On December 18th a DC-9 jet landed at Perris Valley Airport in Southern California marking the latest addition to the largest fleet of skydiving aircraft on the West coast. The DC-9 is an ideal jet for skydiving because the rear steps can be removed making for a clean exit out of the rear of the plane while in flight.
Owner Ben Conatser said it will take several months to get all of the FAA paperwork processed but you can look for the plane to be flying during special events here at Perris Valley Skydiving and on the boogie circuit later this year.
Ben's son and co-owner, Pat Conatser, said that he had been keeping an eye on DC-9s for sometime, waiting for the right deal to come along. He said they are quite fortunate with the plane they found because it is in such good shape both mechanically and cosmetically. "Really the bulk of the work needed to get this bird ready to fly jumpers is administrative."
In addition to flying sport parachutists, Perris Valley Aviation plans on using the DC-9 for movie work as well as military training.