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steve1

Scary stories from the old days?

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At the same "very large well-known corporate drop zone in New Jersey" somewhat earlier, a jump ship of the same family had engine trouble at 2,500 feet with a load of static liners.
The jumpmaster immediately left the plane.
Another jumper on the plane -- on freefall, but not yet off instruction in the days when you got off instruction after three 15-second delays -- proceeded to put out the seven or so static liners before jumping himself. The plane landed safely.
He went on to be an instructor and is still a well-known jumper in Southern California.
The "jumpmaster" was never heard from again. His son, a jumper, showed up in Massachusetts a few years ago and proudly told me about his old man.
I didn't have the heart to tell him the story.

HW

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Here's one for the books...
I was flying jumpers for Bill Hassenfuss up at his Omro wisconsin DZ...he had a short grass strip, one runway with a set of powerlines on one end and a tree line on the other.
At the time he was running a Cessna 190, kind of a ragged one but it flew. The day was cold, runway really slushy and muddy but enough to allow the 190 to take off and land.
I had been dragged out of bed sunday morning to fly an early bird lift, it was probably about 9 am or so, did a preflight, gassed up and loaded up four jumpers, taxied out, did a runup and good to go.
This particular 190 was a bit quirky and had a nasty habit of a momentary engine hiccup
when you pulled up to clear the wires, the usual MO was get the tail up, pick up the gear off the ground, keep her level till you had enough airspeed to get over the wires and do a little pullup to clear them, go into a climb and continue.
I did all that, but when I went to pull up to clear the wires, the stick was fucking stuck solid, nothing I could do to free it, instant pucker factor and no time to think, I flew UNDER the powerlines and managed to get some up elevator with the trim wheel and
began a slow climb.
Eventually after battering the stick, it begrudgingly broke free and we went up and made the jump.
On the way up, the load of jumpers were wired and big eyed, asked the usual 20 questions since they had an inkling something caused the aircraft to go under the wires. We never did figure it out, unloaded the guys, went back to land, pulled up in the parking area, hopped out, walked back and there, packed around the elevator cables was a huge gob of mud.
What we figured was that the mud had splashed up while taxiing, perhaps even from the day before ( although i didn't notice it in the walk around before flight.) and what with the near freezing temps and the extra factor of the takeoff prop blast, it had frozen solid.....so.....froze the controls enough to cause the problem. There was so little time to react before the wires were a problem and we were lucky enough to clear under them.
Hasenfuss was mildly curious about the takeoff, but figured I was just being funny....(funny!!!! OH ya!!) and laughed about it, he was kinda loose now and then....
So there ya have it.....
Tuna-Zhills

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That reminds me of a story that happened a few years ago. Not really a jump story either, but it happened on the way to the drop zone.

I was on my way to Taft from L.A., and after getting off the freeway was driving down a road that runs between farmlands. Power lines run along the road. Ahead in the distance i could see a cropduster working the fields to my right, the side the power lines are on. He would buzz in over the lines, do his thing, turn around and dust the field again, pulling up over the lines at the last second.

I was driving an old 280Z with clear glass T-tops. As I approached where he was working, the timing was just right to where he was going to buzz me, so I came to a stop to get a good view. I sat there stopped on the road and watched as he approached from the right. He was right at ground level, and as he got closer and closer, my grin widened. Well, my eyes were the next thing that widened, because it became clear that the sumbitch wasn't gonna pull up!! I jammed it in first gear and stepped on it, getting out of his way just as he flew under the lines and right behind me.

It's not every day you almost get hit by an airplane in your car. And I still wonder whether he was laughing or cursing at me as he flew by.

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This is what I love about this thread...each story automatically reminds someone else of another one. It just keeps going...

I've even been reminded of a few stories myself - but I suppose I'll have to see if I'm still aroun 20 years from now for them to qualify for the 'from the old days' thread... [:D]

Interestingly enough, I can picture the road with power lines & farmlands you're talking about. If it's the one I'm thinking about (Corpus Rd), there's actually a dropzone, Skydive San Joaquin, set up there now, right in the middle of those pastures, just west of the 5...
Signatures are the new black.

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Having done some cropdusting myself, I can understand the guy's flying under the wires, Usually, you plan ahead so that your spray reaches the outermost plants on the rows since the field owner will bitch if you don't get complete coverage.
Quite often you can misjudge ever so slightly and get past the point of pullup/clear the wires so the easiest way is just go under them.
Sometimes, when the hopper is chock full of spray, the aircraft is heavy and can actually stall if you try and pull that weight upsharply to clear lines, so, under you go.
I have a suspicion though, if the guy was going over the wires when you saw him and came under when you were there, he was likely bored and wanted to scare the shit out of you, which it seems he did....spraying is booooring.....smelly and a lot of work on the stick.
Tuna

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Hi Star,
"Hassenfuss??" hmmmm?? Back in the early mid 80's there was a lot of shootin and stuff goin on in cent. america. I think somebody(s) shot dowm a C-130 and took a guy prisoner who bailed out. Hassenfus from Wisc.?? I was working with George "Andy" Andrews at Weber Aircraft in BirdBank on ACES II ejection seat program when it happened Andy was from Wisc and mentioned he was a local from that area?? I remember seeing Hassenfuss's mug on the news being led off into the jungle!! Same Guy or related??

"Southern Air Transport"
SCR-2034, SCS-680

III%,
Deli-out

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Aaaahh,
That would be Gene Hasenfuss, captured and sang like a bird about the CIA's involvment in SE asia....he was a heavy drop rigger for Air America, CIA's little private airline....
Some of the tales he told would turn you in flip flops....bales of money, heroin all manner of contraband, guns, explosives all delivered to Laos and south vietnam and the sandunistas guerrillas in Nicarauga.
Here's an excerpt from the net:
HASENFUSS, THE KICKER
Felix came back from his backyard of memories. He was at his office in Miami that October 5, in 1986. The telephone rang. On the line was a man in the communications center at Ilopango Airport in El Salvador. He reported that a C-123 aircraft was overdue, later the plane was listed as missing in action. (3) This was a transport that had been on a supply mission for the Nicaragua Democratic Front (FDN) an anti-Sandinista guerrilla group in the countryside of Nicaragua. The plane had been shot down by a SAM-7 missile. A four-man crew was on board: Bill Cooper, Buzz Sawyer, Eugene Hasenfuss and a Nicaraguan Contra soldier. His contact did not know what had happened to the crew, but Felix felt that his sixth sense was working right. Something was wrong with that flight. Eugene Hasenfuss, the "kicker" (cargo handler) of the crew, was the only person with a parachute, and he survived that historic trip. And Felix was in Miami, far from the battlefield.

The Sandinista Army searched the jungle for possible survivors from the plane. Two days after the crash, a 17-year-old soldier found Hasenfuss asleep in his hammock and took him prisoner. On Cooper's body, the troops found a notebook with the name and telephone number of Max Gomez. Hasenfuss told his Cuban interrogators everything they wanted to know. Yes, he had been a kicker working for the CIA during the Vietnam war. Yes, he was working for some Americans in El Salvador. Yes, he met the man who was the boss of the operation. Yes, he could identify him in a picture. Yes, that was the picture of his boss: Max Gomez. (4) No, he didn't know his real name. No, the name Felix Ismael Rodriguez didn't ring any bell.

In Havana, Minister of the Interior, General Jose Abrantes Fernandez, was very happy. His men in Nicaragua had scored a significant victory against the CIA. Hasenfuss had positively identified his boss. The jewel in the anti-guerrilla crown, the man of Langley had been identified: Felix Ismael Rodriguez. Pepe Abrantes called Fidel Castro and was told to see him as soon as possible. Fidel wanted to talk to Abrantes about the American mercenary and Rodriguez. The Cubans and the Sandinistas released Eugene Hasenfuss after a show trial. The Sandinista Military Tribunal found President Ronald Reagan, Director of Intelligence William J. Casey. (5)(6) and his man Felix I. Rodriguez guilty of waging an undeclared war against Nicaragua and in violation of the Boland Amendment. (7)

When Felix learned of Hasenfuss' capture, he prepared for the worst: the enemy inside. He did not fear Managua or Moscow, but he feared Washington. Every day in Nicaragua more men wanted to join the Contra Army, every day the Sandinista regime was weaker. But Washington was the most dangerous place to wage a war. Everywhere a journalist, roadblocks manned by congressmen and senators, each one of them powerful and vindictive. Every member of Congress an expert, and veteran of battles on the most bloody mountain in the world: Capitol Hill. Winning the battle of Washington was a prelude to winning abroad. The Capitol Hill battle came in the form of a select committee of the Senate and the House in the Iran-Contra Hearings.

His identification as Max Gomez, at the same time, was the end of Felix's anonymity. From now on, he would have to fight from a desk, by proxy in a hotel lobby or work without the protection of a false identity. His days were over as a field commander in his war against Havana. Felix Ramos Medina, Max Gomez, Atisor, Lucas, Gladiator, Francisco Suarez, Felix Alvarez, all were names in his file at the Cuban Direccion de Inteligencia (DI), those were files belonging to a glorious but distant past. In intelligence, yesterday is a distant past, a remote past. Whatever you did once, does not matter. The outcome cannot be repeated again. Felix remained in El Salvador, against the advice of many, after his identity was known.

Cuba identified Felix in 1961 when he was part of the Cuban Infiltration teams that entered into the island prior Bay of Pigs. He was born on May 31, 1941 in the city of Havana. He came to study high school in the U.S. when Castro was fighting president Fulgencio Batista.

After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Felix left Cuba via the Embassy of Venezuela where he had requested asylum. He joined the CIA and the U.S. Army. In 1967, he was part of the American group that was advising the Bolivians. After the capture of Che Guevara, he did many missions for the CIA. He served in Vietnam in a combat role, and in 1976 was retired from the CIA due to injuries to his back. He is married and has two children. This is a simplified biography. However, his records of the (DI) must be very thick.

When an agent is identified with a picture and name in the operations zone, his life is not worth a dime. Havana had been on his tail since Che Guevara's death. Felix's life as a secret agent had taken him to Vietnam, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Lebanon . Every time Havana knew his location, an assassination team was sent to kill him. His luck let him escape attempts against his life in Vietnam and El Salvador. He escaped by a miracle a plane hijack in Georgia on January 7, 1971. Havana was obsessed with killing him for the death of Che Guevara. Paradoxically, Castro had sent Che to his death, but wanted to settle an account with the man who had tried to keep Che alive after his capture.

Felix, upon hearing of the Hasenfuss capture, couldn't avoid a short period of introspection. He knew that his head would make a good trophy and conversation piece in Fidel's den. He could take precautions, but there was no way to avoid risks. He was not sure who would take care of his back. Washington was a big question mark. The enemies of the Reagan administration were trying by all means to get the President. The "old man" and his foxy CIA chief, Casey, were formidable opponents, and politicians knew that a fight with them could be fatal. But the people around the President were weaker and easy to shoot one by one. Felix was convinced that the Nicaraguan war could be won in the field but lost in Washington. He knew that he had a friend in Vice President George Bush and that the Bush staff would be supportive. Bush knew Washington inside out and not many people would dare to antagonize him. Here was a man of deceptive appearance: a man of steel wrapped in preppy clothes. But Bush was fighting for his political life also.

you can google the name and find more, a lot of the information is inconsistent but basically true.
Gene came back home after he was released and regaled us all with many tales of his adventures.
As far as I remember, he and Bill eventually moved up north and ran a bar/restaurant owned by their parents.
Tuna

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As far as I remember, he and Bill eventually moved up north and ran a bar/restaurant owned by their parents.
Tuna




Last I heard of ole Eugene was that he was whacking his willy in a shopping center parking lot....a couple women walked by , saw him, and called the cops.
If memory serves me right he got four years for indecent exposure or something like that.


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

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Hey Phil, is that the El Avion Restaurant in Costa Rica?




Yeah, that's the place; the bar is in the fusalage. Great recycle of an airship. If you stop in ask the waiter to show you the archived local news reports of the crash. And, like I said, the food is great...

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Well needless to say it was a slow day at work as I started reading the thread at 8AM and am just finishing now! Better than the last book I read.....really could not put it down!

BTW....the Mile High story caused a bit of alcohol abuse when I chocked and spit it out while reading.....that brought tears to my eyes!!!!

I hope that sometime before it's my turn in the "12 items or less lane" that I meet some of you around a Bonfire and swap some stories first hand...........
.......I hereby reject your reality and instead choose to insert my own!


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On my first trip down to Z-hills in '79 we had a crater party for a Canadian girl who'd gone in there within the last couple of years... She spun in on her back, no pull... This was the fatality that left H***** saying, "I may not have been her first, but I know for damn sure I was her last!!!"


Hmmmmm...this sounds like the same girl. My brother still has a pic of the crater she left...perfect box position.

Quote

I remember there was a ding in the eaves of the clubhouse that was pointed out to me - from two guys who ran into each other at a few hundred feet and spun down only to bounce off the roof...


Carl Daugherty was one of them and I can't remember the other guys name. You may know that Carl is still jumping...at Deland.

That dent was still there until the building's dying day.

I remember when I first showed up to jump. The dent got me a-wondering about just WTF was I fixin' to do.
:D:D
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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Well needless to say it was a slow day at work as I started reading the thread at 8AM and am just finishing now! Better than the last book I read.....really could not put it down!

BTW....the Mile High story caused a bit of alcohol abuse when I chocked and spit it out while reading.....that brought tears to my eyes!!!!

I hope that sometime before it's my turn in the "12 items or less lane" that I meet some of you around a Bonfire and swap some stories first hand...........




Lookin' forward to it! ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I remember Back in 79 in Pope Valley ,California. I was jumping a classifier harness with the Meyers Release system.My cloud canopy opened in a fast spin because one riser was cut away. i looked at my altitude and cut away at 2,500 feet. well it did not release the main...I looked at the cut away pillow in my hand and got a surge of adrenaline.As i reached for my hook knife with my right hand, I grabbed the remaining riser with my left hand and yanked on it, Suddenly the riser released and i pulled my reserve and was opened by 2000 feet.Those few seconds felt like an eternity. :)

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