Starting DZ

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My name is Todd Tarlton. I have owned and opereted Gateway Air Service, Inc. at MOP for about 20 years. Gateway Air has operated freight services with Beech-18's for many years. Currently we provide maintenance services up to Commander 840 and fly pipeline patrol.

Through the last ten years of this time I have observed a local skydiving outfit change ownership and struggle to keep alive. I know this because I rent their facility to them and have provided sole maintenance for all these years.

I have watched old ownership do upwards of a 1000 tandems in a years time. Recently I reaquired the facility and decided to start a DZ with my wife and daughter Amanda. (Amanda Aviation)

My experience in general aviation is deep. I have a reputable FBO nand maintain a good working relationship with the city of Mt. Pleasant. Having raised 4 kids and with 3 of them married off now I am finally at a point in life to try some fun stuff. This DZ is part of that.

I am looking for a tandem instructor that will work with my daughter to build a business. I offer a beautiful 182H,a GREAT facility, above standard pay and possible partenership considered. I will advertise and promote the heck out of this venture. The area can easily support a focused skydiving business.

If I can offer more thoughts to a qualified individual, please call Gateway Air, Todd Tarllton 989-775-3515


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i wish you the best for your new venture.

the last part of your post says " The area can easily support a focused skydiving business":|

yet earlier you claim to have witnessed , for the past ten years,, a "local skydiving outfit, change ownership and struggle to keep alive"[:/]

.... even WHILE doing a thousand tandems...
so... which is it???:o

Will gateway Air Services be charging Rent to Amanda Aviation??? or No??? that'll make a difference,, and of course having some planes certainly will help...:)
a 182 is a fine aircraft and has been acknowlegded as the "work horse of the sport." However a bigger plane might draw the experienced crowd, which can then be cultivated for Staff....

Your post gives ME no idea of where you're located, since i don't understand what M O P stands for, and while there are Mount Pleasants in probably 20 different states,, You never mentioned , in which one,,,??? yours is located >>:):)
keep us posted...

A 3914
D 12122

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Hey Todd-- If you find a staff you can send them down to me when it gets cold up there!

I, too, am starting a 182 DZ-- in Port Aransas TX. (WAY down south!) All jumps are on the beach! It can get cloudy and windy here in winter, but it seldom gets below 50 deg!

Jason Towns

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Are you a skydiver? What is your experience level in the sport? This isn't going to be another Skyride Scam operation is it?

Am I interpreting correctly that Central Michigan Skydivers is still operating at the airport but that you took over their facility and are opening another DZ at the airport?

Good luck, but trust me, operating a skydive operation as a business isn't quite as easy as you might think... :o

"shropshire" is absolutely correct about the "If you want to make a little money in skydiving, start with a lot of money".


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On a positive note, yes cms is still operating.

And, yes there will be an additional skydiving business on the field. Hopefully, sooner than later.

"took over".....not hardly.......I built the building 6 years ago, put 100K of my own money into it and simply want it back to use for myself....it IS My facility and the growth of my own FBO dictates I need additional space. CMS had it very good for many years. I originally built the facility to house an operation that was doing some 800/1000 jumps per year. The three aircraft they had involved bought a LOT of maintenance from me. Numbers are way down now and the indirect value of offering cheap rent is no longer there. Just sayin.

My experience is 22 yeras of operating equipment in GA, 135 freight, pipe patrol and flight schools.......I am quite aware of the task ahead. There are many folks that try things in aviation that only last 2 to 3 years.....then there are the rest of us.

I do NOT need to make any part of my living from the dz and will reinvest every dollar back into it. I simply want to build a dz that is both fun and stable long into the future.

I will eventually complete my vision. Color will fill the sky, folks will smile and competion in the area will serve the customers well.

At this point in my life, I simply want to have fun!!

There are few FBOs that live and continue to grow for over 20 years straight. Why you would use the word "scam" is a bit concerning.

"scam" would be the folks living off of their engine reserves and neglecting 100hr inspections on the aircraft.......and yes, that does bring some folks to mind.
Safety, safety, safety....fun,fun,fun,.........thanks for the "good luck"
Make it a GREAT DAY!!!!!


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Hey Todd,
I agree with Jimmy, excellent post and great attitude! I think you will do well, heck if I was not about to start my own "adventure" I would be calling you.

I grew up on a DZ from the 60's to the 80's. I remember when I got back into the sport about 10 years ago after being out for even longer. The first thing I did was go and visit 3 of the larger operations and visited 2 of the largest boogies in the country. I wanted to see how the DZ managed to pull off 100+ tandems in one day (obviously with large AC, many rigs and staff) but the organizational side of it. Same with visiting the large boogies. I came back and started The SkyFest Boogie which has been considered by some to be one of the largest events for about 10 years now. It was a great experience and glad I did it.

With your posts I think folks would be lucky to have you as a DZO. I would also like to personally thank you for supporting the previous operations on your property and glad to see that you want to give it a go. We need more DZ's anywhere we can get them. Even if they are close to another, they should support each other for the growth of the sport as a whole.
I wish your family and your new jump family the BEST of luck and success!


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.......I will definitely keep that in mind....these tandem guys are GOLD!....and just as hard to find.

Good Luck to you Jason.


Bumbling amateur tandem instructors are a dime a dozen, but professionals are hard to find.
Please explain that to my last boss.

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