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Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland

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What a shock!!! I can't believe it...

Don will be truly missed in the skydiving community. He was an outstanding AFF course director and one of the "good guys". I met Don in 96 at my AFF certification course. He had very high standards and at the same time was fair. In the evenings when the jumping stopped we'd have a few beers and Don would tell us all the things to watch out for with real life students. It was fun seeing Don throughout the years and telling stories over beer.

Bluest of Skies Don...

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I was completely taken by surprise when I got the phone call early in the morning. We got our AFF I/E ratings in the same course in '82. He was younger than me. We first met in 1970 at Ft. Bragg, the memories are so numerous. He was and will always be a SF Warrior. He is now with all those who have passed on and who helped to keep us free! AIRBORNE!!

Al Gramando

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Unfortunately, I had the responsibilty of relaying the sad news to the "old timers" (2 are younger than me) at the DZ that Don had passed away. All three's response led me to believe he must have been something special as they were all deeply effected. When I found out he was also an ex SFer I too was saddened, even though I never had the privilege to meet the man.

Blue skies Don ... and de opresso liber!

steveOrino

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We are slowing starting to lose our forefathers, the men and women who created skydiving through their courage and talent. In the next 5 to 10 years most of them will be gone. And with them will go an unbelievable amount of knowledge, experience and wisdom the likes of which will never again be seen in skydiving. They are an irreplaceable treasure.

The younger jumpers need to take the time to sit and talk with these history books and find out how skydiving came to be.

Condolences to Don’s family and friends.

Sparky



I could not have said it any better Michael.

Great Post!

In the next ten years most of the old school will be gone.


I had the pleasure to meet Don at the National Para-ski championships in Utah back in '87 He was there as USPA rep, maybe a judge. I was just a kid and I remember hanging out with Yahrling, Ottley, Bagley, Johnston, and all these other USPA big shots.

I was living in Park City just a few miles from Park west where the meet was being held and Don Had a hotel just a few blocks from my condo.

I was Don's designated driver which meant I drank just as much but I was REAL CAREFULL when I drove him back to PC in the dead of winter. AND, I made sure he came back the next day.

I will never forget he asked me why I was in the sport and what I EXPECTED back. I said I didn't really expect anything, I am just having fun.

He told me you will only get back what you put into it.

He wasn't the first person to tell me that. I can think of several other pioneers from his era that said the exact same thing.

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Wow. Blue ones, Don [:/]

I took his AFFI course a few weeks ago in Denver. Unfortunately, I didn't do the evaluation jumps yet. I caught a bad cold in Houston the week before, and I elected to wait until my congestion cleared up before jumping. I was in touch with him so we could schedule evaluation jumps in Florida after I returned from Fiji. I guess we won't be able to do those jumps together :(

Don was a good guy. He had a definite sense of right and wrong. He was tough, but a fair evaluator. He listened well and gave good feedback. A lot of jumpers in the States didn't know a lot about him and AFFI because he spent time overseas and especailly Japan teaching AFF instructors there.

He was planning on buying a house in Colorado and spending some time out here. It's too bad we won't be seeing him around here.

Blue skies.
Trapped on the surface of a sphere. XKCD

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Our sport has lost a Helluva walking database, as well as one of the 'good people'. He knew so much, and shared it willingly. And, as a friend, he was a consistent one..... can't often say that....

When we spoke in October, he was planning to sell the shop, and retire... Dude....this is serious retirement!!!

Heaven will be a bit different, from now on.....

U.S. Team Fund time...again.....

Thanks for the good times, and great friendship, Don!
Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless beauty...

And, give money for Mr Douglas! www.mrdouglas.org

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Thanks for all the input over the years Don. You will be missed!! Thanks for running the AFF cert course in 89 in Coolidge that gave me and woodie our ratings. I remember swooping on you on the last eval dive and your eyes big as dinner plates as I got closer, now that was a moment!!


BSBD Don.

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Don was one of the best AFF certification course directors and his service in the cause of student safety needs to be noted. Hey USPA, this year's Achievement Award right over here, please . . .

People often said Don and I looked alike and both of us have been mistaken for the other. When we first met many years ago, we stood staring at each other, and we both said the same thing at the time, "I don’t see it!"

Sweet dreams, Don . . .

NickD
BASE 194




Yeah but he was taller, least that's how I always told you two apart!

Mick.

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I am shocked to to hear the news. He had been complaining of some chest pain but was getting checked out. I spent much time listening to his views and always found it an interesting conversation. I will always be thankful for his adept tutilage.

Blue Skies Don

"You did what?!?!"

MUFF #3722, TDSM #72, Orfun #26, Nachos Rodriguez

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There's not a lot else I can add to what's been said here. I had the honor of working with Don as a candidate for the AFF rating in 1992 at Perris, the DZ Manager of Skydive City Z-Hills as a hosting DZ for his course there, and in turn he mentored me and helped me to become an AFF evaluator, which helped me to pass on the skills he taught me to other instructors.

I will always remember that when evaluating on a course, when the candidates would be worried about their performance, I would be worried about mine, because at the end of the day, Don would review all the video, and go over how we flew and how we scored. God help us if we went easy on a candidate, or went too far the other way and used advanced skills to fool them. He was ruthlessly even handed and fair to both the candidates and the evaluators.

It's testament to his teaching that even though it's been years, I still think about how he would grade my performance as an instructor or evaluator on each and every AFF that I do.

What he gave to this sport is immeasurable, and will survive him by many years.

Thanks Don, for all the help.

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I feel honored to have gotten my AFF rating from him just a month ago. I can't believe that incredible man is gone. Man that guy could tell a story.

It was hard to get a word in when having a discussion with him. So here's a moment of silence for you Don.

Blue Skies brother.
David

"Socrates wasn't killed because he had the answer.......he was killed because he asked the question."

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Been checking the boards here off and on for a number of years, but now it's time to post.......

Right now I'm working on a movie in Canada, and my sister called me with the news......

I'm not going to claim to have been the best of friends or anything of the sort....in fact the last time I was in touch with Don was probably ten years ago. Not to misconstrue...we were always on the best of terms. In fact he was one of the biggest influences I had during my 10 years as a skydiver.

Funny story how we met...and I thought I'd relate that as a tribute. Those of you who truly knew Don Yahrling will surely recognize him in what follows......

It was the fall of 1982, and I was an enthsiastic (and broke) 16-year-old looking to make my second static-line jump. While Deland was physically closer to where I lived, they had by that time an AFF-only training program. The closest place that did static-line was the Palatka Para-Center at the beautiful Kay Larkin Airport. So off I go with crumpled logbook in hand...driven there by my mother, of all people. At the time, PPC pretty much consisted of the old bunker, and a couple of trailers...just up the road from the loft where Don made "Ozone" jumpsuits. (anyone remember those??).

Anyhow I walk into the "office" trailer, and Don happened to be the guy at the desk. He was making entries into a logbook or something. Looks up and there I am...a nerdy greasy-haired 16-year-old with a mouthful of braces.

Unimpressed, he says "How can I help you?"...then goes back to his entries.

I say "I called earlier, I'm looking to do my second static-line jump," And I place my pathetic excuse for a logbook onto the desk in front of him.

Taking no notice of the logbook, and without even looking up he says, "Okay what do you do for a Mae West?"

I spit out the drill I had been taught earlier....which, as I recall, was something to the effect of pulling the reserve ripcord with one hand while holding the reserve container closed with the other...then inching the pilot chute out by hand without allowing it to spring out...then with two hands, pulling the folded reserve out, and throwing it down and outward into the direction of the spin.

Don drops his pen and stares at me for a moment, jaw slightly agape. "Where the hell did you learn THAT??" he asks.....

"Skydive East in Pittstown New Jersey" I say....

Shaking his head in apparent disbelief he says sharply, "Well we don't DO it like that here....let me get one of our instructors and show you how you're SUPPOSED to do it."

.........and that was my introduction to Donald Kent Yahrling.

We laughed about that for years. In fact, I'd venture to say I'm probably one of the few people on this planet who's seen Don laugh so hysterically that he was crying. That was a bizarre scene around the bonfire one night in Palatka when Sam Conte was belting/screaming out the song "Locomotion" in falsetto while slinging a hula-hoop around his neck.....all I can say about that is that ya just had to be there. And Don was simply beside himself. From that point on, all anyone ever had to do to get a good chuckle out of Don would be to hum the "Locomotion" melody...

Tons more stories....though I'm not gonna bore you folks with those. But I will add that I got a "kick" out of Henry Trammel's recollection. I actually remember that....

And so, without sounding overly sappy, I'll close by saying to Don.....

Ev'rybody's do-in' a brand new dance now.......and it is truly an honor to have shared the sky with you.


Erik C. Emerson
D-10301

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This is just so sad. We would always chat and catch up on his crazy travels. He was just telling me how he was excited to move to Colorado. Aparently, he already had the winter clothes to wear there or the North Pole.

My heart sinks that Uncle Don is gone. [:/]:(:(
Tunnel Pink Mafia Delegate
www.TunnelPinkMafia.com

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damn! I'm saddened to hear this news.
I only met Don once. It was during my aff at skydive Daytona. My friend mark and I were VERY NEW to the sport and we were on a weather hold sitting on the deck just chilling wishing we could jump. We had seen Don at the airport throughout the day and we could tell he was someone important but didnt understand why...til he talked to us.

he was very interested in hearing OUR stories and asked a few question about how we felt about skydiving in general and he spent about 25 minutes just chatting with us about things ranging from skydiving to military (we were both newbies in the A.F.) and I bet if you ask mark he will say the same thing....

When Don walked away to talk to the next person I felt like I had just been filled with a wealth of information. later that day He gave us geare checks and he jumped with my friend who was on his 3 maybe fourth level of AFF.

I kow some may have seen him as crotchety, as I read above, but We need more people like him around. KNOWLEDGEABLE, interested, interestING and from what I remember reading about the WFFC a man who WILL get things done!

Blues Skies Don. thanks for taking the time to talk to us;)
My photos

My Videos

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This is what we know so far...From the USPA website.
"Donald K. Yahrling, D-4077, passed away November 23, 2005, of natural causes in his rigging loft on the DeLand airport in Florida. Known for his work as a parachute rigger, jump pilot and AFF course director, Yahrling served ten terms on USPA’s Board and was president during his last term in 2001-2002. Few provided more attention to USPA’s safety & training programs than Yahrling, and he traveled extensively teaching skydiving courses at more than 125 drop zones worldwide. No funeral service announcement has been made yet. "...

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Don gave me my Master rigger certificate tests and I knew him from a short period of time.I did jump with him also and I will always remember him as a very respectful human,skydiver and friend.

Very sad to hear about his death.Best vibes Don and I will drink a single malt scotch to you...You will be missed

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Don's memorial will take place on January 7, 2006 at 4:00 PM, at Skydive DeLand. All are welcome.

taken from the Uncledon website
Pete Draper,

Just because my life plan is written on the back of a Hooter's Napkin, it's still a life plan.... right?

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