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California City Stories

 

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NickDG  (D 8904)

Nov 12, 2007, 11:25 AM
Post #26 of 240 (3252 views)
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Re: [bozo] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I was working at the "other" Cal City DZ with Bob & Judy when Mark Hewitt and Nannette were working for Van. We really did try to keep it friendly but would always shoot the finger at each other when taking off just for laughs. But, I'd go over and visit Mark some nights as we knew each other well from B.A.S.E. jumping. I had a motorcycle that I left outside the hanger and one night, what's his name,
I can't even it remember it now, took it and went screaming up and down the RWY with it. He lived in a van across from Van's hanger and we had a big to do about stealing my bike. A few days later he comes over to the Bob's DZ to apologies and I blew him off. And about a week later, and unrelated to anything I did I'm sure, he took a gun and blew his brains out in his van.

Cal City was the weirdest place I ever worked, and that's saying a lot . . . I liked Robert though, he had every Frank Zappa album ever released . . .

We'd also, because of the WX, we'd start jumping at first light and be drinking by one o'clock when the winds started to blow. I fully understand the loyalty in this thread from jumpers who consider it their home drop zone, but man, you guys should travel more.

We always secretly admired the fact you guys had an Otter as we struggled along with barge of the week. Mostly small C-172s and 182s and that death trap C-401 we had for awhile. But DZ politics aside there was a good group of jumpers up there, Philly, Harry, and the Air Force guys from Edwards. Van had a better LZ than we did too. We were kind of moving around a lot, getting kicked out from this place and that. But man, backing up under tandems in that blowing desert wind trying to avoid washing machines and refrigerators dumped all over the place was a real education for me.

Cal City had a strong Japanese student connection and we'd spend windy afternoons out in the desert letting the little Japanese girl's fire big hand guns. It was really worth it hearing them squeal with delight when the guns went off. We shared a hanger with Wally who rebuilt vintage airplanes and who didnt really like skydivers, but used us to help pay his rent. He was refurbing an L-29 jet and one night I went over and drunkenly climbed into the cockpit. Cal City, at night, can be really boring.

I closed the glass canopy and I heard it lock. I sat there pretending I was over the 'Nam dropping napalm and zooming around until I needed another beer. But the canopy wouldnt open. I pushed and pushed and it wouldn't open. I was freaking trapped. I pushed on the "canopy lock release" lever, but it wouldn't budge. There wasn't anyone around and I realized I was really screwed.

I looked down between my legs and there was the ejection handle. I didn't think the seat was actually armed and thought maybe pulling the handle would, at least, release the canopy. I was just drunk enough to give it a go, but I really thought about for awhile. I really didn't want the last thing I ever accomplished to be a smoking hole in the hanger roof. Then I had to pee. So I gritted my teeth and yanked up on the handle. There were a bunch of clicks but when I opened my eyes I was still sitting there. So I fell asleep.

I woke up hearing voices. Bob was up teaching the first jump course, and probably wondering where the fuck I was because that was my job. I tapped lightly on the canopy glass trying to get his, and certainly no one else's attention. It was only when he was demonstrating a hard arch that he threw his head back far enough to see my frantic waving. He smartly sent the class on a break and the next thing is he and Hank Asciutto are staring down and laughing hysterically at me. They pulled the outside canopy release lever and I was finally free. And except for teaching the rest of the AFF class, taking a level one, and doing a few tandems that was finally the end of that day.

I was never so happy as to leave Cal City eventually. And when I went back to Perris/Elsinore, with all the problems I "thought" existed there, a lot of old hands asked, "Did you learn your lesson?"

NickD Smile
BASE 194


(This post was edited by NickDG on Nov 12, 2007, 11:36 AM)


rapter  (D 11825)

Nov 12, 2007, 3:16 PM
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Re: [jimjumper] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I think thats you in the red helmet Jim
Attachments: N2AP.jpg (85.4 KB)


airtwardo  (D License)

Nov 12, 2007, 3:47 PM
Post #28 of 240 (3204 views)
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Re: [NickDG] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

 
~letting the little Japanese girl's fire big hand guns~





In reply to:



So that's what they're calling it now. Wink


loflyer  (D 25696)

Nov 12, 2007, 5:10 PM
Post #29 of 240 (3190 views)
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Re: [LloydDobbler] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Dude..... Andy here.... Haha..... I have lots of these badboys.

Heres a recent one but a good one about "Campsite Area 51"

So there we were kickin' back by the "Alien Egg Shaped" fire pit. A semi long day of skydiving and more booze than a licquor store. (Like any of us needs a better excuse to party it up) We had gone to dinner Ramone's... there had been a call out between a Naval Officer and a Air Force NCO. Being a man of fair game I assisted the 2 with a gallon of Jim Beam. Who was gonna drink the other under the table? The night was young. Both contestants braved shot after shot. Chasing each drink with a beer. OK So I have the Airforce on my left and the Navy on my right. Everyone is kickin having a good time, when SOMEONE tosses a Bic lighter into the fire. (which amazingly goes unnoticed by all) Moments later..... There is a sudden burst. Everyone jumps, except the culpret who tossed the lighter in. As the blast occurs.... the guy on my left goes straight back in his chair. We look over and he is holding up his beer. Proudly proclaiming that he hadn't spilled a drop. As we jump to our feet to assist our fallen brother, we notice there is a burning piece of coal on his belly. We pull him up and brush of the coal that had gone through 4 layers of clothing. As everything quiets down a bit, the Air Force guy is standing over on my right.... The Naval Officer who is wildly losing the drinking contest, is in his face about how the Navy is still gonna kick the Air Forces ass that night. She instantly passes out falling face first into the Air Force guy, which takes them both down on to a chair which promtly explodes. She was laying right on top of him, and we were all dude you OK? Immediatly, thrust both thumbs straight up in the air. Which was a freaking crack up... Needless to say the Air Force won that night.

These are some of the stories that will keep memories alive about one of the coolest dropzones around.


Zing  (D 6343)

Nov 12, 2007, 7:39 PM
Post #30 of 240 (3161 views)
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Re: [loflyer] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I only made a few jumps at Cal City over the years, but I flew DC-3s and Otters up there a number of times in the early 90s. It was always a good party and great folks.
Three things stand out in my mind about flying there, like the time Matt and I were flying Skip Evan's 3 along the mountains to the west of Cal City. Matt was flying and we were circling in a thermal getting 2400 feet a minute in climb when we stuck a wing out of the thermal. The wind shear wrenched the yoke right out of Matt's grasp with enough force to injure his shoulder.
I showed up in a Twin Otter one Friday afternoon to find 45-knot plus winds 90 degrees to the runway. After two exciting tries at getting the Otter down on the runway and hearing no response on the radio on Unicom, I landed into the wind on the taxiway right in front of Van's hangar and parked there. I figured I'd get my ass chewed for landing there, but there wasn't a soul on the airport that I could find, so I taxied the plane down to parking and tied it down.
The third was flying that same Otter, 915SM, when the girl riding in the co-pilot's seat stood up on jump run. turned to go in the back and snagged both fuel levers on her rig and shut off both engines.
In the sudden quiet, I called out that this IS jump run, everybody out on one pass. After a few seconds of building panic in the back, a voice asks, "What direction are we going?"
The jump run was into the wind and groundspeed was pretty slow, but the altimeter was unwinding steadily, so I answered, "Well, mostly down right now."
The airplane emptied remarkably quickly.


JSBIRD  (D 9968)

Nov 13, 2007, 4:00 AM
Post #31 of 240 (3137 views)
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Re: [NickDG] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I had a motorcycle that I left outside the hanger and one night, what's his name,
I can't even it remember it now, took it and went screaming up and down the RWY with it. He lived in a van across from Van's hanger and we had a big to do about stealing my bike. A few days later he comes over to the Bob's DZ to apologies and I blew him off. And about a week later, and unrelated to anything I did I'm sure, he took a gun and blew his brains out in his van.
NickD Smile
BASE 194

His name was Art. Don't recall his last name. It is quickly closing in on 10 years since that event.

BASE359


(This post was edited by JSBIRD on Nov 13, 2007, 4:12 AM)


cosmobuddy  (D 3784)

Nov 13, 2007, 7:56 AM
Post #32 of 240 (3112 views)
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Re: [JSBIRD] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Andy Anderson. He had a good heart but a troubled soul.


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 13, 2007, 8:41 AM
Post #33 of 240 (3102 views)
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In reply to:
Andy Anderson. He had a good heart but a troubled soul.

Roger that... plus an in-human tolerance for the quatities of Captain Morgan's he could consume and remain vertical as well as feet tougher than an elephant's... I don't think I ever saw him wear shoes... even when skydiving and landing in the desert... we used to call him "Art - ATF"... All Terrain Feet.


JSBIRD  (D 9968)

Nov 13, 2007, 9:08 AM
Post #34 of 240 (3094 views)
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Re: [ZigZagMarquis] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Roger that... plus feet tougher than an elephant's... I don't think I ever saw him wear shoes... even when skydiving and landing in the desert... we used to call him "Art - ATF"... All Terrain Feet.

The first time I saw Art, I was getting on the Otter with a bunch of Japanese students. He boarded the aircraft barefoot, with a camera helmet on, and about 6 inches of wild hair sticking out all around.
It was mid-December.

BASE359


NickDG  (D 8904)

Nov 13, 2007, 9:58 AM
Post #35 of 240 (3079 views)
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Re: [JSBIRD] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it was Art, thanks for the memory jog. And I now recall him drinking me under the table with that rum on several occasions . . .

On another Cal City note I remember it was my birthday and I had the day off. So I drove my truck out into the desert (not much to do in Cal City if you aren't jumping) and had myself a little solo picnic. It was October 14, 1997.

Off in the distance there was a F-15 flying around which isn't strange as Cal City is very close to Edward's Air Force BASE. The jet came pretty close to where I was camped out and he was low and slow so I stood up and waved and I know he saw me because he gave me a little wing wag.

He then hit the burners and went straight up and I thought, wow, a little private air show for my birthday. A few minutes later I heard the double tap boom of the sound barrier being broken.

It wasn't until later that night back in a hangar I learned who was flying the F-15. That day, October 14th 1997, happened to be the 50th anniversary of the sound barrier first being broken. And the pilot who gave me the wing wag was none other than Chuck Yeager himself. He was there to celebrate by breaking the sound barrier again.

That was pretty cool, just me and Chuck, partying together out in the desert . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


airtwardo  (D License)

Nov 13, 2007, 10:13 AM
Post #36 of 240 (3072 views)
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Re: [NickDG] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

~just me and Chuck, partying together out in the desert . . .



In reply to:

TOO COOL! CoolCoolCool


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 13, 2007, 1:35 PM
Post #37 of 240 (3038 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just thinking about the first time (Shut up! The beer has long since been bought) I went out to Cal City.

When I came to the desert for work, at work I meet a co-worker & skydiver / became friends with Rollin and also then meet Chris and Karen and Dr. Dan, also skydivers from up this way "back in the day." When talking to them, probably at some happy hour drinkin' beers, about skydiving and saying, "I want to do that and I've heard about this Cal City place down the road"... of course, they said something along the lines of "okay, put your money where your mouth is and lets get you out there this weekend!"

Well, I don't know if it was that next weekend exactly, but it was pretty soon, Saturday morning July 17, 1993... real early... I followed them down to the DZ at Cal City. When I got out of the car, a full Otter load had just unloaded, some folks were already open some were opening. I paused in the parking lot before going inside to see what I needed to do to sign up, pay my money etc, and watched folks open, fly their canopies & land. Of course I knew about ram air canopies, had seen pictures, but probably had never seen ones in operation that close up before. Most folks on that load landed at the old experienced pit just on the other side of the Dog Jail and others way out at the Student Circle. Anyway, no clue who all was on that load, although I'm sure if I could go back and somehow find the manifest sheet for it, I'd bet I now know many of them... but I watched them fly their canopies, land, wonder what that flapping sound was (sliders before the days everyone had kill-lines on them), what that stuff was trailing behind, etc. etc.... all that stuff that is oh so familiar to me now.

And now, here, 14 years later... 3 rigs (only know where two of them are Crazy)... 3 reserves... 5 mains... 2 AADs... half a dozen jump suits... 5 altimeters... 3200+ Jumps/tickets... a rigger's license... went through the course and became a SL jumpmaster... a broken ankle back in 98 (don't turn low)... lots of driving back and forth to DZs all over SoCal and Arizona... and lots and lots of beer bought (and drank) Wink... do the math... maybe I should have just got back in the car and have rather bought a house by now or saved for retirement?
Crazy


Nah!
Tongue
Laugh


LloydDobbler  (D 30655)

Nov 13, 2007, 4:13 PM
Post #38 of 240 (3007 views)
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Re: [NickDG] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
That was pretty cool, just me and Chuck, partying together out in the desert . . .

That's incredible. Smile I've heard a couple of stories from people about hanging out in the desert, watching the space shuttle pass by on its way to Edwards...but that takes the cake.

These are the sort of stories I just don't hear about from other places... Cool


rapter  (D 11825)

Nov 13, 2007, 4:36 PM
Post #39 of 240 (3004 views)
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Re: [ZigZagMarquis] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Andy Anderson. He had a good heart but a troubled soul.

Roger that... plus an in-human tolerance for the quatities of Captain Morgan's he could consume and remain vertical as well as feet tougher than an elephant's... I don't think I ever saw him wear shoes... even when skydiving and landing in the desert... we used to call him "Art - ATF"... All Terrain Feet.

Andy and Art are two different people, Andy had a plate in his head from a car crash( he drank alot too), he Capped himself in one of the apartments out at the airport around 86 or 87, Nick Greb and Dan "blackdeath" Bardwell found him in his sleeping bag with the A/C on in the middle of winter to keep himself "fresh". Andy was my first ash dive, we used a paper bag. Dano told the story that when he went to Bakersfield to pick up the ashes there were 4 boxes on the table, not knowing which box was Andys he shook the first one,nothing, shook the 2nd. one, again nothing, picked up the 3rd and shook it, "thump", 'thump", thump", he knew he found Andy, (the plate) Art, on the other hand, lost or won, depending on how you look, playing Russian roulette.a habit he had when drinking, out at the far shooting range.

One of many friends who ashes were set free above Cailfornia City


(This post was edited by rapter on Nov 13, 2007, 4:56 PM)


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 13, 2007, 5:24 PM
Post #40 of 240 (2989 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Art... Andy... oops... two different folks. Sorry, my bad.

Blush


Anyway... like Carey said, reportedly Arty "liked" to play Russian Roulette when drunk... the story went on that he got bored with just putting 1 round in the cylinder, giving it a spin, putting it to his head and pulling the trigger, so, he put 3 in the cylinder the, well, last time he played. Crazy Frown


jimjumper  (D 11137)

Nov 13, 2007, 5:31 PM
Post #41 of 240 (2978 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, thats me behind you in the yellow helmet. I had an old Paralert on it that was set to go off it was dropped. I never was able to hear it anyway. The red helmet might? be Dave Leclerq.


rapter  (D 11825)

Nov 13, 2007, 6:12 PM
Post #42 of 240 (2965 views)
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Re: [jimjumper] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, you coming out the door, first red helmet is Jim Papki (sp), he stoped here last year.


Kiwi55  (D 6762)

Nov 14, 2007, 2:16 PM
Post #43 of 240 (2893 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I made a couple of jumps there in the early 80's. It was (if I remember correctly) a 4th of july weekend, and we went and watched the shuttle land.
The next bit is stretching my memory but I seem to recall a vampire (I think) fighter passing us on the climb, a little later it was reported that the vampire had crashed (anyone remember or am I losing it?). Later that weekend we did a demo jump into the start of a motorcycle race.
Sound like a busy weekend. (I think we also did a night jump) and slept on the
In reply to:
packing tables.
...Paul


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Nov 15, 2007, 7:27 PM
Post #44 of 240 (2797 views)
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Re: [Kiwi55] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Any history of Cal City must also include remembering Joe Crotwell.

Michael


Zing  (D 6343)

Nov 15, 2007, 9:38 PM
Post #45 of 240 (2787 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Flying for Joe the last couple years of his life, I got to listen to a lot of his stories ... and Cal City was a place he always spoke of as special to him.


rapter  (D 11825)

Nov 16, 2007, 5:51 AM
Post #46 of 240 (2760 views)
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I have a picture of Joe and Rose in the same shot before they even knew each other. Rose and I were students together. One of the best years of my life was when I was work at AirAffair for them on the dropzone.


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 16, 2007, 6:40 AM
Post #47 of 240 (2751 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
One of the best years of my life was when I was work at AirAffair for them on the dropzone.

I'll never forget your business cards... they were awesome!

Laugh


rapter  (D 11825)

Nov 16, 2007, 9:10 AM
Post #48 of 240 (2732 views)
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Re: [ZigZagMarquis] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Timmay,
Subject covered on another thread,.........


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 16, 2007, 3:57 PM
Post #49 of 240 (2677 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Timmay,
Subject covered on another thread,.........

Awh, come-on, its such a good story!
Tongue


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 19, 2007, 3:41 PM
Post #50 of 240 (2550 views)
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Re: [rapter] California City Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey! How about that time everyone was sitting around after jumping, drinkin' lots of beers, tellin' stories and getting really drunk!!??

... oh wait, that was this past Saturday night... never mind... Blush

Laugh


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