Scary stories from the old days?

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I will call this a dumb guy story, but we got away with it. Norman, OK..... John Hager Anderson, Steve Howe, and Dave Stephens needed a jump real bad since the weather had not been good for a while. We got Rick Powell to rent a 182 and take us up, even though the winds were every bit of 25 mph !!!
We were jumping paracommanders !!! We were not at the DZ, we were using a large field on the south side of Norman ( we had a NOTAM, yes ). We eyeballed the spot I think about a mile upwind of the field and out we went. Pulled lower than 2500 feet and all of us got open okay ( a round reserve ride would have been quite horrible due to houses, lines, poles.. etc ). So we flew downwind for about a mile going 35 or 40 mph, it was kind of fun. About 60 feet up, as I recall, we did a really hard 180 into the wind and did a super soft landing on those PC's ( we opened up a capewell about 15 feet up and cutaway that side immediately upon landing.
We planned this all out and it worked perfectly, hey we were good !!! The main risk was if someone had a malfunction and had to use the round reserve. Could have been dragged and / or landed badly and critically injured ! [:/] Still here !

Would I even consider such a jump now ?
You gotta be kidding me !!!!

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I thought I invented a hook turn into the wind, on a P.C.....but yet this is still another story, that proves lot's of others did the same thing...Back in the day. I'd do about anything to avoid a rear PLF. It was no fun to land feet, rear, head, on a windy day. I know you're supposed to twist to your side, but it never seemed to work out that way.

If you timed this hook turn, just right, into the wind,you could swing into the wind, and land really soft, under a P.C. There was a lot of oscillation with a long lined P.C. I had a mark1.

I hooked it in a little too late on one wind jump. I sure landed hard....but that still was better than a rear PLF. Those french jump boots saved me from injury, on that jump, and a lot of others.

I still own a couple pair of Frenchies. Last time I wore them was on a P.C. jump, a few years ago. I even stood it up. Not bad, for an old fat boy![:/] I couldn't have done that, without those boots, to take up the shock....

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Back in 1969 when I started jumping at Greene, N.Y., there was a skydiver named Don "Sea Pig" Fellner who regularly went to the DZ via his motorcycle. He had a Security piggy-back with the blast handle reserve. I remember worrying about an accidental deployment, and I think Pig told me that he used temporary pins (with red flags) in the two-pin main as a precaution.
SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353

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I've never been in a parachute factory; I'd like to go some time.
Did you know that a 28-foot canopy has 800 square feet of nylon,
2400 yards of nylon thread, and half a million stitches? (I didn't
either until I cribbed it from Russ Gunby.) And did you know that
these canopies get the same rigorous shakedown inspection as NASA
Moon gear? If yes, then you know, or should know, that in spite of
hell and high water, a maverick parachute gets loose, once in a
coon's age, from inspectors. It breaks some ankles, legs, and necks
and gives sport parachuting a black eye until it's straightened out.
They generally attribute these accidents to pilot error.

We had one such maverick here at Kelly Field. But we also had a
D-card Dapper Dan who knew what to do about it.
It was Saturday morning, an hour or two before static
line classes. I was out on the parking lot picking up the stuff
whuffos throw around when this young jasper in a new pink Caddy comes forty miles an hour too fast and skids to where I'm bending. He touched a button; his window came down as I stood up.

"Excuse me, Can you tell me who to see about a quick trip
upstairs? I'm in a hurry." It figured; he had California plates.
"I've got a ram-air jobbie in the trunk, She almost scragged a buddy
of mine, and she put three or four more guys I know in traction in
Florida and Maryland. She showed her butt real good at other jump
meets across the country. I'm going to give her one more chance to
redeem herself. That's more than she ever gave anybody else. If she
buckos this time, I'm going to burn, bury, or give her away."

A good name for that flying mattress I thought, would be Scarlett
O'Hara. I said so. Funny thing, but that name stuck like glue.

This guy showed me his credentials: log books, D card with
photograph (yes, the licenses used to have photos on them) everything
I needed to know. "I'm part-time pilot here. Get your rig on, sign
in, and we'll go." Meantime I walked away, explaining the situation to
jumpmasters Bill Dazey and Mike Donahoe, asking them to come along too. I wasn't about to stick my neck out. You can't tell about California
people nowadays.

I took this jasper to 8,000 feet. He inched to the door, glanced down
once or twice, and nodded to Dazey.
Dazey slapped me on the shoulder, I cut the engine, and he was gone.

We saw his canopy malfunction like he thought it would. We saw
him go down on his reserve with garbage between his legs. He left
that blob of red nylon right where she had spilled. We never did see him
again. We did hear his tires squeal form a block away down the highway.

We stowed Scarlett and took her back to the manifest shed. There
was a red ghost in that damn pack. Something about her bugged us;
something about him bugged us, too. Nobody on this airport would touch
Scarlett with a ten-foot pole.

Nobody, that is, except Bill Crago. A self-confident,
swashbuckling little guy with handlebar mustache and outrageous
muttonchop whiskers, Bill drops by now and then between jump meets to
entertain us with stories and new jump techniques. (Most of them, you
can be sure, were Bill's own innovations.) Utterly devoid of nerves,
brash and bold when the occasion demanded. I've seen him spank the
sass, out of streamers, partial inversions and Mae West a dozen times.
I've seen him come down in a jungle of steel packing spikes just to
sit by some girl who'd caught his fancy.

I've also heard him catch hell from boss man Bob Branch.
Sometimes I don't think that Bill gives a damn or could care less.
Bill excels in style, accuracy and relative work too. He doesn't mess
with log books anymore. He does it or did it and everybody knows it.

More to the point, though, Bill has more big stuff going for him:
He understands the female psyche; he likes the ladies, and all of the
ladies (no exceptions) like Bill. When we told him about Scarlett
O'Hara he stood still for the first time in his parachuting career and
listened. This Scarlett business went straight to his guts.

You guessed it. Next morning, Sunday, there was Bill with
Scarlett strapped to his back. She looked good in red snuggled against
his white jumpsuit. They both looked good against the backdrop of
Indiana green hills and blue sky. The Cessna circled. We heard the cut.
Bill was gone like a flyspeck. They came down, he and Scarlett,
straight and fast for 30 seconds. Bill pulled but Scarlett had other plans.
She floated away into the woods; Bill had cut her away.

Some of the boys brought Scarlett back and Bill started all over
again. This time he went to his car, brought back scissors, needle
and thread, and a satchel of other stuff, he spent two hours doing
things to primary and secondary rings. From risers to topskin,
he combed every inch of that malice airfoil. He made some changes
in line stows, lower control lines, and toggle keepers.
The stop ring on the deployment bag didn't suit him; he changed that too.

Bill and Scarlett went upstairs again. This time she scratched,
balked, and showed her teeth; but to no avail. Bill and Scarlett flew
together all summer long without a bit of trouble. "You gotta know
women," Bill said, "if you wanta get anywhere."

One of my favorite jump stories written by the father of one of our jumpers.
Jinx-Pak by Joe Winnefeld Parachutist November 1974

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I remember lot's of pre-jump briefings in the army, where a sargent in charge would say in a booming voice, (with delight in his eyes)...."And if you are hung up behind the plane, and are able to, put one or both hands on your helmet. Then we'll cut your ass away."

"If you are unconscious or hurt bad, we'll foam down the runway, and land with you dragging behind the aircraft!"[:/]

Do they still give that speech in the Army?

Little did I know, a little helicopter could zoom in and save your ass.;)

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Oh hell, that story scared me.[:/] Tell us, another one...

Here's something I put in another thread asking the question:
'What made you want to start skydiving'?

Yeah, I know...It's not scary, but what the Hell, it IS a story! ;)


'Always wanted to do it' would be an understatement in my case, I think it was hard-wired in.

I too had those extremely vivid dreams as a young child of spreading my arms and flying, not once in a while dreams but all time!

I too waited with eager anticipation for the next episode of Ripcord, there is a clicky link on my sig line to the theme, every time I hear that music my heart jumps and I'm a kid again.

My dad use to take me in his Piper Cub to local air shows, fly in breakfasts and the like, that started when I was about 5. He would walk around talking airplanes and I would just wait for the skydivers to jump, it was the only reason I went along and would be a disappointed lil' brat if there wasn't a demo going on. I loved watching the jumpers, meeting them, helping with their gear. Dad took a picture of me once with a skydiver who put his rig & helmet on me for the photo-op...had it on the wall in my room, it's still there!

Dad & I were flying a kite in the backyard once and he made a mini-parachute with a handkerchief, it had a fish hook on the weight and we'd let the wind take the parachute up the kite string ever higher each time...snapping the string would knock the hook free and down it would come. We made a game of trying to land the little 'chute on a target. Seems in retrospect the ole man taught me how to spot years before I ever jumped!

My father use to love telling the story of how once when I was 8, he was in his lazy-boy reading the Sunday paper when suddenly it hit him...I'd come in the house 1/2 a dozen times but he'd never seen me go OUT. As he got up to investigate, I went floating past the big bay window behind him. I'd made a parachute with my bed sheet and mom's clothesline and was B.A.S.E. jumping off the balcony...

I remember being 'talked' to about the danger of putting myself in harms way...then getting 'YELLED' at for cutting up the clothesline, cost me a months allowance. It was yet another early lesson on the sport, I was just getting the idea of how expensive Skydiving can be. Pops recommended I wait until I was old enough to jump and got me everything in print he could find about parachute jumping.

I about drove the poor guy nuts until he went with me to see the movie Gypsy Moths when it came out.

Fast forward to summer 1976, it's Friday nite and I'm 18 out cruisin' the small midwest town main street in my GTO with a blue eyed blond riding shotgun. The only stoplight in town turns green and I drop the hammer as does the brand new Trans-am sitting next to me.

I cross the painted stripe in the road 1320 feet later well ahead of the other Pontiac and swing into the pizza joint parking lot to claim my victory. The guy in the T.A. pulls in next to me and we start talking racing, I go to sit in his fancy new car and froze...there on the front seat is a belly-wart reserve!

Fuck engine mods, talk to me about SKYDIVING!!!

The next morning I'm sitting on a picnic table in the middle of a corn field taking my first jump course at a little outlaw DZ an hour from home...
My instructor ~ the guy who put his rig on me 10 years earlier and who'd been staring at me from the picture frame on my bedroom wall ever since!

I was a great student, heck I'd read everything there was to read on the sport. I was eager, athletic and open minded...didn't think twice about holding the pilots beer during take-off, sitting next to the open door with no seat-belt was nothing to a pioneer B.A.S.E jumper! I was 'in my element' and there was no looking back.

I really don't believe in destiny or the alignment of planets, I subscribe more to the 'Gump Theory'. . . without conscious planning I Forrest Gumped my way into a life of skydiving.

Every step lead to a handful of open paths and somehow I always ended up on the most interesting & exciting one.

I was a natural in the sport, and since the club did demos I was put on my first one pretty quick. I had 22 jumps and nailed a perfect stand-up on my Pap into a semi-pro baseball stadium in downtown Davenport...the four M-18's on my boot brackets still puffing smoke.

Got my JM & I in short order and actually worked my way through college as a Skydiving Instructor, creating a university team and started competing in regional S&A events even talking the university into letting me do stadium demos at football games and sending us to the collegiate nationals.

Bounced around the country after college always able to pick up work either Instructing or doing demos, met a lotta great people & had a lotta fun.

Got a call from an old club member buddy after I moved to the west coast, did I want to start a demo team with him. Sure why not, after all 'life is like a box of chocolates'.

The team went on to become quite popular, the most commercially successful civilian team up until that time. In some ways we changed the way demos are looked at and performed still to this day.

In the context of the sport, we made the word 'Professional' a noun AND a verb. For well over two decades, I traveled the country jumping into large events in just about every major city...met a lotta great people & had a lotta fun.

'I met an L.A. girl' at an air show 20 years ago and it stuck, unquestionably the sweetest chocolate ever I pulled from the box...
That led to having a great family and getting to travel the world, often making a skydive in places I'd never heard of or dreamed I'd be when growing up.

Next Saturday I'll be 54, early in the day I'm jumping a small demo locally and then gonna kick it with family and friends for some 'Corrona & Cake'...I know I'll be thinking then as I do now, I am one lucky son of a bitch.

Happiness in life is often a roll of the dice, 'Ya never know what you're gonna get'.
After 36 amazing and wonderful years in the sport, I can without reservation honestly say:

'SKYdiving ~ been Berry Berry GOOD to ME' !! :$

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

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I remember lot's of pre-jump briefings in the army, where a sargent in charge would say in a booming voice, (with delight in his eyes)...."And if you are hung up behind the plane, and are able to, put one or both hands on your helmet. Then we'll cut your ass away."

"If you are unconscious or hurt bad, we'll foam down the runway, and land with you dragging behind the aircraft!"[:/]

Do they still give that speech in the Army?

Little did I know, a little helicopter could zoom in and save your ass.;)

I don't know if they give that speech in the ary, I was in Artillery :)

The story behind the pic goes like this :

No shit, there they were, thinking they were all going to die...
September 80, DZ Yverdon, Switzerland. The Porter is loaded with 1st time jumpers (and an instructor), static-lined with their rounds (no breakaway possible on these rigs). 1st load after refuelling, the plane goes up.

The 1st jumper gets out on command, jumps, and the unthinkable happens. The canopy gets caught in the tailwheel. The jumper is conscious, and understands he should not deploy his reserve. Quickly several options are thought out. The other jumpers can not jump due to the risk of collision or further entanglement. The canopy can not be reached from the plane (look at a Porter and measure the distance between the door and the tailwheel).

The REGA is called and a helicopter is flown to the DZ. they take onboard a skydiving instructor with a couple of knives, and coordonate the flight to have the chopper and the plane flying in formation. The instructor is lowered (after a couple of unsuccessful tries) just above the entangled jumper. After a quick explanation, the risers are cut, and the jumper deploys his reserve.

Everybody landed safely, both the plane and the helicopter had their fueltanks almost empty.

On 20 January 1981 in Los Angeles (USA), pilot Andreas Haefele, hoist operator Adolf Rüfenacht and parachute instructor Pierre Jomini are named “Crew of the Year” in recognition of this astounding feat.

Pierre JOmini doesn't skydive anymore, most of the jumpers in the plane came back later to do their jump.

Pilatus since then added a protection to the tailwheel so that if that kind of event happened again, the canopy would slide and would not hang on the wheel.

it even made it to The Australian newspapers
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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Jerry McCaully's 2000th jump , I was first camera , Kevin Flerity (sp?) was second...I'd told him at the bottom, clear out, I was going to fruit loop Jerry....

Well., like most unthought out plans, (especially when your goal is to scare a navy SEAL) , I flew in at break off, grabbed Jerry's legs and flipped him, Well......

He grabbed my legs, :oand wouldn't let go, as we tumble threw 2 grand, I am getting nervous, he is flipping me off,:S I finally let go and dump about 1200, Jerry dumps rigth below me...BUT......

As my canopy is coming out, I see Kevin's opening right in front of me, (makes one scarey video clip) Kevin in his usual stoned out state, had desided to film the fun.......:S

we just missed rapping on opening...

All 3 of us grounded for a month....B|

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I'm at the Texas old farts' reunion; I like this -- I'm not the oldest one here!:)
Old days part: Local jumper Fritz Jackson, rather known for opening low, opened low enough at a boogie in Stephenville that he was behind the trees and people were going to retrieve the body.

New days part: Hasn't jumped in about 10 years, and decided to do a recurrency jump for the reunion. The DZ made him do an AFF type jump, told him to wave off at 5500 and pull. He's still talking about it tonight -- 5500??? Can't he just wave really slow and then pull???

Then on the next jump, they told him to pull at 4500.

No one here can believe Fritz Jackson pulled at 5500 :ph34r:, including Fritz

Wendy P.

There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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