I began with the Galveston Skydivers in '64 before they move south to Sam's. Made over 250 jumps with them. Knew Doc and Stevie real well and their newborn son. Knew John Whitworth, the original jump master, Jack Joerns, Gary Jordan and many others over the next 3 years. Recently someone was wanting info on Joerns and his jump into the Andes. Anyone wanting info on him and his jump into the Peruvian jungles can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Jack the most amazing man I knew and we were close way back.
Hi Don. This was a great old thread to re-read. My first jump course was from Jesse Hall at Doc's place in the Spring of '71. About 1/2 hour of instruction in the trailer and a bunch of PLFs from the platform, then out to the plane. I always loved that whichever way you took off from that strip, the first thing you flew over was a cemetary. Jesse's favorite joke was, "Ya know how many people are dead down there?..All of 'em!" And people think Fandango was fiction - Ha. I hadn't had a lot to drink before that, but hanging around with Jesse and the Bottrell bros. sure changed that. It seems like you were the most sane person on the DZ back then. I'm still grateful for the rigger training from you and Carl Maroon at the old loft near San Jac Jr. College.
Oh, how well I remember Houston Parachute Service in LaPorte, Tx. Many a static line student went thru the first jump ground school there. And on rainy w/e's we used to hold packing classes, poker games, empty beer can target practice. We never seemed to run out of targets. And there seemed like there was always a great looking gal, or two, hanging around. I haven't done any 'crew' since Carl and I did it on opening with PC's. He never could track. I've got to get with you someday for a few lessons.
I got my SCR 1339 and SCS 292 at Doc's on 4-22-72. It was my 43rd jump. Spiderman got his SCR 1338 on the same jump so we had quite a party afterwards. The jumpers in order of entry were Tom Sanders, Sean Ferguson, Dave Boatman, David Bottrell, Robert Bottrell, Spiderman, John Mincher and me. We jumped from a C-182 and a C-180 flying in formation and jumped from 10,500. I was seventh out but John beat me in so I lucked out on the SCS. Rick Johnson
(This post was edited by SCS292 on Mar 28, 2012, 1:38 PM)
8 man round star out of two planes was hard to do! But that was the way to earn your SCR/S number. We were good hard fast flyers in those days! We all knew how to have fun with skydiving. I'm not taking anything away from today's jumper. But, they make it look like work. Seem to take falling out of an airplane seriousy!
I'm not sure how round it was but we were all wrist to wrist, the only way an 8-man was done at the time. I guess we did hear of the odd snowflake but I never saw one made or even attempted.
Looking through my logbook I see that Pete Bandy did come back and jump some after his broken leg because I have some notes and a sign-off from some jumps with him at Doc's. One that came back to me as I was reading it was a C-180 load with Dave Boatman flying. The clouds really closed in below us and we spotted an intersection on I-45 or was it just US 75 back then. Dave said he was going back home and what did we want to do? We got out but the clouds were too thick to get any RW done so we just fell till we cleared the clouds and pulled. That is when I found out that rain drops really are pointed on top, ouch. Turns out the Hwy intersection was at Texas City but Steve Hazen's wife, Barbie was really good at finding jumpers off the reservation and by the time we got our chutes wound up she was there with my VW bus. My logbook says "Distance to target - 8 miles" I guess Boatman didn't have a sectional on board and couldn't get a VOR fix. In fact, the 180 may not have been equipped with any nav gear at all.
(This post was edited by SCS292 on Mar 30, 2012, 10:58 AM)
Where did Boatman land, Doc's or the original Spaceland? It was I-45. Pete and I jumped into the Chiropractic colloge on Spencer Hwy. in Pasadena. I remember Steve Hazen, and Pete when they jumped with us at a little Cessna DZ in Angleton, TX. Pete is practicing Chiropractic in Austin these days. Still walks with a limp due to that mid-air with an oipening canopy in Valley Mills.
Boatman was flying from Doc's that day. (edit - I do remember leaving from Spaceland and jumping into Dickinson one time when it was too muddy to leave from Doc's. Was it this jump? Not sure) I made 15 jumps in Angleton, including my first on 10/3/71. We may have known each other. I was a student of Steve's.
p.s. - check a post on the V-Mills thread about Pete
(This post was edited by SCS292 on Mar 30, 2012, 12:16 PM)
Was Angleton also called Rice U DZ? If so, I made my first jump there on 9-26-71 and my second and third at Angleton on 10-3-71. I feel sure I made my first jump there and Steve Hazen put me out on all 5 of my static line jumps. The last two SL w/ DRP were in V-Mills from the twin Beech as was my first free fall. A little different than climbing out on the step with the strut to hang on to.
You are correct- the Rice Univ. SPC. We had been jumping in Conroe but were asked to leave! It seems we had put a large cloth "X", with 30 legs, in the center of the airport for a student target. Airport management could not understand why his resturant buiness was declining over the last couple of weekends. None of the club members were pilots! Little did we know that an "x" ment that the airport was closed to air traffic. The man had no sense of humor.
Hello Don....I've been wondering if you were alive and kicking. I'm back in La Porte after about 5 years in Tennessee. Whatever happened to Carl? Have you heard of anything from or about Mike Neidigh? What part of the country are you in now?
Hi John--Good to hear from you after all these years! I'm practicing in Stephenville, Tx., and live in Dublin. Running a small Cessna DZ on the weekends. Carl died in Aug., 1986 from a brain tumor. Mike and Maxine retired from N.C. and moved to Ocala, Fl. last fall. Both are doing well.
Didn't we have a pilot in '71 or '72 that just had one eye? He lost the other eye in Viet Nam when the canpoy of his jet was shot out and a piece of it went into his eye. He still managed to land the jet without the eye or a canopy. He was supposed to be the only commercial pilot with just one eye. I was only 21 at the time and kind of gullable but I always thought it was a real story.
(This post was edited by SCS292 on Apr 10, 2012, 11:39 AM)
Was it Carl who would stand on the edge of pea gravel in Angleton with a white flag to show a student which way they should have their canopy pointed? Radio contact was way out of the question back then. Reading about these new fangled square things they jump now and all the problems with flying patterns (or not flying patterns) reminds me that we all pointed at the peas and if anybody got there it was a miracle. If we all had gotten there at the same time I guess we might have bumped into someone on our PLF. That 2 mph forward speed on the 28' 7TU made for lots of heel, ass and head landings in the coastal Texas breeze.
I rember a flight in Dickenson that Tim was flying. Doc A's C-195 had a run-a-way prop! Tim shut the engine off and dead sticked it into Spaceland, for the longer runway, instead of the short dirt strip at the DZ. Doc was made has hell! Chewed Tim out as only Doc could. Told Tim he should have trimmed the plane nose down, pointed towards the gulf and bailed out. Doc wanted to get rid of that 195. The following Sunday we put the tail in the bet of a pickup, hung a 10 day temporary license plate on the prop and towed her down I-45 to the DZ, with a police escort. A couple of weeks later some guy from NM took the wings off, loaded her on a trailer and she was gone to a new home.
I was fooling around on Google Earth and found the old drop zone Doc operated and where I jumped in 1972. If you go to the intersection of FM 517 and Hwy 45 and then west a bit just past Dickinson Seafood Company (great place to eat too) you can click on the Imagery Date in the lower left hand corner of the satellite image and it will give you a slider in the top left of the image. Take it all the way back to 1969 and you can see the DZ with the pea gravel target to the west of the runway and the dirt parking area to the east. If you jump to the 1987 photo, the runway is gone but you can still see the pea gravel target. Go to todays view and most of it is covered up by development.
(This post was edited by SCS292 on May 21, 2012, 7:20 AM)
Galveston Sky Divers story: C-182 ran out of gas on jumprun. The pilot didn't think he could make it to the run way, behind Sam's, so he puts it in a field off of 1-45 north of the DZ behind a furniture store. We all load up, drive over there and push the pland out into the parking lot. Put 5 gallons of gas into the tanks and it starts right up. Dave Boatman had walked off of the parking lot into the field checking for obstacles, ditches, etc. As Dave was climbing into the plane I started to hand him the pilot's rig. He threw it on the ground saying I don't need the added weight and I won't get high enough to use it! Dave does a great "short" field takeoff, goes over the power lines and I-45 pushes the nose over and lands on Doc A's strip! The engine quits again as he was taxiing to the gas pump. As Dave said All I need is enough gas to get over the freeway". Another plane saved to haul jumpers again.
I've been having fun looking back at my logbook for the first time in a lot of years. Were any of you old timers, or as John Mincher more politely calls us "Pioneers of the sport", at Doc's on 3-12-'72? It was my first jump in Dickinson. Until then all my jumps had been at Angleton, V-Mills and a couple in Austin. We had a short spot with a 15 knt SE wind and I held as long as I could before I decided the pond north of the DZ was about to be in my future. I made a quick turn to the north, flew over the pond and a bunch of brush and made a hook turn onto a driveway that went to a little house north of the pond. It would have worked out OK but I didn't see the power lines going to the house along the south side of the drive. I went through the power lines and my PC collapsed on the wires causing them to cross and short out. I hit the driveway a little harder than planned and sprained my ankle (thank God for Frenchies). It was a good thing the wires just supplied the one house and were not any higher above the ground. The wires burned in half and fell in the brush starting a nice little fire. Fortunately my PC wasn't damaged by the wires or the fire but the power to Don Gay Pontiac and to the shopping center across I-45 was knocked out. My friends came and got me and we made a hasty retreat. The police came out to the DZ to find me after the fire was out but some quick thinking skydivers told them that it was some guy from California that nobody knew who was visiting and he was so embarrassed that the last time they saw him he was headed north on I-45 in a green Chevrolet. Thanks to whoever it was who put them off the scent!
(This post was edited by SCS292 on Jun 27, 2012, 8:33 AM)
some quick thinking skydivers told them that it was some guy from California that nobody knew who was visiting and he was so embarrassed that the last time they saw him he was headed north on I-45 in a green Chevrolet.