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Lockheed Lodestars as jumpships

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Does anyone know when and where the last Lodestar jumps were made? I saw one working one weekend at Pope Valley CA in the mid 1970s. Never saw one hauling jumpers after that. They got a bad reputation after one stalled on jump run and spun in with jumpers in Washington. It was a Bill Lear modified go-fast Lodestar called a Learstar.
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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I'm pretty sure one went in at Casa Grande as well and another almost went in there (saved by the just retired from the Air Force test pilot at 4000ft after stall at 12,500ft).

It was one of my favorite jump planes, but only in the hands of the right pilot (like Bill Buchmann for example).

-----------------------
Roger "Ramjet" Clark
FB# 271, SCR 3245, SCS 1519

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There was a Lodestar for one summer in mid-seventies at Turners Falls, MA, mostly flown by Nate Pond, D-69. Though Nate's a fairly wild guy, he was very careful to warn jumpers against crowding the back of the airplane on jump run (stall city.) I will ask around to find out the year, as I can't find a logbook at hand for that period.

Earlier and maybe at the same time, a Lodestar was standard fare at the Stormville, NY, DZ, flown by Bobby Sweet. (He was the brother of Willie Sweet, the DZO at Stormvile, and much later, he went in on a jump in Maine.)

As others have noted, the fatal accident in Washington state pretty well killed the Lodestar as a jump plane. I knew one or two of the people on it (they had been on Jerry Bird's '74 Wings of Orange team).

HW

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I jumped from the Loadstar that weekend at Pope Valley. There was some sort of 10 way meeting going on. It was a great jump plane. Climbed like a bat out of hell. I never experienced a stall in one, but we all knew not to croud the back of the plane. I remember Jeanne McCombs told me about her experience in a Loadstar that stalled at 12.5 and didn't get control back until about 5 grand. I believe that was at Elsinore, but I could be wrong.

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Webb's 1983 Lodestar jump surprised me. I thought they were all out of jumping by then. Wonder if we could get one to come to WFFC 2006? That would sure be a rare one to add to the logbook. Does anybody remember the VERY derelict Lodestar that was at Antioch CA in the early 70s? I heard it flew out, amazing considering that it looked beyond economical repair. I heard they were superb drug runners. Heavy payload and good short field performance.
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Webb's 1983 Lodestar jump surprised me. I thought they were all out of jumping by then. Wonder if we could get one to come to WFFC 2006? That would sure be a rare one to add to the logbook. Does anybody remember the VERY derelict Lodestar that was at Antioch CA in the early 70s? I heard it flew out, amazing considering that it looked beyond economical repair. I heard they were superb drug runners. Heavy payload and good short field performance.



Had I known what I now do about L Stalls I wouldn've been caught dead on it. There was some rich guy there at that boogie (near the site of the Hindenburg crash) who bought lotsa lobster for all to eat. Anyone present who remembers that????

Oh, yes. Here's my kid NOW along with her sister who had not yet been born.


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Russell M. Webb D 7014
Attorney at Law
713 385 5676
https://www.tdcparole.com

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During the summer of 1983 there was a lodestar flying jumpers out of Arlington, WA airport. In August it went into a death spiral and took 9 jumpers and 2 pilots with it. The local skydiving community was never a large one and that was a horrific blow. We all lost friends that summer.

http://www.airdisaster.com/reports/ntsb/AAR84-06.pdf

.

AZChallenger JFTC99/02 GOFAST300 STILLUV4WAY
"It's nothing 1000 jumps won't cure..."
- Jeff Gorlick, Seattle Sky Divers

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Webb's 1983 Lodestar jump surprised me. I thought they were all out of jumping by then. Wonder if we could get one to come to WFFC 2006? That would sure be a rare one to add to the logbook. Does anybody remember the VERY derelict Lodestar that was at Antioch CA in the early 70s? I heard it flew out, amazing considering that it looked beyond economical repair. I heard they were superb drug runners. Heavy payload and good short field performance.



Had I known what I now do about L Stalls I wouldn've been caught dead on it. There was some rich guy there at that boogie (near the site of the Hindenburg crash) who bought lotsa lobster for all to eat. Anyone present who remembers that????

Oh, yes. Here's my kid NOW along with her sister who had not yet been born.


___________________



You're not jumping from skyvans then are you? According to Bill Buchmann, they have exactly the same problem. The Deland skyvan has a stripe painted on the floor that the jumpers are instructed not to go aft of until the pilots say they are ready (according to Bill).

When Palatka got a loadstar, they brought it over to Z-Hills to learn to fly jumpers with it. Bill flew right seat on the first flight, I was in the rear of the plane. On takeoff, the aircraft entered the steepest climb I had ever seen. I was sure we were going in when I heard the engine power reduced and shortly thereafter the nose came back down. Bill had saved the plane and all of us by knowing what to do and when (the pilot's first reaction was to increase power). Of course it's been 30 years, so I could have that all wrong, have to ask Bill next time I'm in Deland...

It was that incident that made me take a good look at who was at the controls of any future Loadstars I jumped from....

-----------------------
Roger "Ramjet" Clark
FB# 271, SCR 3245, SCS 1519

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The one at Lakewood blew a jug on a load about Aug of 83. There was a television camera crew on-board that didn't participate in the emergency bailout. The plane landed over at Monmouth? airport and never flew jumpers at Lakewood again. It sat at that airport till I left Jersey in mid-84. All the Lodestar veterans at Lakewood had oil spots on their rigs and jumpsuits from the emergency bailout. I never got to jump it because I wasn't off student status till Sept of that year.

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That crash analysis report is chilling to read. What a tragedy. Wonder why they couldnt arrest the spin and recover? Perhaps CG was too far back towards tail. The Learstar is reputed to have nasty stall characteristics, worse than a stock Lodestar. There is only one Learstar still airworthy. Still quite a few Lodestars. See: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/m.zoeller/Learstar.htm
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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From conversations with jumpers who managed to exit the aircraft prior to the crash itself, it was almost a matter of chance who got out. Some jumpers near the door were thrown back inside towards the pilots and others who were late divers miraculously found themselves outside the plane. I had spent most of the summer watching as a near whuffo (I had made 1 jump earlier that year) and actually rode in a small jumpseat behind the pilots on a few loads. I wore an army surplus rig that I would have fallen out of if I had ever had to jump it. I didn't know any better and of course everyone was so confident and sure of the pilots and the aircraft. Lessons learned early. I didn't start seriously skydiving until a couple of years later.

AZChallenger JFTC99/02 GOFAST300 STILLUV4WAY
"It's nothing 1000 jumps won't cure..."
- Jeff Gorlick, Seattle Sky Divers

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The last time I saw a Lodestar haul skydivers was at the 1980 Easter Boogie at Z-Hills. It was down for repairs most of the week and did not fly until the last day of the week.
Then the last Lodestar crashed in Arlington, Washington in the early 1980s. Ton Classen told me how he was crouching in the doorway when the Lodestar stalled. I spit him out and flipped him over the top. He broke a lower leg when he slammed onto the top of the fuselage. Then Tom hobbled around on his broken leg, cleaning up the mess, assisting police and briefing news reporters, etc. until late in the evening.
A very sad day.
I have not seen Tom since 1999, but would still love to chat with him.

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Z-Hills had a beauty of a Lodestar in 1977, called 3-Lima Mike. It had a really plush interior and the outside was painted in "Howard Johnson" shades of orange, blue, and white. I think later that year it was up in Ganonoque when somebody forgot to lower the gear for landing and it sort of got wrecked bellying in.

I remember another Lodestar at Perris in '79 once or twice, it supported the '79 Rumbleseat Meet and was there for the Thanksgiving Boogie too.

I've heard that Skyvans can be just as twitchy, I know the one at Perris has a line that no more than 8 jumpers are supposed to cross. Between that and how you'd ever get the damn ramp to open in an emergency I'm thinking I'm in love with a dangerous airplane.

Your humble servant.....Professor Gravity !

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I recently jumped a Lodestar in October 2003. It was at a get together with some pilots and skydivers in Tenn. The owner flew a few loads for fun. As I recall we only flew with 10 jumpers. What a blast from the past! I never thought I would ever jump one again. Now that I think about it, that was probably the last I will ever jump one.

Jack

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Jack,

Sure wish I were there for that load. I was sure that the last Lodestar jump load was flown in the 80s. Now I have to recalibrate. If you ever hear of another chance let me know. I'd travel for a chance to jump a Lodestar in the 21st century. Do you know the N number of the plane?

See: http://tinyurl.com/cw8rg
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Jack,

Sure wish I were there for that load. I was sure that the last Lodestar jump load was flown in the 80s. Now I have to recalibrate. If you ever hear of another chance let me know. I'd travel for a chance to jump a Lodestar in the 21st century. Do you know the N number of the plane?

See: http://tinyurl.com/cw8rg



It was really just a one off fluke. The owner is from Mississippi and flew it in for the get together. I spoke with him last summer and he said that it was down right now with a bad engine. I doubt we will jump it again. And I'm sorry but I don't remember the N number.

Jack

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The boys in Casa grande did have a Load stall. Ran out of trim and didn't have the gear down and foward for more foward CG. I think that the US freefall Ex. team was aboard when it stalled on J-R. They all got an education in zero g exits. Later the 'Veriliner' loadstall from Kansas showed up. New guys (flying divers)were at the controls. I was standing in the door over our base guy with 18 others behind me. Don't remember actually initiating the exit. Just remember being in freefall next to the aircraft as it dove towards the ground. Tracked away from it, got lucky and missed the tail. Third guy behind me got his knees taken out. From 12 down to 4 everybody else except 1 got out. The pilots gained control and flew back to the gulch. Three years later at Z-hills I put up a 22 way. Out of all the DC-3s there in Nov. 76 we get the Veriliner again! On the way up to altitude fear becomes contageous. I get up off the floor at 10 Grand to get ready, and I notice several familiar faces from the load 3 years earlier. Some one yells jump run! Someone else yells No! No! No! sounded like GO! GO! GO! So we went went went. 20 miles from the DZ. Last jump from a Loadstall I ever made. Strange

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