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Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives)

 

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howardwhite  (C 3896)

Mar 21, 2007, 8:24 AM
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Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) Can't Post

This letter and picture were printed in Spotter Nov.-Dec. 1978. They are posted here on the off chance someone here might be familiar with the subject. Cool

----
Just writing to let you know that the Coolidge DZ now has an operational C-54. We have already jumped out of it starting with the Thanksgiving Boogie here. The airplaneŚalso known as a DC-4--has hauled 230 people to 12,500 in 3 loads.
We are inviting any persons interested in organizing record mega-blots to contact us concerning use of our airplane here at Coolidge.
We also want everyone to know that the C-54 is being used for fun jumping along with our 3 Twin Beeches, and a Cessna.
Contrary to "rumor out of control" we are not closed down and never have been.
Hoping to see everyone this winter.

(signature withheld)
------

HW
Attachments: C54.jpg (46.0 KB)


bozo  (D 10154)

Mar 21, 2007, 9:45 AM
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In reply to:
This letter and picture were printed in Spotter Nov.-Dec. 1978. They are posted here on the off chance someone here might be familiar with the subject. Cool

----
Just writing to let you know that the Coolidge DZ now has an operational C-54. We have already jumped out of it starting with the Thanksgiving Boogie here. The airplaneŚalso known as a DC-4--has hauled 230 people to 12,500 in 3 loads.
We are inviting any persons interested in organizing record mega-blots to contact us concerning use of our airplane here at Coolidge.
We also want everyone to know that the C-54 is being used for fun jumping along with our 3 Twin Beeches, and a Cessna.
Contrary to "rumor out of control" we are not closed down and never have been.
Hoping to see everyone this winter.

(signature withheld)
------

HW

I made lots and lots of jumps out of that airplane.


Zing  (D 6343)

Mar 21, 2007, 11:37 AM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I know the author of that letter. It was fun to jump that DC-4.
Attachments: DC-4Exit-01 copy.jpg (20.8 KB)


skybill  (D 6009)

Mar 21, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Howard,
Yup that was one fun A/C to jump from!!


usedtajump  (D 6813)

Mar 21, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure was tough on front floaters though.Laugh


377  (F 666)

Mar 21, 2007, 4:32 PM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

This looks like the C 54G then owned, maintained and flown by DC 4 expert Jim Blumenthal of AZ. It flew jumpers at WFFC in Quincy about 5 years ago. It was in great shape and performed numerous lifts (with 85 jumpers) with only one minor hitch, a blown starter motor which Jim replaced within a half hour from his store of spares that he hauls with the plane. He also owned a C 123K with props and jets, like the one in the movie Con Air. His C 54G was sold to a fuel hauler in AK a couple of years ago and is still flying as far as I know. Jim also once owned N 89FA, Fat Annie, the ATL 98 Carvair double decked DC 4 conversion. I am a Big Doug fan (old Douglas propliners). Jim knew literally every part in a DC 4 having restored a number of surplus airframes back to flying condition.


Zing  (D 6343)

Mar 21, 2007, 6:12 PM
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Re: [377] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

That WFFC forced Jim Blumenthal to sell his DC-4. Despite his request that jumpers stay seated and belted in during the take-off, some vidiot decided to go for a stroll around the cabin and cockpit. Somehow, Jim never found out how, some video of this guy walking around during the take-off made it on local television. When Jim got home to his base in Kingman, Arizona, there was a telegram waiting for him from his insurance company advising him that his insurance was canceled and the company, the only one that would write a policy for the kinds of flying Jim was doing, declined to discuss re-instating the insurance. Jim was forced to sell the airplane because he couldn't operate without insurance.
He still has the C-123, but he won't consider hauling sport jumpers ever again.
As a historical note, Jim's DC-4 was the one Dwight D. Eisenhower used as his personal transport during his final years in the US Army high command.


377  (F 666)

Mar 21, 2007, 6:28 PM
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Re: [Zing] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Man does that suck. How would the video shown only on a local rural TV station have come to the immediate attention of his insurer? I made every load but one on the C 54 at WFFC (LOVED that plane). Everyone was belted during the takeoff roll on every flight I was on, but there was a lot of moving around afterwards. The C 54 didn't sell for several years after the WFFC flights according to what I read. Maybe it takes that long to find a buyer. What a damned shame. Insurance is a real hassle and is the reason the Super Connie in Kansas City no longer flies jumpers at WFFC. I wonder how the Carvair and C 130A we had at WFFC handled it? What if you just formed a corp with no assets other than the plane and flew uninsured? Does the FAA mandate liability insurance?


efs4ever  (D 7014)

Mar 21, 2007, 8:36 PM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

I took this in about 1997. Eloy
Attachments: dc 4 exit eloy.jpg (38.6 KB)


33zulu  (D 6267)

Mar 28, 2010, 6:35 PM
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Re: [Zing] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
<<< I think I know the author of that letter. It was fun to jump that DC-4. >>>



Yes, that plane was awesome indeed! Here's a shot of Pat Works (and Jan?) getting ready to load, while some Albuquerque cool cats are climbing the stairs.

Also tossed in an interior shot.
Attachments: Loading the DC-4 - Coolidge.JPG (85.6 KB)
  Inside the DC-4.JPG (56.5 KB)


skybill  (D 6009)

Mar 29, 2010, 6:52 AM
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Re: [33zulu] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi 33z and zing and all,
'Remember after takeoff, Chris "Merlin" Balsey would do his Magic Show at the back of the plane on our way to altitude!! 'Can't forget the 30 way "Skull and Bones" Tommy organized at one of the Haloween Boogies outa the "4"!! The eye winked and the teeth chatered!! Who was it said,"After stars over the water tower!!??"


lekstrom10k  (D 3001)

Mar 29, 2010, 1:35 PM
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Re: [377] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

 I got to jump it there with the lovely young lady that helped fly it there. Fun jump and a great plane too. I walked around smiling after it but dont remember her name


skybill  (D 6009)

Mar 29, 2010, 6:27 PM
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Hi 10k,

Connie.


bozo  (D 10154)

Mar 30, 2010, 4:53 AM
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In reply to:
Hi 33z and zing and all,
'Remember after takeoff, Chris "Merlin" Balsey would do his Magic Show at the back of the plane on our way to altitude!!


Wow...Merlin. That name sure brought back a memory.
I went to one of the Lake Powell Boogies that the Coolidge folks organized. My wife and I were sitting on the beach having a beer.....watching the high winds blow tumbleweeds across the lake, wondering when the jump plane was gonna show.
Pretty soon we hear a twin beech and it sure looks like its on jumprun. Surely they wont jump, the winds are howling. The load jumped and I started yelling at the people camped near me to get in their boats and go rescue these guys because it was obvious they werent going to make it to shore.
Luckily I had my ski boat beached. My son and I launched it and went about picking jumpers out of the lake, most of who had no water gear. One of the guys I picked up was Merlin.....I bet he remembers that. No one drownded so it was a good jump.

I also jumped the C54 at Coolidge....on my honeymoon ...and have pics somewhere of my new wife and I aboard.


RonD1120  (D 1120)

Mar 30, 2010, 4:54 AM
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Re: [bozo] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I made lots and lots of jumps out of that airplane.

Was Terry Proust there when you were?


bozo  (D 10154)

Mar 30, 2010, 5:22 AM
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Re: [RonD1120] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I made lots and lots of jumps out of that airplane.

Was Terry Proust there when you were?




Seems like it , Ron but as I get older the memory gets lesser. Smile


33zulu  (D 6267)

Mar 31, 2010, 3:19 PM
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Re: [skybill] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi 33z and zing and all,
'Remember after takeoff, Chris "Merlin" Balsey would do his Magic Show at the back of the plane on our way to altitude!! 'Can't forget the 30 way "Skull and Bones" Tommy organized at one of the Haloween Boogies outa the "4"!! The eye winked and the teeth chatered!!
reply]


Those were great shows Merlin would put on! I remember at one boogie he got the ol' gal May (?) with his magic "bra" trick.

And yes, that Skull & Bones jump was a cool one. Piras got me on it and it was loads of fun.

Who rode the unicycle in the back while climbing to altitude?


skybill  (D 6009)

Mar 31, 2010, 6:45 PM
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Re: [33zulu] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Hi 33z and zing and all,
'Remember after takeoff, Chris "Merlin" Balsey would do his Magic Show at the back of the plane on our way to altitude!! 'Can't forget the 30 way "Skull and Bones" Tommy organized at one of the Haloween Boogies outa the "4"!! The eye winked and the teeth chatered!!
reply]


Those were great shows Merlin would put on! I remember at one boogie he got the ol' gal May (?) with his magic "bra" trick.

And yes, that Skull & Bones jump was a cool one. Piras got me on it and it was loads of fun.

Who rode the unicycle in the back while climbing to altitude?
Hi 33Z,
I remember Merlin doing the "Bra Trick" on Annie Helliwell!! The Skull and bones dive, I was in the eye socket accross from Mahoney when he grip switched to make the eye wink!! My big question is "Does anybody have a Picture of the formation??? I don't remember but there must have been someone flying camera!! Anyone have a shot from the ground??


longtall  (D 7244)

Apr 1, 2010, 3:47 AM
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Re: [howardwhite] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Wasnt it a '4" load that Greg Robinson chased and pulled for the unconcious jumper-girl ?(wonder if she ever jumped again)I think it took a long time for Greg to let go of that ripcord.


patworks  (D 1813)

Jun 23, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Cool memories.......... thanks!


Glitch  (D 10834)

Jun 25, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: [longtall] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes it was.... '87 DC4 Convention at Coolidge. I was on the 45 zoo dive that exited just prior to her group exiting (a 6 way I believe, and Greg just followed them out instead of riding the plane down... Thank God!). Of course, I didn't know what happened at the time but I remember wondering wtf was wrong as I watched her reserve slowly spiral all the way in...

Incidently, If anyone has a video of that 45 zoo dive I'd gladly pay top $$$ for a copy. ...or ANY footage of the 1 legged jumper that was in attendance of that boogie!. PM me if you can help! TIA


bozo  (D 10154)

Jun 25, 2010, 1:47 PM
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In reply to:
Yes it was.... '87 DC4 Convention at Coolidge.



bzzzzzt wrong. it was a Thanksgiving boogie. I was on the same plane.


Glitch  (D 10834)

Jun 25, 2010, 2:53 PM
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Re: [bozo] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

Well.... I don't know what to say...

Attached is a scan of my log book, and heres a clicky showing the date of the save.

Maybe we've jumped together, but it wasn't at the Thanksgiving boogie. Smile
Attachments: Log.jpg (104 KB)


muff528  (D 17609)

Jun 25, 2010, 3:14 PM
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Re: [Glitch] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well.... I don't know what to say...

Attached is a scan of my log book, and heres a clicky showing the date of the save.

Maybe we've jumped together, but it wasn't at the Thanksgiving boogie. Smile

I like your jump #384 ..... CRW World Reord Mass Exit Attempt from a 182. Smile (musta been crowded... or the record wasn't very big!)


jimjumper  (D 11137)

Jun 25, 2010, 5:04 PM
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Re: [bozo] Coolidge C-54 (Spotter archives) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll check this weekend. The guy the girl collided with was Guy Fitzwater. They both continued jumping after the incident. The girl got some significant liscence number after the incident. Guy Fitzwater quit jumping a few years ago. I sold his gear after he quit. His ex-girlfriend still works at the Bombshelter at Perris.


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