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Everything posted by faller

  1. How very sad, what a GREAT person, rigger, jumper and friend. We worked together for a couple of years at National Parachute. Test jumps, design refinement, PIA booths, rigging and lots of fun too. She was a truly liberated woman, long before the “activism” became fashionable. She was the “balance” in the Herd, (if that was even possible). ;(
  2. I’m beginning to dread logging-on anymore, too many friends being taken away. I first met John at one of the Para-Ski meets in the Northeast, probably mid-late 80’s. We would meet at various meets and boogies in our region. Then again (90’s?), while he was taking the AFF instructor course, I was one of the examiners and John was an impressive guy to meet. A tall, good looking and confident man. We both got involved as DZO’s in the same conference and of course stayed aware of each other. Whenever we met he always welcomed me w/ genuine respect and I felt the same about him. He was not an average jumper or individual. He worked hard, his efforts bore a lot of “fruit” and his accomplishments were widely known. He contributed a lot to our sport, elevated the quality of Drop Zone “life” for many transient skydivers and helped lots of young jumpers find a place to call “home”. My sympathy and prayers to your fine family, may God continue to inspire them w/ your life, so well lived. Blue Skies! (joeD)
  3. You are spot on; Tom was special in many ways. As a long time NE jumper, I met Tom at one of those Herd “thingys”, for such a disciplined man he was also at ease with us scoundrels and genuinely open to being a friend too. He let his actions do the “talking”.
  4. I was the “connector” slot on exit, 4th man on the 3 man chunk. Single file, no show exits and only a 3 way base permitted and viewed / verified by Telemeters. If the exits got sloppy,(as they did often), the trailing swoopers would hold on too long and my left shoulder would get hyper extended, (subluxation). Now,(45+ years later) it’s weaker & smaller but sounds like a piece of waxed paper getting crumpled along with pops & creaks.. Still worth it!! Anybody remember Jerry Birds “Saloon Door” exit?
  5. I remember at the Nationals, (maybe Muskogee or Talequah), The midwest guys, Exitus, would do door-jams on the way to altitude. At around 1500’, they would line-up tighten up and do their count with a healthy push. Pretty scary & not “pilot friendly” either.
  6. The Pieces of Eight I referred to were from the early 70’s… could be coincidence(?)
  7. Pieces of Eight were from CT, Mass area; Dan Poynter, Dan Thompson Sr. & some others. Capt. Hook etc. YES, Al Kruger and his gang.. not all amputees..
  8. The DC-3 is still my favorite plane I’ve jumped from. There’s just something about them, beautiful classic lines, the big nasty looking engines, spitting fire at sunset and a stand-up cabin,(for most). Love the sounds, the smooth flight characteristics, easy to float or hang out the door from and exit speeds.
  9. Circa early-mid 70’s NE conference: Spaced Rangers, Pieces of Eight, It’s About Time, The Herd. Mid West: EXITUS. From Fla.,(Deland?): Slots are for Tots. West Coast: Air Freight. Capt Hook & The Sky Pirates. Rainbow Flyers. YES, A truly beautiful bunch of VERY GOOD Skydiving women!!! we volunteered/begged to help them practice door exits… Oh Baby!!!
  10. There were many watching that accident,(myself-Joe D) among hundreds. The skies were filled w/ DC-3’s, 1 on jump run, another on exit, a team in free fall and another landing. The other jumper was Charlie McGurr, aka Magoo. they both were pretty low under 500’ when they entangled, Carl aka Dogeater & Magoo spun in fast, no chance to untangle & were wrapped up pretty tight. Two very tough guys, (like Rocky E). They did exactly as you say, slammed into that old tin roof and that likely saved them both. I remember Carl was selling these really flimsy, lightweight hockey helmets for like $3, I bought one, jumped it for years till it fell apart. His sales pitch was “ it’l keep your hair in place”.. Magoo was a great person, had an artistic flair. He was a really good skydiver, a very talented FF photographer, ex Airborne & a skilled SCUBA diver. He perished from complications following a dive on the Andria Doria, early-mid 2000’s. Carl was a perennial figure in skydiving, always there, involved and being part of something. You knew you were in the company of a “jumper first” character. (Dammit)
  11. {In fond, loving memory of a jumper & friend who added a lot of “spice” to our skydiving lore} Blue Skies Carbone! always in “The Zone” ............ It’s never too late for a Scotty Carbone story; I met Scotty in 72, we were both novice jumpers rising through the ranks at the Stormville Parachute center in NY. We were both “City boys” and I knew in an instant that Carbone was a clever, street smart hustler. I also learned he was a very skilled & talented individual and had that certain charm about him,(you loved him or not-so-much at all). We became jump buddies and friends. Scotty never seemed to have a “real” job, a car or any money but he always managed to get by. Since I lived in Brooklyn and he was on my way to the DZ, I would often give him a ride and believe me, surviving the 90 minute drive was an act of significant personal discipline. But as you may guess, there was always a surprise or two w/ him, some nights the, (OLD DIAL), phone would ring, like 2-3 in the morning, I would answer; “you BleepN recti, you woke my parents up, F—Off, I’ll pick you up at 8...” and too many times he wasn’t even home but somehow made it to the DZ anyway. During the next decade we jumped, competed, partied and we’re on a 10-man, speed star team together;(The Spaced Rangers). One of our guys,(Wayne S)got us a DZ sponsor for our jumps; Lakewood Parachute Center,NJ. They had a DC-3 and needed/wanted us to fill every load to help lower their cost of putting out static line students, so for $3 a jump we’d take our 12-13 slots and practice from about 7-7500’. Lakewood was a VERY conservative DZ and The Rangers w/ Carbone, (not-so-much). Their DZ manager always kept a watchful eye on us and our coolers, one day during a hold for low clouds, our cooler lids were active and later when the skies cleared, we hustled our gear on then headed to the 3, but In our way, is the manager, he’d seen enough and points to,(you know who), and says, “I want to smell your breath!”... well of course Scotty obliges in spontaneous Carbone fashion; he runs up to him, puts him in a bear hug, and smoothers this guys face with his wide open mouth. Scotty breathes hard into his face for about 10-15 seconds, (while we are pissing our pants laughing), then says “was that enough?” and lets him go, the poor guy did not know what happened. We boarded, jumped, broke off above 25, landed and packed... We never got checked again!! I can tell you dozens of Carbone Capers but if you’ve spent any amount of time w/ Scotty, you probably can too, that one was special...
  12. I was a rigging student at Perry’s loft in 1973. He was a firm believer in discipline and listening. I had taken a bus & hitched hiked from New Mexico to learn rigging. I was “camping out” inside a hangar at the Antioch airport due to lack of funds. Perry figured out pretty quick that I was broke. So he let me share his small camper w/ Mike E. The next day was also the 1st day in class, after his introduction & a no nonsense warning for good behavior, Mr. Stevens mildly says “taking notes is important”, the class goes on and we do a bunch of rigging stuff. The next day, his 1st remarks are, “let me see your notebook”. Neither of us had 1, I had no transportation & no extra cash, Mike was pretty much in the same situation but had a motorcycle and a broken leg. He warned us, in no uncertain terms, that we were dumb and should think twice about being riggers. Perry had a military bearing in his teaching style and Mike & I were just a couple of young “hippie-esque” skydivers. We needed to adapt and he saw fit that we did. The course was a 10 day event w/ weekends off. His final practical exam was thorough & fair, I repacked a pilots emergency chute w/ a 28’ flat. I knew he was going to pick this pack job apart, so I took extra care and 3 hours to pack it. All the while his “voice” is playing in my head,”the inspection is the most important part of your job!”. Mr. Stevens was patient, never rushed me and comes over to inspect my work. I had my inspection report/sheet filled out & signed. He is happy with the appearance, pulls the ripcord, the container opens and the limp A3 soft-top, falls out. He is still pleased. From there he goes to a specific gore seam, without looking, he asks for my inspection report and immediately informs me that I missed this 3” section of missing stitches in the suspension line channel. I am dumbfounded & embarrassed, and figured that was it. He deducts some points from my “score” & continues on.... Well I am pleased to say that I passed and so did Mike. Perry taught us well and we learned that discipline belongs in rigging. I learned more than rigging from him and I still have my notebook! Thanks Perry
  13. Fang/Fennimore: An original for sure. Hall of Fame quality, skydiver, Test Jumper, rigger, pilot and “after hours legend”. No BS! Bow Bow Bow Bow.... Rocky’s lookin’ for ya... again!
  14. Hey Rocky!!! I know you’re watching. You are still Da-Man & always: tough-as-nails! Give Fang a bear hug for me. JoeD/D5182...
  15. ............but I thought I did..........I didn't tell anyone the Kiss Pass was your idea.......
  16. In Memory of a GREAT FRIEND & Skydiver..Rich Fennimore better known as FANG. Before this story unfolds you "newbies" should know that because of Fang & a few others like him..you modern non belly-flying wimps are jumping squares. "When you're stupid you gotta be tough". The year is 1982 & our "4 way" team,(see title): Fang, Mark Mark & Joey D and whoever it was that day while trying out for the elusive & never filled 4th slot..(maybe Bruce C), had just finished a blistering multi-point 4 way from maybe 8500' @ Lakewood. After break off and perhaps a bit low @ 2-ish, I noticed Fang & Mark going for a kiss-pass.......whoa, I gotta get some of that, so I do a 180 & grab the wrong guy by the legs...FANG! As he looks over his shoulder he smiles and goes into a head down dive, grabbing my arms by his side. I tighten it up between his knees and we are off to the races. I'm laughing hard as we "FLY" through the air until I look at Fang...he's looking up at me and his eyes are like saucers and his mouth is wide open as he spots my chest altimeter...we are still head down & bookn. My focus shifts and I see the ground and nothing else and not a lot of it, it's BIG and moving erratically and in that instant I know it's too late to pull, I let go of FANG and pull....I close my eyes, cursing myself for this stupidity and I curl up preparing for impact. I can feel the velcro peeling off the container as the pilot chute tugs away.....why is it taking so long.......phhhthhip, as the pin comes out of the loop..... I'm aware of every sound, every vibration of the line stretch and ffwhhuup the canopy opens. I open my eyes and as I grab for my "borrowed" toggles I see two menacing objects, the first is a set of Hi-Tension power lines, I'm headed right at them. The 2nd is a reserve Free-Bag...it's not mine, I pulled my borrowed main, a gruesome thought goes through my mind....my friend.....Fang is dead. I can't dwell on anything because I have to make a hard turn to avoid the lines and get ready to flare for landing. I land softly under the power lines and I'm immediately pressed by the thought of locating Fang's body. I know he can't be too far away, he pulled my reserve, we had switched gear so he could check out a demo rig I had. I figured I had opened under 200' and a short canopy ride of maybe 10 secs. I'm certain he's dead, since no one could survive a malfunction at that altitude & speed. As I start to take off my rig, I hear low, muffled groaning and it's real close. A picture of a mangled & broken body flashes in my mind and as I turn and call out to him, I get a response & a complaint about my "shitty" reserve pack job. I find THE FANG, rolling around holding his foot which he broke on landing. In my demo rig was a REJECT "Safety Flyer" that Fang had given to me.....because he couldn't justify destroying a "perfectly" good drop test chute. The Flyer was so badly out of trim that when he pulled, it opened in a complete stall, Fang was an expert test jumper and only his skills saved him that day. After I had let go of him & pulled, he went for HIS main handle, a throw-out & it wasn't there(I was using his rig), he immediately went for the reserve and pulled. The reserve opened hard, went into the above mentioned stall & rocked forward TWICE before he hit the ground, the toggles still in their overly complicated keepers. I cannot describe to anyone the feeling of joy as I jumped on top of him and "Brother Loved" him to life! What we did not know, is that everyone on the ground knew we were dead, they had watched both of us go below tree level in freefall..... We knew we were lucky, we also knew that except for each other and good pack jobs we'd both be dead. Moral: If you're gonna borrow gear, borrow it from somebody who packs their own rig!... Oh yeah break off a little bit higher too! FANG Fennimore was one of the most talented skydivers, riggers or pilots I've ever known. This sport is not the same without him in it. His short coming, if any, was dealing with the mundane task of life. The last time I saw Fang was @ The Ranch, he had landed his 182 in the dead of night, and later that evening he snuck-up behind me and literally suplex-slammed me onto to the ground. We wrestled briefly before I realized who it was..... I tapped out in one of his crushing "Brother Love Hugs".... I'll never see him again.... and that sucks....bow..bow..bow..bow..Birds Base Blues Bros
  17. Perhaps one of the scariest things I've ever seen. Without having been there, it's hard to say that in fact the passenger was saying no or just resisting/complaining. HOWEVER it is certainly obvious that the harness was not properly fit to the customer and left loose & unadjusted prior to exit. NOT EVEN CLOSE! The extra Y strap would only have made this scenario slightly less scary. The fact that this poor woman survived is nothing short of a miracle. The Instructor made several egregious errors, all painfully obvious on that living nightmare of a video. 1) Equipment fitting & re-checking. 2) Final re-checking of harness just prior to exit. 3) Verifying passenger compliance. 4) Delaying efforts to grab, leg lock or whatever else you might think of. Kudos to the Video guy for making some effort.
  18. Auction site is not tracking the reserve price for the seller, and creates some confusion when sale ends.