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steve1

Jumping at Casa Grande

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In the old days everyone wanted to go to Casa Grande or Elsinore to jump. I had a lot of friends who headed to Casa Grande. I'm just wondering what happened to that jump center. Today Eloy is the hot spot, but I was just wondering if anyone remembers the history of what happened to Casa Grande. Steve1

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Howard,
I also remember stories of a lot of people who died there. We had one member of our club who was a former Vietnam helicopter pilot. Without saying he had a different attitude about life. He was part of a group in Casa Grande who drove around in a hearse. They jokingly talked about skydiving as "Sport Death". I know this sounds crazy, but he was actually a good jumper and a cool guy. He was once credited with helping out a girl in our club who had a line over malfunction. Supposedly he landed on top of her canopy (a thunderbow) and walked off the top with the line. Thus fixing her malfunction. This may be BS, but that is how the story was told to me. B. J. Worth and Gary Sanders were other members of our club who moved to Casa Grande. They later started the team Mirror Image. Steve1

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"They jokingly talked about skydiving as "Sport Death"."

Often "translated" to "sporta morta.":S

I think some of the early Carl Boenish films had footage of CG, including the large pile of jumpers on top of the Twin Beech. I've got lots of early reference materials, if you're ghoulish enough to want them.

HW

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I know this is really late in the game, but I just discovered this site. (Love it!)

I started jumping at the Gulch in Nov 1974. It was an amazing place for a wet-behind-the-ears AFROTC student from the Univ of AZ who wanted to learn to skydive. Bob Iverson was my instructor; the place was run by Mike Larson and Bob Shafer. I was hooked early and got into RW with some of the premier folks of the era. BJ Worth showed up (and signed my ACE patch jump); Jerry Bird and the Wings of Orange were there during the winter months.

Yes, the legends of the "claw" are true. It was kept by Terry Cooper, who was a real character, as were most of the denizens of the DZ. Hod Sanders, Rich Feigle, Bob Taylor, Rande Deluca, Ded Dugan, Ron Luginbill and many more were some of the better-known folks around. Randy Kempf (or Randy Roach, as he was known) was the main pilot of the Twin Beech and the Lodestar (known as the LodeStall after stalling it on jumprun at 10,500, spewing jumpers during the stall recovery in about 1975.)

The place closed down in 1976 or so, after investigations from the city of Casa Grande and the FAA, from what I understand. There were at least 11 fatalities in the less than two years I jumped there. Most of us moved to Coolidge (run by Steve ?), and then Skydive Marana opened a couple of years later, with Tony Frost and Greg Behrens running the place. Mike Larson went on to fly for Northwest, I thnk, and I'd heard that Shafer was killed flying helicopters in South America. (Can't verify that, but I'll check the site and see if anyone else knows.)

The "Sport Death" thing was true, too. You always said it and raised your fist with the thumb tucked inside it, because one of the guys (can't remember his name but he ran a little greasy food shack occasionally) had lost his thumb, and couldn't do a "thumbs up" sign.

I jumped with Scotty Carbone once, and got into an low pull contest with him. He won, with me opening at around 500. He told me, "Don't ever try to beat me in a low pull contest. You'll never win." I didn't beat him, but I think I scared him. ;) He was right...at best, you can only tie.

Jimmy Juicer
Jimmy Juicer
SCR 4181, SCS 1978, NSCR 791, ACE 63

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I remember Tom Phillips. He was working as a rigger at the Air Force Academy at the time he went in at Casa Grande. I think a bunch of us had gone down for Thanksgiving weekend. I just ran across a couple pictures of him 2 days ago (don't know where I put them though).

_________________________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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I didn't know Tom but knew about his going in. I remember the fatality report in Parachutist, he had shoulder dislocation problems and it was theorized that both of his shoulders dislocated in freefall.

The only reason his name was familiar is that I had just suffered my first right shoulder dislocation - downwind accuracy on a PC. I went on to two more dislocations- including one in freefall - over the next year. Got the shoulder operated on and the next year, the other came out coming out of a track. Had it fixed and no problems since.

Incident/fatality reports do teach lessons if people are willing to learn from them.
"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"...Rudyard Kipling

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> everyone wanted to go to Casa Grande

In 1975 I was living in Los Angeles and driving
every weekend to Casa Grande because I thought
that was the best, most inspiring skydiving in the world.

It was the jumps, the people, the vibes.

It was also a 1,000 mile round trip, so the week got
really shortened, like down to about Wednesday,
because you had to start getting ready on Thursday
so you could drive over on Friday, and after the
first weekend I gave up trying to leave early on
Sunday, so I would pull in to LA at about 6:00 on
Monday morning, and it would take till Tuesday
to start recovering, and then you had to do your
whole week on Wednesday because tomorrow
is Thursday and it's time to start getting ready
for the weekend.

It was wonderful!

Skr

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I think the guy your talking about without the thumb was David Cartright. He went in on a demo at ASU or some college around their. The interesting part about that was it was filmed by a guy with a motorized camera and it made the center foid of the National Enquirer frame by frame.

I thought sport death was everywhere in 1972.

and wasn't Phillips one of the first guys to jump a Hog with Bird's All-Stars.

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Longtall - I belive you're thinking of Doug Iverson.



Doug Iverdeath (Iverson) lived in the back room of the Coolige wreckhall when I fisrt met him. He had a horrible broken leg.
Yeah he was a wildman


bozo
Pain is fleeting. Glory lasts forever. Chicks dig scars.

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"I'd heard that Shafer was killed flying helicopters in South America. (Can't verify that, but I'll check the site and see if anyone else knows.)"

What I heard from an impeccably reliable source was that Bob Shafer's Lodestar was (allegedly) low and slow in heavy rain somewhere in Louisiana, with Simon Fraser kicking out packages of exotic imports, when the aircraft hit high tension lines. Simon's body was recovered from a shallow grave near the crash site. Don't know about Shafer but apprently the Law descended on his house soon thereafter looking for him. That would have been in '82 or '83.
Hoop

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Anyone remember Tom Phillips?
He bounced in 72-73.



He bounced in November of '74. The Univ of AZ Parachute Team was at Collegiate Nationals in Deland around then, and we heard the story from some of the AF Academy guys we were jumping with.
Jimmy Juicer
SCR 4181, SCS 1978, NSCR 791, ACE 63

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I think the guy your talking about without the thumb was David Cartright. He went in on a demo at ASU or some college around their. The interesting part about that was it was filmed by a guy with a motorized camera and it made the center foid of the National Enquirer frame by frame.

I thought sport death was everywhere in 1972.

and wasn't Phillips one of the first guys to jump a Hog with Bird's All-Stars.



No, Dave Cartwright was killed doing a demo for a health club opening in NW Phoenix. He was jumping a borrowed Paraplane which he'd jumped one week before for first time. It streamered, he cut away, and his reserve's pilot chute caught on a smoke grendade duct taped to his foot. He got it loose, but it tied itself in a knot. The Phoenix paper had a three-picture series showing him going in, the last pic with a palm tree in the background. Gruesome.

And he had both his thumbs. I'm wondering if the thumbless dude was one of the Taylor brothers (Bob, Jeff and maybe Tommy?)
Jimmy Juicer
SCR 4181, SCS 1978, NSCR 791, ACE 63

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I think you mean the Willsey Brothers ... Tommy, Jerry and John Boy, aka The Whiskey Brothers.
I think it was Tommy who had a toe transplanted to replace a thumb. I remember seeing photos of the operation around Ghoulidge after the Gulch was shut down.
Somewhere, I've got a copy of the Enquirer photos of Cartwright going in. The last photo is a cloud of dust at impact, not far from the palm tree in the next to last shot.
Zing Lurks

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