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Mike Turoff
Theodor Knacke
Gary Peek
Jan Meyer
Mark Schlatter

Mike Turoff is an expert parachutist with all the highest ratings, a licensed (jump) pilot and parachute rigger, and he is a professional analytical chemist in "real life." As a dedicated instructor, Mike has made more than 3,400 jumps since 1977.

Mike helped write much of the training material used by the USPA and the sport while serving as an advisor to the USPA's Safety and Training Committee. He authored numerous articles dealing with safety and training practices that have appeared in both Parachutist and Skydiving magazines. Mike participates as an evaluator or a director in many USPA Training and Certification Courses and is a rated to perform Tandem instruction using both The Relative Workshop's and Strong Enterprises' gear. He is a Tandem Examiner for The Relative Workshop.

Few instructors have given as much thought to working with students, explained how things happen and applied safety to skydiving as Mike.

Theodor W. Knacke is the parachute engineer's engineer. He spent a lifetime working in all phases of parachute research, development and application in both Germany and the United States. He was the authority on escape systems, landing deceleration canopies, aerial delivery clusters, personnel parachutes and spacecraft recovery systems.

Mr. Knacke had B.S. degrees in civil and aeronautical engineering and an M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Stuttgart in 1939. After one year with Heinkel Aircraft, he joined the FIST Institute of the University of Stuttgart working primarily on the in-flight and landing deceleration of aircraft. This resulted in the creation of the ribbon canopy in 1938, of which he is a co-inventor.

After coming to the United States in 1946, Mr. Knacke served as a research engineer at the USAF Parachute Branch at Wright Field; from 1952 to 1957 as Technical Director of the USAF 6511th Test Group (Parachutes) at El Centro, California; from 1957-1961 as vice-president of engineering at Space Recovery Systems in El Segundo, California; and from 1962 through 1976 as Chief of the Technical Staff (Recovery Systems) at the Ventura Division of the Northrop Corporation in Newbury Park, California. His responsibilities during this time covered all areas of missile, drone, and spacecraft recovery, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo earth landing systems, ordinance retardation, aircraft escape and deceleration and related projects.

Since retiring from Northrop in 1977, Mr. Knacke had been a consulting engineer to the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and industry. He held numerous patents, had published more than 30 papers and reports, and lectured extensively. He was known worldwide for his lectures sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and hosted by the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Knacke was given the Achievement Award by the National Association for Remotely Piloted Vehicles in 1975. He was a Fellow of the AIAA and was awarded the AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator and Balloon Technology Award in 1981.

The photographs on the cover of his manual were specially selected to represent some of the major projects of the author.

Gary Peek is an active jumper with more than 6,100 jumps and holds numerous skydiving and aviation ratings and certificates. In addition to writing computer programs and providing clip art related to skydiving, he also is an author of aviation and skydiving articles that have appeared in Parachutist magazine, the St. Louis (Midwest) Aviation Journal, and the World Freefall Convention Skydivers Guide (Welcome Book).

Since January of 1997, Gary has held a position on the Board of Directors of the United States Parachute Association as the Central Regional Director, representing USPA members in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.

He holds USPA Static Line, AFF, and Tandem Instructor/Examiner ratings and actively teaches student skydivers in all of these training methods, and has taught at numerous drop zones in the U.S.

Gary holds a Commercial Pilot certificate and is an occasional jump pilot when not jumping himself. He is also a Master Parachute Rigger and actively participates in the parachute rigging trade.

Gary has been a speaker at 5 PIA International Parachute Symposiums and has provided USPA's Safety and Training committee as well as equipment manufacturers with safety and instruction-related information.

He has been a Load Organizer at the World Freefall Convention each year since 1990, as well as organizing skydivers at a local level.

When jumping locally, he can be found making exhibition jumps in the Midwest area as well as using his freefall photography skills to bring the images of these jumps and other skydiving activities back to his friends and fellow jumpers.

Gary makes his living as an electronics and computer consultant in the St. Louis area.

Jan Meyer, D-7833, started jumping in March 1981 and has completed more than 5,500 jumps. Jan is an AFF instructor, static-line instructor and AFF evaluator.

Jan is a National Director for the United States Parachute Association. She serves on the Safety and Training, Membership Services and Constitution and Bylaws Committees.

Jan holds four FAI World Records in large formation skydiving. She won two national championships in 4-way and 8-way (intermediate class) in 1993.

Jan has many skydiving publications that vary from articles to periodicals, training software, formation software, eBooks and websites. Jan is the editor, publisher and author of the Sport Parachutist's Safety Journal. Jan knows skydiving and how to write teaching materials.

Jan organizes jumpers frequently. She has a Masters degree in physics from Purdue University.

Mark Schlatter

Mark Schlatter, BS, MS Purdue 87, 93
Mark has been a full time professional skydiver for more than 20 years. A licensed pilot, aircraft mechanic and Master Parachute Rigger, Mark currently resides in Texas and enjoys performing skydiving acts for major outdoor events nationwide. He trained parachute riggers for many years, served as an FAA Rigger Examiner and helped launch the US Academy of Parachute Rigging