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patmoore

Lost Drop Zones Project

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patmoore

Four and a half years later this thread is still alive. I did buy a domain to create a website devoted to defunct DZs but it'll probably be a year before I can retire and devote the time to it that it needs. When I do have it up and running I'll be looking for stories and photos. It should make for some interesting entries.



Good on you, Pat. Valuable info is disappearing (or at least getting blurrier) every day.

B9

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goldwing

One Lake Geneva DZ was located adjacent to the drag strip which later became a race track (now defunct) south of town. I believe it closed after the principle owner Connie O'Rourke was killed doing a Santa jump.

I'm told by the former operator there was another DZ just South of Big Foot Beach operated by I think the Whitings. I vaguely recall seeing a sign near the road with a parachute canopy on it. Not sure if it was advertising or a caution sign for motorists.

Quote



Yep; pretty sure you got it right. Thanks.

Here are some meet results from the November '63 issue of PARACHUTIST.

B9

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goldwing

One Lake Geneva DZ was located adjacent to the drag strip which later became a race track (now defunct) south of town. I believe it closed after the principle owner Connie O'Rourke was killed doing a Santa jump.



Pretty sure you're right. Thanks.

Here are some meet results from the November 1963 issue of PARACHUTIST.

B9

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bravoniner

And, finally, does anybody have any info on the DZ that operated at Air City airport in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, in the early '60s? The primary jump ship was a tri-gear Howard DGA-15P flown (I think) by the late Steve Hay, Sr. [SEE photo]. Lowell Bachman, Jim Stoyas [SEE photo], and other early-day midwest luminaries jumped there.



Found a meet notice and meet results in the October and November, 1964 issues of PARACHUTIST.

B9

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Still not finding much on the Air City DZ, but stuff from Lake Geneva keeps turning up. Here are meet results from the 1964 NCPL Western Regionals from the July 1964 issue of SKY DIVER, and an announcement from the August 1964 issue of PARACHUTIST that the '64 Nationals would take place at Lake Geneva. That didn't happen; the nationals were moved to Sandy, UT, on very short notice (the reasons for which are briefly discussed in the first paragraphs of the meet recap piece from the October '64 SKY DIVER).

Finally, I also attached the most-recent Google Earth image of the former DZ site. It appears that all the facilities are decaying badly.

B9

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Quote

There was another DZ in eastern PA near Downingtown. Not really a DZ, more like a farmer's field and a grass strip. A number of folks from the United Parachute Club came to jump there when their plane was down.



That DZ maybe The Crossroads Skydivers who operated on the Ray Beiler farm with the green & white checkerboard barn roof near Glenmoore, PA and later at the Speakman farm along Route 322 west of Downingtown near Brandywine Manor.

As a kid I used to watch them jump from our farm nearby. Later when I was old enough to jump bought my first rig from one of the former members, a sweet B-4 w/28-7TU. Still have one of the clubs jumpsuits and patch.

The club fell victim to the local fun police.
www.geronimoskydiving.com

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The DPA Lewisville DZ was a private farm with an air strip. The land owners around the place didn't like the aircraft noise on the week-ends and the DZ was small (1967). I don't know the exact location but that's where I started jumping.
The club moved to Seagoville which was a much better location and more jumper friendly.
I miss those days with Jerry & Sherry / John Burke / Lope /
Double Ls / PC / Crossbow hogbacks and the old 180 tail dragger.

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Any info on Fremont California? Ex Golden Knight Mike Steele went in there during a bandit quasi AAF jump that went wrong. He saved his student but deployed too low to save his own life.

I lived in the area and had no idea that jumps were being made at Fremont. I was jumping at Pope Valley, Livermore and Antioch.

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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BillyVance

I know a lot about the drop zone history in Alabama.

I made my first jump and S/L progression at Skydive North Alabama in Hazel Green, north of Huntsville. It closed in the mid-late 90's.

I also jumped at the Weaver (near Anniston) air strip when Alabama Skydiving Inc. was located there before they moved to Pell City.

Pell City was my home DZ for 7 years until Skyride took over, left and burned the airport for future DZs. >:(

Skyride moved to Prattville for a year and burned the airport for future DZs as well, and moved up to TN.

Headland (north of Dothan) has had skydiving off and on for years. I may be wrong, but I believe Chris Needels did his training there. It was either there or at Tuskegee (where Buddy Blue still operates Skydive Opelika). The DZ in Headland was resurrected back in the late 90s by 3 good friends who lived close to each other, and it ran for a short time.

There was a DZ in Moundville, south of Tuscaloosa for a short time as well.

Also one west of Mobile at a private airstrip that I barely know anything about other than that my cousin did a S/L jump there 20 years ago, and most of the regulars moved to Gold Coast Skydivers near Pascagoula, MS after it shut down.

There also used to be one at the Gadsden municipal airport that closed after the city wanted them out. The DZO quit after a short fight with them. You know deeper pockets usually wins. There was another one near Tarrant, just north of Birmingham back in the 80's, maybe early 90's.

That's about all I know. I have jumped at DZs in Georgia that are no longer there - Air Ventures in Rome, Skydive Monroe and Skydive North Georgia in Ellijay. Another one I visited but didn't jump at was in Covington (now Skydive Atlanta at Thomaston).



A correction... Skydive Monroe was resurrected a couple years ago or so.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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Very few will remember the little grass strip at Cottonwood Falls Ks. KSU club and a few others jumped there in 68 or 69. Judged an accuracy meet there. Also was jumpmaster for a first jump student in a very tired 172 that took out the top two strands of the barbed wire fence at the end of the runway. Quite the experience. Also the dz at Wamego Ks is no more. KSU club was there from the 60's until recently when an aircraft owner was worried about his plane and was also on the airport board and got them kicked off. KSU club is now at the Abilene Ks. airport. Anyone remember Woody Underwood's 180 at Maize Ks. or the WWII fighter pilot he had flying for him? If you gave him a correction on jump run, he would shake his head and say "your on the wind line sonny" Very excellent jump pilot.


Always remember, when you get where you're going, there you are!

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I'll bet the pilot you refer to was Leo Saurman (not sure of the exact spelling of his last name) but he lived out in Maize on that airport for a long time and flew jumpers....he was a Korea era Marine fighter pilot....think he's in a nursing home now somewhere in the Wichita Ks area.

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I grew up near Hwy 11 & Hwy 31 in Racine about 2 miles East of Sturtevant. I was only 10 in 1964 but I had heard alot about the skydiving going on there. I remember the airport bar was open long after the airport itself shut down. In fact, the airport bar may still be open. I believe Milaeger's Nursery & Greenhouses are next door to it.

My mother tells a story about a friend of hers who was s style jumper from Czechoslovakia making jumps there in the early or mid 60's. I'll try to get more info from her if possible.

I didn't start jumping until 1981 in East Troy, but my cousin, who started a lot earlier than I did my have some info, too. He grew up in Racine. I am now a few hundred miles from there, but will check to see if Bruce or Millie know anything more.

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There was a group of skydivers who took exception to Jim Hooper's having grounded them for allegedly pulling low and drinking while jumping among other things. Rick Haglund got a hold of a Beech 18 and started their own DZ not too far away from Zephyrhills.

Anybody remember where they jumped?

jon

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Hey Don, I was driving back to Rockport from Galveston last weekend and went by the old Angleton DZ that you and Carl ran. It is for sale in case you want to head back down to the coast. They have the runway mowed but the hanger looks like it needs a little attention. Looks like the house up on the road might go with it. With the new HWY 288 next door, the price could be a bit steep. You may have to raise the price from the $3 you charged when I made my first jump there in 1971.

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Reading through this tread I found the following DZ’s I have jumped and forgot most of them.

Sparky

Spaceland, TX
Pahrump, NV
North Las Vegas
Old Taft, CA
Hemet, CA
Apple Valley, CA
Cal. City, CA all of them
Bear Creek, CA
Littleton, CO
Sheridan, OR
Issaquah, WA
Phoenix at Z-Hills, FL
Cedar Valley, UT
Pope Valley, CA
Hinckley, IL
Chico, CA
Corning, CA
Santa Nella, CA
29 Palms, CA
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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Roger Nelson hosted the first Freak Brothers Convention from a dirt strip and hanger located on highway Cr Bb south of Lake Geneva WI. The Bigfoot Boogie or Convention, can't remember which. It was only for 10 days or so. (don't eat the cheesecake:)
Rich Westbury and Eileen Stasiak operated a C182 operation from the Bigfoot Airport in Big Foot WI for a few years.

As far as Sturtevant you are right on the money.

I was 11 years old at the time and watched from my aunts house and even talked my dad into taking me there a few times.
“The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec quotes (Polish writer, poet and satirist 1906-1966)

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Billy Vance missed a couple of places in Alabama:

Jumpers in Opelika and Auburn first jumped right on the Opelika/Auburn Airport (which was about two miles from my house). My dad, Buddy Blue D-597 and all his friends. My dad had 1000 jumps and two airplanes when I was born in 1963.

There was also jumping on the Tallassee airport on the other side of the interstate from Tuskegee. I'm actually very surprised that my dad never moved his operation from Tuskegee to Tallassee after all the BS he got over the years from the city. By the way, my dad gave up and shut down Opelika Skydiving Association (at Tuskegee) a couple of years ago and now a new operation (Skydive Tuskegee) operates there. I'm pretty sure both of my dad's straight-tail 182's are sitting in Lagrange or somewhere, out of annual and for sale.

The very first boogie I ever attended was in Lagrange, Georgia. The Sugar Alpha DC-3 flew at that event.

There are a ton of old DZ's that I can remember back in the old Cottonbelt Parachute Council that have faded into oblivion. I have very vivid memories as a child being dragged around to jump meets in the late 60's and early '70s.

Chuck Blue, D-12501
Coolidge, AZ

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drjump

Thanks for the information but, Volks Field, Hitchcock, TX. is a little too hot and humid for me. Besides I've got my own little C-182 DZ here in Stephenville, TX. now. Are you going to make the reunion in Valley Mills this fall?



I haven't heard about the reunion but I would love to come. When is it?

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SkymonkeyONE

Billy Vance missed a couple of places in Alabama:

Jumpers in Opelika and Auburn first jumped right on the Opelika/Auburn Airport (which was about two miles from my house). My dad, Buddy Blue D-597 and all his friends. My dad had 1000 jumps and two airplanes when I was born in 1963.

There was also jumping on the Tallassee airport on the other side of the interstate from Tuskegee. I'm actually very surprised that my dad never moved his operation from Tuskegee to Tallassee after all the BS he got over the years from the city. By the way, my dad gave up and shut down Opelika Skydiving Association (at Tuskegee) a couple of years ago and now a new operation (Skydive Tuskegee) operates there. I'm pretty sure both of my dad's straight-tail 182's are sitting in Lagrange or somewhere, out of annual and for sale.

The very first boogie I ever attended was in Lagrange, Georgia. The Sugar Alpha DC-3 flew at that event.

There are a ton of old DZ's that I can remember back in the old Cottonbelt Parachute Council that have faded into oblivion. I have very vivid memories as a child being dragged around to jump meets in the late 60's and early '70s.

Chuck Blue, D-12501
Coolidge, AZ



CottonBelt Parachute Council would included the Circle M bunch that first jumped out of Gluckstadt, Ms. and then lived a long and healthy life in Magee, Ms. That is where I began in the '70s.

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Did any of you old timers jump with the York Skydivers in the mid Sixties to mid seventies? They would hold their MEPA meets at a grass runway north of the town of East Berlin PA. The private air strip was then named Laird's airport. They had a huge sawdust pit for shooting accuracy. The runway is still there but there has only been one load of jumpers flown there since about 1974 or 75.

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Daniel McGinly ran Land of Lincoln Skydivers, based at 4358 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, DZ at Hebron. Got my 5 static line jumps + first 7 freefalls there from Apr-Jun 1964 before moving back south and jumping with others in MS. Wonder how long Land of Lincoln Sky Divers lasted?

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