He was also interested in para-ski and a member of the U.S. Para-Ski Team. During a live television broadcast, Pond—along with Jacques-André Istel, William Jolly and Lew Sanborn—set the first world parachuting record claimed by the U.S., a team precision accuracy record.
Pond, who learned to fly at the age of 12, was a member of the U.S. Air Force. After leaving the service, he earned his commercial pilot’s license and flew passenger and mail-transport aircraft. He was the chief pilot and the U.S. Team pilot for the 1962 World Championships.
Pond was vice president of Parachutes Incorporated from 1965-1967 and the manager of the country’s first commercial drop zone, Orange Sport Parachute Center in Massachusetts. While at P.I., he and Istel, the company’s owner, developed the concept of the remote-controlled opener for the reserve parachute. Pond was also the first test jumper for Pioneer Parachute Company. In 2015, the International Skydiving Museum inducted him into its Hall of Fame.
Pond will be missed by many longtime sport parachutists as a lifelong friend, exceptional skydiver and pilot and one of the legends of the sport of skydiving. Friends and family will provide Information about a memorial service once it is available.