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  1. A Memorial Day tribute to USAF veteran and skydiving pioneer, Nate Pond (D-69). From his 1950s parachuting experiments with his dad, Sebastian “Batch” Pond at Good Hill Farm in CT, through his contributions to Parachutes Incorporated, the first commercial sport parachuting center at Orange, MA, US Parachute Team, Chief Pilot for OSPC and the 1962 World Championships, as a style and accuracy competitor and the first test jumper for Pioneer Parachute Company, his impact on the development of sport parachuting was tremendous. Nate balanced supreme airmanship with an uncanny instinct for practical engineering, smashing the envelope and redefining the limits of possible. He was one of the most gifted stick and rudder pilots I’ve ever flown with. We were privileged to meet Nate’s lovely wife Jill at last November’s SRO funeral service. Townsfolk told story after story of the Pond family’s lifelong generosity to neighbors and community…we added another dimension, describing his central role in the history of sport parachuting. Nate Pond stories of narrow escapes and miraculous saves are legion. This episode from my days at Precision Airlines sums up how many of us felt about him: Nate routinely butted heads with our equally crusty check airman, Ron H, himself a respected Vietnam vet who reportedly brought home two C-130s severely crippled by enemy fire, saving both crews and aircraft. Despite diametrically opposed views toward regulations, procedures and authority, these guys held a grudging respect for each other. Nate didn’t mind getting busted…he enjoyed the time off to go skiing during his suspensions before passing another “remedial checkride” with his counterpart. Ron confessed the true measure of his respect for Nate one day over coffee at Boston/Logan Airport: “Of course Nate passed his checkride again. I just wish he’d do the right thing in the first place. On the other hand, if the airplane were on fire with the weather at or below minimums, nowhere else to go and my family riding in the back, there’s no one else I’d rather have flying left seat.” Thank you for your service to your country and to sport parachuting, Nate. Re: D-69: Nate once told me the day came when it was time to assign a dozen or so numbers for the first round of D Licenses. Lew Sanborn was awarded D-1, Jacques Istel D-2 and so on until it was Nate’s turn. Instead of the number they offered, he asked for his favorite number: 69. When I met his son Gary a few years later, he said when it came time to receive his D license, he made a similar request. He told me he was twice as good as his father, so he requested D-6969. : < )
  2. This Memorial Day weekend we honor our friend, Steve Kalvelage, who left us too soon last fall. Summarizing several tributes written after his passing: he was a great skydiving instructor partnering with Rich Sentner in the student instruction program at Pepperell, MA, jump pilot and air traffic controller, and by all accounts an excellent soldier, serving with the 10th, 11th, and 20th Special Forces Groups. Selected as the A/1/11th Soldier of the Year in 1980, his numerous deployments included Europe, Central and South America, and Afghanistan. Retiring after thirty years of service, he subsequently served as an NRA instructor in NH and FL, and worked for many years at Natick Labs for the DOD designing cold weather gear and parachutes for the U.S. Army. His many civilian-acquired skills as a skydiver, pilot, and air traffic controller made him one of the more knowledgeable members of the special forces community in the field of air operations. He adored his wife Alison, and was an incredible friend to so many others. We miss you Steve. Thank you for your service. Steve preparing a rubber boat for a C-130 water parachute drop off Steve, 4th from left, was a member of ODA-114, A/1/11th for many years. This photo was taken during a Flintlock mission in Europe in the late 1970s.
  3. Dear David, Where have ten years gone? We miss your infinite kindness and wisdom, and try to "pay it forward" every day to ensure your legacy lives on through the hearts and deeds of your extended family. Tommy C. was right when he said you set the bar so very high for the rest of us who would follow your path. Look after Steve, Nate and the others who just left us, especially little Abby a few days ago. Blue skies, warm sun and gentle breezes forever, dear friend. Xxxooo, Marianne and Jim
  4. My earliest recollection comes from Pat Works' writing: http://www.parachutehistory.com/humor/godfrog.html
  5. Hi Tin. While you're waiting for replies from those with club experience, check out USPA's online resources for background. Reach out to them for specific guidance to cover all the bases and avoid reinventing the wheel. (Wish my college had a club back when pterosaurs roamed the skies. ) Good luck and have fun! USPA Starting A College Club -------------------------------------- College Clubs Offering the opportunity to skydive through a College Skydiving Club ensures that students benefit from all of USPA’s programs and training standards. https://uspa.org/Membership/USPA-Programs/College-Clubs ---------------------------------------- http://www.parachutistonline.com/p/Article/college-skydiving-clubs-how-and-why-to-start-one ----------------------------------------- https://uspa.org/Portals/0/files/Club.Release.doc ------------------------------------------ https://uspa.org/Portals/0/files/college.club.constitution.doc USPA: (540) 604-9740 M-F 9am-5pm Eastern (540) 604-9741 uspa@uspa.org
  6. Sonic (and anyone else interested in Star Crest awards): I corresponded with Rachael Newell, Bill's daughter, back in 2014. Current information for them at the time was: https://www.facebook.com/StarCrestSkydivingAwards starcrestskydivingawards@gmail.com Administrators: Rachael Newell & John Machado 200 Hollyhill Drive Bakersfield, California 93312 (661)831-7771 StarCrestSkydivingAwards@gmail.com  Good luck! Jim
  7. Appears to be intentional texturing. Just figured out pix resizing for upload. Aimed light at 2 different angles to show the bumps in relief and a more normal view. JVX: thanks for the Keener point out. Bought a pound of these from Paragear to share with my wife and friends. (I'm always giving them away.) Will contact Keener if I learn these cause line wear or retention issues.
  8. Thank you both. I wondered about gripping--I don't double-stow--and line wear, too. Was hoping riggers might know the reason for the change. The distributor didn't advertise these weren't the usual design, so it's hard to imagine marketing drove the change. Given a choice, I'd have stuck with the smooth ones that have always worked.
  9. Received small and large rubber bands from major distributor. (My Javelin d-bag uses both.) Small bands appear to be the same ones I've used since1990s. Large ones aren't smooth: they're textured = slightly bumpy on the inner and outer surfaces. New design? Developed for applications other than sport rigs? Any difference with regard to retention, deployment, line wear? (725 Spectra lines on my Pilot 210.) Probably a non-issue, but I'd appreciate input from folks more knowledgeable/experienced than I.
  10. "There's even a club for it." SRA--Skydiver Resurrection Award?
  11. Nine years, David. Susan sent us a great photograph of you smiling with Rick, your "brother from another mother." We see you both first thing every morning...miss you every day. Xxxooo, M+J
  12. I bought a Pilot 210 in regular ZeroP with 725 Spectra lines a few months ago. Fits in my J4 Javelin just fine. (PD193R in the reserve container.) Folded into my d-bag first try. So far, Aerodyne's ZeroP fabric has allowed controllable new canopy pack jobs. Opens and flies great at 1.1:1 WL. The LPV fabric should yield a lower pack volume and make it easier to bag during the break-in period. Your rigger could be a great resource for other options.
  13. That technique worked great packing my PD 230 (F-111 fabric) in the early 90's. Dealer advised against it for my Sabre 210 during the purchase process. My new canopy's PD manual confirmed that recommendation: "Sabre Note Sabres are designed for a slow-to-medium speed opening when packed as described in the P.D. manual - with each side of the nose rolled four complete turns towards the center. Do not tuck the nose into the center cells. The new airfoil design causes the center cells to form a pocket that can hold the rolls there during opening. Additionally, tucking the end cells into the center cells will result in unreliable opening times, with some very long snivels. Repeat: Do not do this." (Twenty years later, some jumpers report it works for them.) Having my rigger add a pocket to my slider resulted in smooth, staged openings during which I would swing upright and watch the rest of the deployment sequence. Appeared to eliminate the occasional hard opening on subsequent jumps. Opening distance increased to an average of 800' on my test jumps, so I revised my deployment altitude upward accordingly. (Just an average fun jumper. YMMV.)
  14. "see that #1 is setting up to land in the wrong direction, spiral down and land first. Problem solved." Our dz doesn't allow spiraling in the traffic pattern. We've had close calls where the person spiraling was certain they saw only one person ahead of them...they were wrong. When newer jumpers spiral down from the middle of the pack, our S+TAs remind them why that's a bad idea.
  15. not a Porter. That’s an Atlas Kudu Thanks for this correction. The only Porter I saw in person had a sleeker fuselage, more squared off tail and sliding jump door on the right side. That was 25 years ago. Didn't know if there was a more recent version.