What happened to Charlie Zmuda? I may be the world's leading historian on the lives of the birdmen, but some of those lives just slip through the slip stream (or cracks, if you must have cracks). What we know of Zmuda is this: He took Clem Sohn's job. Sohn, the worlds first bat-wing jumper, died two days and sixty-nine years ago when neither his main parachute nor his reserve opened at a jump just outside of Paris. Sohn's pilot from the beginning was the World War I ace and airplane racer Art Davis and after Sohn's death, Davis needed another bat-wing jumper. Sometime within the next two years he signed Zmuda to the job and together they started appearing at air shows and air races. I strongly suspect that in the photo shown above Zmuda is wearing Sohn's actual wings (though not the wings Sohn died in): The shape is identical. Zmuda made winged jumps with the similarly obscure Elmo Bannister and, alas, little else is known about him. Did he retire from his bat-wing career unscathed? Is he still alive? I'd like to know, if only to keep typing the name "Zmuda."
If you're a Zmuda with a dim recolection of some skydiving relative of yore, do send me a line.