Peter Lawson, an institution in Skydiving in South Africa

By Willie Bodenstein

10.10.2021



How does one do justice to someone that has spent two years short of a half a century doing what he loves?


Has represented South Africa at six World Cup events and four World Championships?


Was the member of a team that set a world record set in 2006?


The person in question is Peter Lawson.


Peter was seventeen when he did his first skydive in 1974.


Needless to say, he was hooked and he has since become not only and institution in SA Skydiving, but also one of the most successful competition skydivers in South African skydiving history.




Flying the Compair 7.


Flying a Harvard with his dad as pax to an air show in Tzaneen.

In his 48-year career, Peter has done more than 10,000 skydives. How he still found time to earn his private pilot's license with a night rating and accumulate 2500hrs total flying hours +/- 900 of which is on turbine powered aircraft and approximately 1300hrs on Taildraggers only Peter knows. He currently has 10 aircraft on his license.


Peter's medals.

Peter's list of achievements speaks volumes. In 1982 he won the South African Sport Merit Award. He has won 28 gold medals at South African National Championships and many more silver and bronze. He represented South Africa at six World Cups and four World Championships, winning a bronze medal at the 1983 Championships.


1988 World Record, 144 way.




The then 357 World Record set in 2004.

He won the 4 Way and 8 Way gold medals at the Mondial de Paraquidisimo in Brazil 1985 and has World Records for the largest formations, including in 1986 the 120 Way, in 1988 the 144 Way, in 1999 the 282 Way and in 2004 the 357 Way.


Peter with Carl Basson, Norman Langeveldt, Peter Cronje and Manual Cordeiro…………..and Peter with Chris Dales and 2 Ausies in California 1981.


1984 National Champs 4 way with Gavin Aspden, Chris Dales, Ruben Knoetze and camera man Wayne Meyer

In January 2006, he was invited to join in the attempt to build a 400 Way but broke his shoulder on exiting the aircraft. This record still stands.


Peter with Hugh Newman, Chris Dales and Ruben Knoetze in Brazil 1985.


1983 World Championship, Sun City, bronze medal.

Peter's business association with Pretoria Skydiving Club (now Skydive Pretoria) started in 1992 when he acquired a 10% share in the assets of the then going concern. He then started running the club on a full-time basis and changing the facility into what it is today. In 2002, after Mike Snoymans death, Peter took full control of the skydiving club and retained Bepe Piazolli and Kallie Reitz as remaining partners. The Snoymans estate (as majority shareholder) settled with him in 2007 and from then, he had full solo control of the operation until 2019 when he sold it as a going concern to Angi and Billy Sharman.


Peter at Skydive on 25 September 2021 during the annual Peter Lawson Cup.




Action from the competition.

In the period 1992 to 2018, he hosted and directed 10 all discipline, National Championships as well as an additional 6 National Canopy Piloting Championships (18 National events in 26 years). Peter also hosted and directed the 2nd World Championship in Canopy Piloting in 2008. He was also the Meet Director for the World Cup in Canopy Piloting 2009 at Carltonville (Johannesburg Skydiving Club). He being Meet Director was a pre requisite from the IPC (International Parachuting Commission) for the club being awarded the event.






Peter's legacy, Skydive Pretoria's immaculate facility during the competition.

Peter served as treasurer and P.R.O. for 7 years on the then Aero Club Parachute section of the Aero Club of SA and was one of the founding members of the now Parachute Association of South Africa which was formed in approx. **** and served on the executive for another 9 years.

Established in 1963, fifty-eight years ago, Pretoria Skydiving Club (now Skydive Pretoria) is the oldest active Skydiving centre in South Africa and which celebrates its 58th birthday this year.

Under the management of Angi and Billy Sharman, Peter's legacy is sure to thrive and grow and to remain as probably the premium skydive centre in SA.

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