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The Good Ole Days

 

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smooth  (D License)

Mar 12, 2003, 1:54 PM
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The Good Ole Days Can't Post

I copied this from http://www.skyxtreme.com/stories04.html.

Forgive me if you've seen it before. The nostalgia moved me enough to post it here.
---------------------------------------
The Good Ole Days
By Tom Dolphin - moskypigs@aol.com

Back when rocks were soft, dirt was white, and dinosaurs were in free fall over the earth. We were a smaller group, we were brothers that shared fun, companionship, knowledge, and the euphoria that you can only know by jumping.

We didn't need $1,000.000.00 multi engine, climb at the speed of sound, jet fuel burning, aircraft. We were happy and totally satisfied to have one cessna that would run every weekend. We never needed altitude over 7,500 to do our RW jumps, we knew that if you were not skilled enough to do your formations in the allotted 30 seconds that you were in need of help and further training, and any and, all from the greatest skygods to walk the earth on down would talk to you, explain what your weak areas were and would bust their asses to bring "you" up to the speed of the group. "Never" was it ever considered to ask for money to work with and improve the skills of your brother.

We were all a team and only as strong as our weakest member, so no one was to be belittled and left by the wayside. It was our way of life, you did your job during the week, and lived for the weekends at the DZ, snow, sleet, rain, wind, weather made no difference, you knew your brothers would be waiting for you at the DZ.

If you could not jump you organized other types of fun, some of which I sometimes cannot believe that we lived through, but always as brothers, our backs together against this world that thought us insane, and less worthy than others to be a part of it.

You could go to the DZ and leave your billfold full of cash laying of the floor by your gear bag , and if you forgot it, than the next day it would still be there with the cash intact. You could trust your wife, your girlfriend, even your family with these persons and "never" give a second thought, to their safety, and treatment.

You didn't need to buy three new mains a year to keep up with the Joneses, you were not judged by the cost or quality of your gear, you spent your money on jumps, to become a stronger member of the brotherhood, more proficient, more skilled. You were judged by your ability alone, no other things were needed to be considered.

Somewhere in the last 15 years all of these things have become lost, everyone now is an individual with a agenda only for himself, no trust, no brotherhood, only at the DZ on the perfect days, when the "big" aircraft are there, and then only to make three jumps in the two hours he has allotted to be at the DZ, or to test jump his "new" 54 sq ft Hawkazoomie, and impress all of the lesser ones. You missed out on a time of purity and companionship that will never come this way again, and the sport is the lesser for that.


ERICCONNELLY  (C 32263)

Mar 12, 2003, 3:34 PM
Post #2 of 37 (4286 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Are still good in some places...Smile

Guess I'm just damn lucky but most of this is still true at "home" for me.


lawrocket  (Student)

Mar 12, 2003, 6:18 PM
Post #3 of 37 (4271 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I have not seen it before.

But I must also disagree somewhat. Being a neophyte to this sport, I've found that the opposite is true. I've only jumped Elsinore, and maybe there are different places, but skydivers that I know are the nicest, most generous and tough-love people I've ever come across.

They jump with me, and have refused my tips. Shark here spent two hours reviewing things for me, on his own time, with no compensation. He did it with a smile and accepted a handshake. He, and everybody else, educates me not to impress me how good they are, but to help me to live to go again.

I've missed every party at the DZ, since I am the one who allots a certain amount of time to jumping. The others ask me to stick around. This IS brotherhood. I can't stick around, but they'll see me again.

Surfers mistrust anyone other than locals. Try to play a pickup game of hoops in the park? Yeah right.

Every tandem that just did his or her first jump gets the smiles and the warmth of every jumper present. I myself get the rush of seeing the excitement of that new jumper who just experienced it the first time. With only one jump, I was welcomed to the "brotherhood." So is everyone else.

Perhaps there is a difference between the lifestyle jumper and the jumper. Mr. Dolphin apparently feels no brotherhood with someone like me who, because of life, cannot jump more than once or twice a month.

I feel brotherhood with him, though. I believe the difference is between those who know what it means to freefall, and those who don't.

Only those who have been trough a freefall - even if only once - understand. They are brothers and sisters, whether skydiving is a hobby, a passion, or a lifestyle.

This community is open to everyone. Would Mr. Dolphin let me in?


blewaway5  (A 38803)

Mar 16, 2003, 9:45 PM
Post #4 of 37 (4204 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure he doesn't remember me because it's been a few years since I've been to that dz, but my first 5 jumps were done at Tom's dz. To anyone wondering if they'd be welcomed by him I know I surely was, and since I'll be living back in that neck of the woods this summer I plan on doing my jumping at that dz again. When I was a student ever so briefly there the instructors all invited me to hang out with them after the day and party, they invited me out to dinner with them a couple of times, and they tried to teach me as much as they could. One instructor even invited me over to his house for a dinner he was having for a few of the regulars there. All of that and I was only there for one week. Yep, just seven days. They are good people.

As far as that time being gone, well, it is. I'm sad I missed it. We all see glimpses of it, and we all know lot's of people who would have fit in no problem, but seriously, would you feel comfortable in this day and age leaving a wallet full of cash laying around, even at the dz? As sad as it is, the answer is hell no, cause there's always that one guy or gal, and we all know it.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Mar 17, 2003, 5:40 AM
Post #5 of 37 (4194 views)
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Re: [blewaway5] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
but seriously, would you feel comfortable in this day and age leaving a wallet full of cash laying around, even at the dz? As sad as it is, the answer is hell no, cause there's always that one guy or gal, and we all know it.

That's the part I miss. I was jumping during those times, and it really was true. Yes, there were thefts, but they were few enough that security was pretty lax. Or at least I treated it that way.

And I liked it that way.

Wendy W.


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 17, 2003, 8:53 AM
Post #6 of 37 (4177 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Let's not forget that in the "good ole days" the fatality rate (fatalities per 1000 jumpers) was way higher than it is now, even with the low turn accidents considered.

I jump at a large DZ in Illinois. Two weeks ago I left my rig there by mistake. It was still there when I went back on Saturday. The only theft I have heard of in 5 years was during a boogie when a lot of strangers were around.

I started jumping just 6 years ago. When I had fewer than 100 jumps I got coaching from people like Jerry Lehnherr, Roger Nelson, Derek Thomas (who was visiting at the time) and TJ Hine, etc, all of whom have Nationals RW gold medals and have been on or organized World Record jumps. None ever charged anything for coaching. For the free-fliers, newbies regularly jump with world-class jumpers like Rook and Missy. Just yesterday I jumped with Jerry, Roger and Missy. RW load organizing is free at all times and available for all levels. We have an "organization", Team Funnel, specifically designed to get the new graduates into the activities of the DZ.

When a bunch of us RW newbies decided we wanted to compete in 10-way, these same folks coached the team. Thanks to their coaching, not only can we complete our formation in 30 seconds, we can do it in 12 seconds from a no-show exit. The DZO even gave us two days of free training jumps before Nationals. Last year we managed to win bronze WITHOUT the need for matching rigs and jumpsuits.

So to those who wonder about the "good ole days", I maintain the "good ole days" are NOW. If it's not like that at your DZ, maybe you're jumping at the wrong place.


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Mar 17, 2003, 10:00 AM
Post #7 of 37 (4170 views)
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Re: [kallend] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The only theft I have heard of in 5 years was during a boogie when a lot of strangers were around.

Somebody bagged one of my hook knives last year at Nationals. It was attached to my rig when I dropped it off at my packer and was gone when I picked my rig up. That takes a brass set.


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 17, 2003, 12:18 PM
Post #8 of 37 (4155 views)
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Re: [quade] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
The only theft I have heard of in 5 years was during a boogie when a lot of strangers were around.

Somebody bagged one of my hook knives last year at Nationals. It was attached to my rig when I dropped it off at my packer and was gone when I picked my rig up. That takes a brass set.

I "lost" a wallet much the same way at the Eloy Nats in 2001. I think major boogies are a different beast than normal day-to-day activity at a DZ. Prolly all the fault of the French and RussiansWink


smooth  (D License)

Mar 18, 2003, 12:18 PM
Post #9 of 37 (4118 views)
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Re: [kallend] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

John, First of all, I'm not picking on you. I'm just using your post as a starting point for a reply. . .

Quote:
Let's not forget that in the "good ole days" the fatality rate (fatalities per 1000 jumpers) was way higher than it is now, even with the low turn accidents considered.

Was it?? My understanding is that it's been pretty consistent over the years

Quote:
I jump at a large DZ in Illinois. Two weeks ago I left my rig there by mistake. It was still there when I went back on Saturday. The only theft I have heard of in 5 years was during a boogie when a lot of strangers were around.
It's winter in Chicago... how many people where there? LaughLaugh
Notice that there is a section for lost/stolen gear right here on DZ.com. We didn't need one before.

Quote:
I started jumping just 6 years ago. When I had fewer than 100 jumps I got coaching from people like Jerry Lehnherr, Roger Nelson, Derek Thomas (who was visiting at the time) and TJ Hine, etc, all of whom have Nationals RW gold medals and have been on or organized World Record jumps. None ever charged anything for coaching.
They were there in the "Good Ole Days". Isn't it nice to see the traditions carried on to this day.

Quote:
For the free-fliers, newbies regularly jump with world-class jumpers like Rook and Missy. Just yesterday I jumped with Jerry, Roger and Missy.
You're spoiled!! SlyLaughWink

Often, growth = change. When an event gets larger a change occurs. Think of the Freak Brother Convention growing into the WFFC. Another analogy, think of how the internet has changed already.

I really can't expect anyone who wasn't there to get any nostalgia from the article. For those of us who were there it is a reason to pause and reminisce about a time that has past. If things were so radically different we wouldn't still be jumping 10, 20 and even 30 years later.

Skydivers, as a whole, are the most wonderful people I have ever met!!!


steve1  (D 23640)

Mar 18, 2003, 3:10 PM
Post #10 of 37 (4108 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

I made my first jump about 30 years ago and felt a lot of nostalgia reading this article. But I still wouldn't want to go back to those days to skydive. There is so much more you can do now in the sport, (in terms of new challenges.) The gear now is not only safer, but a whole lot more fun than it once was. As far as jumpers are concerned, I don't think they've changed much. They are still the same down to earth folks that you feel close to and depend on if you need help. It's too bad that strangers rip stuff off at times. This is probably less of a problem at smaller DZ's. It seems most drop zones were small in the old days because there weren't that many jumpers back then. I remember waiting all day to to just make a couple jumps out of a Cessna. The relative work was experimental at best, and often downright dangerous. Floating down under a para-commander or 7-TU wasn't all that much fun.

I just returned from a big DZ (Eloy), and it seemed like paradise to me. What a rush, being able to get on one big aircraft after another, jumping with tons of experienced quality people, day after day. As far as I'm concerned the good ole days in skydiving aren't gone. They're right now. (And yes, some Commie Pinko Bastard, did steal my red coat, while I was there.)......... Steve1


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 19, 2003, 8:50 AM
Post #11 of 37 (4079 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
John, First of all, I'm not picking on you. I'm just using your post as a starting point for a reply. . .

Quote:
Let's not forget that in the "good ole days" the fatality rate (fatalities per 1000 jumpers) was way higher than it is now, even with the low turn accidents considered.

Was it?? My understanding is that it's been pretty consistent over the years

See http://www.skydivenet.com/...alities_history.html

The bars are the fatality count, and the blue dots and line are the rate per 1000 skydivers. The actual fatality count stayed pretty constant, but the number of active skydivers increased by 3x over the last 20 years.


skypuppy  (D 347)

Mar 19, 2003, 4:39 PM
Post #12 of 37 (4060 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

What I miss about the old days has to do with me - I can't stay up till 3 or 4 at night drinking and expect to be in relatively good shape for jumping the next day...

Likewise I can't drive 7 or 9 hours overnight and be ready to hop in the plane and jump all day, only to drive back the next night.

And I definitely don't heal as fast - it seemed I'd be off only a few weeks no matter what I did to myself in the good ole days... Now a broken bones seems like a life sentence... And with the things I have to do at home or at work now - I just can't afford to have broken bones....

I think the 'good ole days' to me was all about attitude - I had nothing to lose and I could afford to live my life for jumping....

Now the 'good ole days' are just something to drink a few beers with my buddies and remember....

Skydiving seemed more of a statement back then then just another recreation...

I'm attaching a picture of my first jump class from the 'good ole days'....

Skypuppy


(This post was edited by skypuppy on Mar 19, 2003, 4:42 PM)
Attachments: RainbowG&B1stjump.jpg (17.4 KB)


steve1  (D 23640)

Mar 19, 2003, 8:17 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Great picture! I'm just wondering what year you started. You must have started way back, when men were men and the women were glad of it. Steve1


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 21, 2003, 1:40 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:


I'm attaching a picture of my first jump class from the 'good ole days'....

Skypuppy


Oh - I was expecting a Montgolfier balloon,


skypuppy  (D 347)

Mar 21, 2003, 7:27 PM
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Re: [kallend] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay - you caught me guys! I'm not quite that old... That was a mid-1920's shot of 5 US military jumpers going up (one in the rear cockpit) in a Jenny. From John Weekes book, 'Assault from the Sky'...

Attached is a more contemporary shot of me under a sierra in 1980 at around 25 jumps...
Attachments: sierra1.jpg (24.8 KB)


JumpCrazy  (B 5282)

Mar 23, 2003, 7:38 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow.
The thing I liked best about that landing picture was the DZ. Thats where I made my first jump, and where I continue to jump today (well I'm still a student).

GBSPC is still very much a small dz and I do wait all day to make just a few jumps out of a C182 but I love it just the same.


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
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Mar 25, 2003, 4:23 AM
Post #17 of 37 (3911 views)
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Re: [wmw999] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah. Every year an Alti or two of mine walk off. My stuff is scattered all over the DZ, and Justice, a friend and packer of my rig follows me about and keeps track of my stuff.

When I'm queried about my "poor security" my answer is always the same. I'm at home. I don't lock away everything in my home, even when strangers visit.

t


drewboo  (D 8106)

Sep 14, 2003, 6:15 AM
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

 I enjoyed yourpost very much...i started jumping in 1968 at a DZ called Stormville,NY. I miss All the good ol' days i spent there..jumping..camping..drinking..loving. The one thing you said about "rain..snow..sleet..blizzard...whatever..you knew that on the weekend...your friends would be there" very, very true...today on a day like that...your lucky if someone is even around. I miss those days very much and if i could do it all over again...i wouldn't have changed a thing..
I hope those days replay in my mind..as i breathe my last someday.


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Sep 15, 2003, 11:41 AM
Post #19 of 37 (3659 views)
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Awesome article, thanks for the post. I think it is still there in some places. I have been in the sport 3 or 4 years, with a few hundred jumps. Do you jump at your DZ for the plane or the people? I love small 182 dzs. 2 of the 3 dzs I jump at regularly, I leave my wallet, camera gear, etc laying around. But then again, where I jump Paracommanders still fly, and I have jumped them. Where I jump, you can still hear stories about the old days that make you laugh, and scare the crap out of you. I can trade stories with jumpers who knew McGowan before anyone had heard his name, jumpers who flew with Jerry Byrd, jumpers who used to convert a passenger Twin otter into a jump plane and back every weekend, jumpers who barely missed a SWA jet over Dallas, etc.

Jumping is all about the people, and if you miss the old days, you hanging out with the wrong crowd of people. I love nostalagia, and think that remembering is the best way to preserve our sport.


usedtajump  (D 6813)

Sep 15, 2003, 12:56 PM
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Re: [flyingferret] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
. I can trade stories with jumpers who knew McGowan before anyone had heard his name, jumpers who flew with Jerry Byrd, jumpers who used to convert a passenger Twin otter into a jump plane and back every weekend, jumpers who barely missed a SWA jet over Dallas, etc.

reply]

Wow, flyingferret, sounds like we might have jumped at the same DZ back then. Was there when McGowan was taking pictures with an instamatic in freefall and I was on that Southwest airlines load, I have the picture hanging in my office as I'm typing this. Good times!!!


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Sep 15, 2003, 2:01 PM
Post #21 of 37 (3638 views)
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Re: [usedtajump] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, these days I jump at Eagle Flight Skydiving, primarily, Aggieland and Dallas secondarily. At EF, I love the old time 'club with a plane' feel. I get to hang out with people like Kim Fuller, Doc Stewart, Ed Duncan, John Hale, Bill ?Oenke?, Bob Necessary, and even sometimes a guy named Ingo from Germany. I sm sure there are others I am not thinking of. But these guys have stories from the days of Seagoville, Gainesville, Ennis and 'Slavo Air'. I love to hear how jumping evolved in Texas.

We have a picture of the "SWA" load next to our winds aloft board. And I have been told that at the very least rumor has it that the CEO of SWA has the picture in his office. Smile


usedtajump  (D 6813)

Sep 15, 2003, 3:46 PM
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Re: [flyingferret] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

Damn, Bob Necessary & John Hale still jumping, that's great. I think Bob was a rigger for McElfish way back when. Is Ed Duncan the same Ed Duncan that flew jump planes at Seagoville in the 70s and 80s? If he is the same one, he was the pilot on my first jump. Tell 'em all hi for me.

As far as Herb Kelleher having a picture of the SWA jump, yes he does. He used to fly with the jet charter company that I worked for at the time and I slipped him a copy as he was getting on our Lear. The cheif pilot at SWA told me that Herb wanted to use it as the cover for their in flight magazine but the PR department discouraged itMad That picture was taken by an excellent freefall photographer named Bill Parsons.


airtwardo  (D License)

Sep 15, 2003, 7:31 PM
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Re: [lawrocket] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I've only jumped Elsinore, and maybe there are different places, but skydivers that I know are the nicest, most generous and tough-love people I've ever come across.

Quote:

You jump Elsinore....

That say it all my friend! Smile

I've jumped in nearly every state and several other countries...
Elsinore is STILL the most beautiful place i've ever jumped!

Hell...
I'm living in Texas and still think of Elsinore as home.


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Sep 15, 2003, 9:29 PM
Post #24 of 37 (3587 views)
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Re: [usedtajump] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

That is Ed. Flown with him once or twice...pretty amazing that he is still flying actually. Have not flown with him in a long while, but I assume he is. John still jumps regularly at Eagle Flight and Skydive Dallas and is as nice a guy as you will ever meet. Not sure who McElfish is, but Bob is still a master rigger for the USAF, and congrats to his son, Aron...he just went off to the USAFA, and will probably be on their first freefly team.

Those guys are great! Those are the kind of guys that fostered me into the sport as I got off the dope rope. I have jumped Kim Fuller's Mk1. PC, and listened to his stories of the JUMA jumpers. I would love those days, but the malfunction rate was pretty high. Kim says practical jokes were so bad, people would lock their rigs in the car between jumps Smile I think I have the best of both worlds, new gear with advancements, but still the ability to listen to the old stories and jump old gear with training.


oldfart

Jan 21, 2004, 1:55 PM
Post #25 of 37 (3429 views)
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Re: [smooth] The Good Ole Days [In reply to] Can't Post

  What I remember about the old days,late 70's early 80's were the memorable parties.Although I'm happy to see DZ's cater to a more family friendly atmosphere as my 2 kids have been with me in my more recent jumps,I'll always fondly remember the parties.


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