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  1. Roger Ponce, not Roger Nelson...haha
  2. Wow, 46,000 jumps!! Mad props, Don,,,that record is set in concrete, at least for the next few decades...! I have a theory that eventually someone will do 100,000 jumps. Just do 2k per year for 50 years...better start young
  3. When I was a young jumper, everyone was jealous of Carl cuz he was Roger’s right-hand man and accompanied him all over the world on skydiving adventures! I used to see Carl every August at Quincy...he always built a talented 10-way team for the speed star competition out of the Boeing 727 jet. He was a great late diver on big ways... I have many fond memories of racing him to the formation, and usually losing : ) Blue skies, Carl. You will be missed. Condolences to his family and all who loved him...
  4. I was at WFFC on the day of this tragic accident and the next day I helped search the cornfield for evidence. I was also acquainted with Rod Tinney and flew in his 412 many times. He was hands down the best helicopter pilot I’ve ever flown with...highly skilled and very safety conscious. The accident happened in the blink of an eye, and even though Rod was not at fault and could not have prevented it, he took it hard. IIRC, he did not fly any more during that year’s convention, and it took a lot of coaxing before he agreed to return in future years. Some time later, Rod sat through an AFF course at a convention, and he did all 7 jumps in a couple of days. He just wanted to “see what all the fuss was about.” His 8th jump was a 16-way out of a CASA with his two instructors and a bunch of us LO’s and staff.
  5. Damn this is a huge loss. Gary was a big man with a big personality, yet also soft-spoken and mild-mannered. Epic moustache, epic ponytail (did I ever see it unfurled?). Every year he was in charge of 60+ load organizers at the World Freefall Convention, which was a monumental task, but he did it with maximum efficiency and little drama. He did not play a part in my first becoming an LO at WFFC, I have DJan Stewart and my friends David “Duk” Miller and Todd Jacobson (RIP) to thank for that. However, once I earned my hat, Gary was my biggest advocate and supporter, even when a jilted lover from a previous year caused a ruckus at tent #1. His speech was basically “pick less psycho women, or keep it in your pants”...haha, the good old days. He was a big dude, not fat, not a bodybuilder, just big. A barrel chest and big trunk. Huge calves. When I first met him, I think he was jumping a Man-o-War 320, and his Vector was so big it looked like a tandem rig. He liked being safe and was in no hurry to get down. He enjoyed working with students and newer jumpers, and he had many other interests. He was a genius-level computer programmer, an accomplished musician, and a budding scientist with a focus on (what else) aerodynamics. Oh yeah, and he was on USPA’s BOD for more than a quarter century. Not bad, eh? I had not seen much of him since the convention disbanded, and I am very thankful that I had a 30 minute conversation with him at last year’s nationals in Chicagoland. We reminisced about the glory days, then I let him vent about his current gripes with USPA, of which there were many. Same ol’ Gary...I’m gonna miss him...sigh. BSBD my friend...
  6. What's up cujo? Yeah, i still check out "incidents" and "in memory of" on on occasion, hoping I don't see any of my friends names. These posts took me back to a dark time in my life. I had just lost my third skydiving friend in a short period of time (sparky, Todd, Carl). It took me awhile to process all of the emotions caused by their passing. Now, I like to think that every jump I make is a tribute to their friendship and mentorship. They taught me a lot about skydiving and about life... I hope all is well with you, my friend. Stay safe out there
  7. I jumped the skytruck at WFFC the year it was there (late 1990's). The owner gave away a few loads for free, and me and 9 of my friends were lucky enough to grab some slots. It was a real climber...the floor was slippery and when the plane took off the climb angle was so steep that all of the jumpers slid to the tail and were all piled up by the tailgate. I have lots of jumps out of Mullins king air , but I think the skytruck would have given it a run for its money... My friend who is a DZO took home a promotional video on VHS tape that went through its attributes and performance stats. If I recall correctly, the price tag at the time was 2 million...before adding avionics and other extras.
  8. The photo on page 34-35 shows a jumper with about 4 feet of airhose dangling behind them. I don't like loose objects on my flight surfaces, especially anywhere near my rig...streamers, air hoses, weight belt straps, even those skydiver necklaces with the deployment pins freak me out when I see them dangling from someone's neck near their reserve flap. On high altitude jumps, I always leave my oxygen hose in the aircraft. I recall reading an incident report where a jumper's main became entangled with an untied shoelace, resulting in a fatality. I often tell the story to remind people that the smallest thing can lead to the biggest consequences, so we must always strive to adhere to all little safety concerns, because you never know...
  9. Roger Nelson used to put out first-jump students on Stiletto 190's at SDC. I don't know the outcome of this experiment, but at the time (mid-1990's), I thought it sounded pretty sketchy. For those who don't know, TWY = Toggle Whipping Yahoo. The origin of this term is the Jedei owner's manual, written by Brian Germain, which also gave us the phrase: "Don't eat no high-speed dirt!"
  10. Jacques Istel is A-1 and D-2. Lew Sanborn is D-1 and A-2. They flipped a coin for it. If I recall my skydiving history, at the time they thought that the "A" license would be the more important of the two. Who in the hell had the guts to jump out of an airplane enough times to earn a "Master" license?
  11. SIX YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN At one period of time, Todd was the best canopy pilot in the Midwest. He had an uncannily high degree of aptitude for canopy flight. When I started jumping in 1994, Todd had about 50 jumps, and he was doing a lot of flying jump planes back then, so I quickly passed him up in jump numbers. He soon came back with a vengeance and passed me up again, and to this day he has more jumps than me. Our canopy progressions were similar. We learned how to swoop at the same time as the rest of the skydiving world. Unfortunately, we were all learning by trial and error. It seems ridiculous now, but at the time we would actually debate which was better, toggle or riser turns. It’s amazing that we survived this period of canopy flight. Many of us didn’t. Downsizing was the name of the game back then, as it is now. I remember when Todd got his brand-new Jedei 105. He was very fond of that canopy, and I was proud to be the only person he would let jump it. Todd was an awesome canopy pilot, and his wealth of experience at flying airplanes gave him a massive edge when it came to understanding the aerodynamics of flight. He also did CRW jumps whenever possible, which further broadened his skillset. He taught me how to fudge my jump numbers so I could get on the hottest loads at Quincy and borrow the tiniest demo rigs. He was there with me when we jumped the 69 square foot Xaos. Our swoops in the WFFC main landing area were epic. We would swoop every object imaginable: tents, RV’s, golf carts, etc. His landings were always a little crazier than mine. His favorite saying was “Make them run.” At the Convention, he once broke his foot on landing, broke one of Carolina Sky Sports’ wind blades, and got in trouble for swooping a woman sitting on a golf cart who was holding a baby…three different landings on the same day. At our home dz, we were always swooping obstacles: the trees at the north end of the landing area, the “South Gate” as we called it through the other treeline, and the spectator area which was our favorite because it was deep and tight and hard to get into. We kept trimming the trees to create extra lanes until we got in trouble from the DZO. Our dz had winter rules for landings, when all regulations were thrown in the crapper and anything goes. Todd and I would swoop snow banks, hangars, and parked cars—hopefully all three on the same run. Sometimes our swoops would get so hairy, we would be grounded for the day, or the week, or in Todd’s case, for an entire year. Todd and I did many awesome demo jumps together, and we always managed to pull out our best swoops for them. We also did a lot of cross country jumps, the clouds over Lake Wissota gave us ample opportunity for flying around in the industrial haze. It all came together during my last 4 years or so at Wissota. Todd and I became very proficient at swooping side-by-side...we had kind of a mind meld thing going on. He always followed me in, which was the harder job. We made at least a thousand jumps together, usually swooping side-by-side on landing. Towards the end, his favorite landing was when we would swoop at each other from opposite directions. I am older and wiser now, and sometimes I feel the effects of old landing injuries. My landings are a bit more conservative, though I am still considered a swooper. I always told Todd to pull back his aggressiveness 10% in the interests of survival, but he was not able to bring it down a notch. That was his nature, and that was what made him so damned good at it. As Hunter S. Thompson put it, Todd was “some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” BSBD, my friend. You are missed. .
  12. I think every dude experiences this malfunction at least once in their career, usually early on. Once you've had your first nut under, you learn to keep you leg straps tight and your diddle in the middle. It is interesting to note that some call it a nut under, and others a ball under. Maybe it's an East Coast / West Coast thing? I've got a friend who had line twists...the cords twisted up and one of his balls got as big as a grapefruit. By the time he went to the doctor it was too late and now he's a uni-ball.
  13. Not me but I had a friend that rarely comes on here though I think lurks that did a naked night jump on New Years(99-00) at midnight from 10k in North Central Wisconsin. Ground temp was barely out of single digits I believe. He used to do sunset naked all the time before that but he ceased after that particular jump. Something happened on that jump but he never really gave particulars. Yup, that's me. As cradock says, I mostly lurk the skydive specific forums...meaning I stay the hell out of speaker's corner. The jump alluded to above was one of my most memorable. My friend Todd was doing jump #2000 on NYE leading into the year 2000. I decided to up the ante and jump naked, even though it was single digit temps on the ground and well into the negatives at jump altitude. When I first climbed out and let go of the airplane, it was so cold I thought I was going to die. But then the adrenaline kicked in and it wasn't too bad. We did a 3-way (my 2 friends were fully clothed) and turned a few donuts, then enjoyed the view of the lights below and the multiple fireworks shows on the shores of Lake Wissota. That New Year's Eve jump was crazy and kinda stupid, but nothing untoward or particularly unusual happened as craddack hinted at. However, the next year I did a naked tandem with my GF in November (yup, she was fully clothed) and I got pneumonia and was sick for 3 weeks. That was the end of my naked night winter jumping career. ...........................................................................................................................................................
  14. I like Chuck's A-License rule. There will be a lot more free coach jumps on the dz!
  15. From a static-line dz (no aff) circa 1990's: --Once in a while a student would leave their brakes stowed and pound in landing backwards --A kid with about 25 jumps cutaway his main and used his reserve on the used rig he just purchased because "it's mine and I want to try everything out" --A female student with a low wingloading flew her canopy in a straight line 2 miles away from the dz and landed in some tall trees, requiring the fire department to extricate her. I was on radio and told her "turn left" many times, then "turn left or right" and finally "make any maneuver so I know you can hear me." Nothing...I assumed her radio was malfunctioning. Later I asked why she did not respond to my radio commands, and she said, "I didn't know if you meant your left or my left." --A couple of students chopped their main canopy because there was a "hole in the slider." Some of the dz's older F111 canopies had round holes cut out of the sliders to speed up the openings. --A dz pilot and helicopter flight instructor somehow had a 2-canopies-out situation. He managed to get both toggles of the main in one hand and both reserve toggles in the other hand. To everyone's surprise, he flared both canopies and made a stand-up landing.