Oil Can

#78

Tin Man

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#78
Very First Georgia POPs Record

In the early 2000s, North Georgia "POPs," parachutists over the age of 40 gathered at Skydive Monroe in Monroe, Georgia. We were a cadre of practiced belly flyers, doing formation skydives just for the fun of it. In 2004, a new fella began to frequent the drop zone. Andy was the brother of one of the regulars and returning to skydiving after a long hiatus. When he had accumulated 78 jumps at our DZ, he spoke of the lack of a Georgia record for POPs. There happened to be more than enough jumpers over 40 to fill the King Air jump plane that day, so a dozen of us gathered for a dirt dive. Andy, Don, and I would launch a three-way base. The front float (jumper outside the plane, nearest the wing) would join us to make four. The other eight would join us in pairs taking grips at our legs.

Our videographer to document the jump was also over 40 years of age. If our regular pilot had been there, every occupant of the plane would have been over 40. As it was, our pilot that day was 30-something. He did a fine job taking us to altitude and holding the aircraft steady as we exited.

We nailed the jump on our first try. We flew in formation for 16 seconds before breaking off and tracking away to deploy our parachutes. On the ground, our videographer commented that we should have been turning points. At that time, only single formation records were acknowledged. In the years since, multi-formation records have been acknowledged. Today, there are 4 standing Georgia POPs records for largest 1, 2, 3, and 4 point formation skydives.

The very first POPs record for Georgia

Screen grab from Jeff Morgan's video (I'm the guy in the center four farthest from the camera, dark suit with white grippers, gray rig, and orange shoes)

The participants

Front Row (Sitting): Jeff Morgan - Videographer
Second Row (Kneeling): Richard Perez, Greg McKellar, Rick Whitlock, Todd Alford, Dan Kotz
Third Row (Standing): Bruce Meinert, Max Sidner, Gary Shaffer, Steve Haseman, Andy Whitlock - Organizer, Yours truly - Tin Man, Snorre Koford - Pilot, Don Champagne
Background: King Air B90
Photo by Greg McKellar
 
#79

MoodyVol

Tallahassee is humid...
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#79
Very First Georgia POPs Record

In the early 2000s, North Georgia "POPs," parachutists over the age of 40 gathered at Skydive Monroe in Monroe, Georgia. We were a cadre of practiced belly flyers, doing formation skydives just for the fun of it. In 2004, a new fella began to frequent the drop zone. Andy was the brother of one of the regulars and returning to skydiving after a long hiatus. When he had accumulated 78 jumps at our DZ, he spoke of the lack of a Georgia record for POPs. There happened to be more than enough jumpers over 40 to fill the King Air jump plane that day, so a dozen of us gathered for a dirt dive. Andy, Don, and I would launch a three-way base. The front float (jumper outside the plane, nearest the wing) would join us to make four. The other eight would join us in pairs taking grips at our legs.

Our videographer to document the jump was also over 40 years of age. If our regular pilot had been there, every occupant of the plane would have been over 40. As it was, our pilot that day was 30-something. He did a fine job taking us to altitude and holding the aircraft steady as we exited.

We nailed the jump on our first try. We flew in formation for 16 seconds before breaking off and tracking away to deploy our parachutes. On the ground, our videographer commented that we should have been turning points. At that time, only single formation records were acknowledged. In the years since, multi-formation records have been acknowledged. Today, there are 4 standing Georgia POPs records for largest 1, 2, 3, and 4 point formation skydives.

The very first POPs record for Georgia

Screen grab from Jeff Morgan's video (I'm the guy in the center four farthest from the camera, dark suit with white grippers, gray rig, and orange shoes)

The participants

Front Row (Sitting): Jeff Morgan - Videographer
Second Row (Kneeling): Richard Perez, Greg McKellar, Rick Whitlock, Todd Alford, Dan Kotz
Third Row (Standing): Bruce Meinert, Max Sidner, Gary Shaffer, Steve Haseman, Andy Whitlock - Organizer, Yours truly - Tin Man, Snorre Koford - Pilot, Don Champagne
Background: King Air B90
Photo by Greg McKellar
Congrats to you all, Rusty!
 
#80

VolNExile

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#80
Very First Georgia POPs Record

In the early 2000s, North Georgia "POPs," parachutists over the age of 40 gathered at Skydive Monroe in Monroe, Georgia. We were a cadre of practiced belly flyers, doing formation skydives just for the fun of it. In 2004, a new fella began to frequent the drop zone. Andy was the brother of one of the regulars and returning to skydiving after a long hiatus. When he had accumulated 78 jumps at our DZ, he spoke of the lack of a Georgia record for POPs. There happened to be more than enough jumpers over 40 to fill the King Air jump plane that day, so a dozen of us gathered for a dirt dive. Andy, Don, and I would launch a three-way base. The front float (jumper outside the plane, nearest the wing) would join us to make four. The other eight would join us in pairs taking grips at our legs.

Our videographer to document the jump was also over 40 years of age. If our regular pilot had been there, every occupant of the plane would have been over 40. As it was, our pilot that day was 30-something. He did a fine job taking us to altitude and holding the aircraft steady as we exited.

We nailed the jump on our first try. We flew in formation for 16 seconds before breaking off and tracking away to deploy our parachutes. On the ground, our videographer commented that we should have been turning points. At that time, only single formation records were acknowledged. In the years since, multi-formation records have been acknowledged. Today, there are 4 standing Georgia POPs records for largest 1, 2, 3, and 4 point formation skydives.

The very first POPs record for Georgia

Screen grab from Jeff Morgan's video (I'm the guy in the center four farthest from the camera, dark suit with white grippers, gray rig, and orange shoes)

The participants

Front Row (Sitting): Jeff Morgan - Videographer
Second Row (Kneeling): Richard Perez, Greg McKellar, Rick Whitlock, Todd Alford, Dan Kotz
Third Row (Standing): Bruce Meinert, Max Sidner, Gary Shaffer, Steve Haseman, Andy Whitlock - Organizer, Yours truly - Tin Man, Snorre Koford - Pilot, Don Champagne
Background: King Air B90
Photo by Greg McKellar
They use King Airs for skydiving? I would never have dreamed that. I truly never knew that it could have a low enough stall speed for jumpers not to be squished against the horizontal stabilizer.

👍🏻 for your Icelandic? Norwegian? pilot.
 
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#82

Tin Man

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#82
They use King Airs for skydiving? I would never have dreamed that. I truly never knew that it could have a low enough stall speed for jumpers not to be squished against the horizontal stabilizer.

👍🏻 for your Icelandic? Norwegian? pilot.
King Airs are used because they're fast to altitude, relatively plentiful and affordable. They are not ideal for jumpers - higher speeds at exit, small doors. Once, the pilot flattened out at 12k ft AGL, barely added any flaps, and ordered us to exit. I was front float for my group. I climbed out into fierce wind and sleet - we launched and fell through a thousand feet of suspended sleet before finding clear air.
 
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#83

VolNExile

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#83
DXH flew the UT King Air on recruiting trips back in the glory days, including flying Pat when she went into labor in Michelle Marciniak’s living room. Although we’d just had our third kid at home, he was pretty anxious not to catch Tyler at 20,000 feet. They flew back at takeoff power (>100%), filing as air ambulance and making Delta hold (yay!), and he spent the next day scrubbing soot off the fuselage.

I had my private pilot certificate, flying taildraggers off of grass runways. I broke my right hand throwing a prop on a Piper Cub (how you started planes back in the day) whose magnetos were set up wrong. I witnessed five fatals, one at McGhee Tyson (I pushed tied-down private aircraft away from the fire) and four at Oshkosh. At one point I could identify aircraft by the sounds of their engines.

Then I got a life. 🤪

(But I still love hearing the old radial-engine aircraft)
 
#88

Tin Man

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#88
Welcome to DeLand (Not)

In the summer of 2000, I was in the market for a rig (container, parachutes, AAD). While I was vacationing with family on Amelia Island, I took a day trip to DeLand, Florida, home of several skydive gear manufacturers. I visited the Relative Workshop (now United Parachute Technologies) and Mirage Systems. R-Dubya had a 14-week delivery time - understandable, given how popular their sports rigs were at the time. Mirage had a new rig design incorporating the latest innovations and a 4-week delivery time. They got my order.

With plenty of daylight hours and good weather, I went to the local DZ to see if I could jump while I was in town. The DZ manager accepted my credentials, cleared me to jump, and rented me a rig. Excited to get into the air, I went into the hanger and began speaking to the local skydivers. Their greeting wasn't quite what I expected. Instead of welcoming camaraderie, there were blank stares and discussions among themselves as if I wasn't present. Two other visiting jumpers, Warren and Trevor welcomed me, and we planned a 3-way belly-to-the-earth formation skydive.

We loaded into a Twin Otter with a mixed group of jumpers. On the ride up, we sorted out exit order and moved about the cabin accordingly. Being belly flyers, our trio was to exit first. At altitude, on jump run, the spot was good and the exit light turned green. Warren climbed out and took front float position. I climbed out and took rear float position. Just inside the door, Trevor took grips on us, and we launched a 3-way round.

In freefall, twice we broke grips, performed individual 360 rotations, and came back together in a round. Then, we broke grips and turned to make a doughnut formation - in a circle, inside hand to inside leg grips. During transition, we espied a sit-flyer approaching us in freefall. He was targeting the center of our group. We backed out, and he flew through. We then came together in a round and held grips while watching his progress. He cleared our vertical airspace in time for our planned break, track, and deployment.

Under canopy, I flew the pattern and set my approach to land in the peas (a round pea gravel target for accuracy landings). Two local jumpers who had preceded me in the pattern (I had a larger, slower canopy) were on the ground, standing in the edge of the peas, talking. They had already gathered their chutes and should have cleared the landing area for others coming in under canopy. They did not. They remained standing in the peas, casually talking, as I came in to land, crushing down into the peas and guiding my collapsing canopy to the side to avoid entangling them in the lines. Neither moved or acknowledged me as I gathered my chute and returned to the hanger.

Meeting up with Warren and Trevor in the hanger, I asked them if they knew in advance that the sit-flyer was going to target our formation in freefall. They did not and were as disquieted as I was with what had happened. I logged my jump, got their signatures, and thanked them both.

I stowed my suit & helmet in my gear bag and carried the rental rig back to the desk. There, I informed the DZ manager of the sit-flyer's stunt and the two who failed to clear the peas for my landing. She frowned as she heard my report but offered no comment. Advising her that I found it oddly disturbing that a drop zone in a city with so many skydiving industry participants would be cliquish and lax in safety, I payed my bill and left.

The DeLand airfield has had a skydive club or other drop zone operation continuously since 1960. Their 60-year anniversary received a write-up in the January 2020 issue of Parachutist. Some may feel warm and fuzzy about this. I'm not inclined to jump there, again.
 
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#89

Tin Man

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#89
Dodgeball

As a preschool kid, I befriended the girl next door. She was my own age. We liked each other and many of the same things - flowers, butterflies, grasshoppers, songbirds, rolling around naked in the soft grass of my backyard. We were innocent, but my mother tried to discourage that last one.

Her father wore tank-top undershirts, liked to drink, smoke, and yell a lot. Her mother was always irritable, frequently saying aloud that she was tired. Her older brother was a delinquent and a bully with a couple of tag-along smaller kids doing his bidding.

One afternoon, he and his followers came into my backyard. They pulled his sister into the woods and stood her up on a tree stump. He pulled down his sister's pants and, snickering and laughing, tried to insert a stick into her anus. Her face showed clearly her distress. I yelled at him to stop and pulled at his arm. He pushed me down, and the boys laughed and gesticulated. Quickly bored, they all cleared out. As I got up off the ground, she pulled up her pants and stepped off the stump. I went to her and held her hand, briefly. She told me that she had to go home and walked next door.

A short time later, my family moved to a neighborhood on the other side of the main road. Time passed.

I was in the fourth grade. One Spring day, we were at recess, playing a version of dodgeball on the playground. Kids were in the middle of a large circle. Other kids were around the rim of the circle, throwing a big, soft red rubber ball at the ones in the center. If hit, the player had to leave the circle and became one of the ones on the rim, taking turns throwing the ball at the kids in the center. I was in the center group, dodging the balls thrown by the kids on the periphery.

A blonde girl that I knew from another class at my school was standing on the edge of the playground. Next to her was a girl with brown hair cut like Jackie Kennedy. She wore a sleeveless blouse with a skirt that came to just above her knees and leather sandals with straps that wrapped around her ankles. The brown haired girl was gazing at me, smiling. It was her! The girl from next door! She was beautiful, and she recognized me!

As I stood still, gazing back into her eyes, a boy hurled the red ball at me. It hit me in the stomach and bounced right back to him. I didn't move. He picked up the ball and threw it hard at me. Again, it hit me in the stomach and rolled back to him. He started laughing at me. My eyes never left hers. I slowly walked towards her. He bounced the ball off of me as I walked out of the circle while other kids were yelling at him to resume the game.

I reached the brown haired girl and without saying a word took her hand. Seeing how we were reacting to one another, the blonde girl complained to me. The brown haired girl was her guest. I should leave them alone. The bell rang and broke the spell. The blonde grabbed the brown haired girl and headed back to class.

In class, I begged the teacher to let me check the class rooms for the brown haired girl. I told her that we had been friends and that I hadn't seen her since preschool. My teacher told me to take my seat. I could look to meet the brown haired girl after school.

When the final bell rang, I dashed outside and looked for her to no avail. A few days later, I ran into the blonde and pleaded with her for information on how to reach the brown haired girl. The blonde took pleasure in telling me that the brown haired girl had only been her guest for that day, and I was likely to never see her again. Her cruel pronouncement was prophetic. Despite asking other students and teachers, I did not learn anything more about the brown haired girl and never saw her again.
 
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#93

Plano Vol

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#93
The Stuff of Memories

In 1971, Andy Kurlansky opened a little walk-up pizza joint near the Emory University campus in Atlanta. He called it, Everybody's Pizza. It was a favorite haunt of southern-bred hippies, stoners, and denizens of the night, as well as students. Really good pizza pies (even if you were not stoned). For 41 years, through flush times and hard, Everybody's kept feeding everybody. In that time, they expanded the original location to a spiffy sit-down place. They even opened a second location in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood.

My life took me away from Atlanta and back again several times over the decades. Each time that I was back in A-town, I would eat at Everybody's and/or take a pie walkin' on a regular basis. Mellow Mushroom was born. Pizza delivery franchises opened like blooming herpes sores across the landscape. Nothing put a dent in Everybody's business. We loved their pies, and we had memories connecting us to it.

Even when I settled north of the ATL in this last move, I faithfully made the trip into town to get Everybody's pies. One just could not go too long without an Everybody's pie. After my very first colonoscopy, I broke my fast with Everybody's pizza. It seemed to make the entire ordeal worthwhile.

Then, in March of 2013, the Kurlanskys announced that Everybody's was closing. They were retiring. They didn't want to sell Everybody's as an ongoing business. They closed up shop, sold off the equipment, fixtures, and the like, and Everybody's was no more.

It was heartbreaking. The loss led some to characterize the Kurlanskys as selfish, depriving generations of loyal customers any future chance of enjoying Everybody's pizza pies. Maybe they weighed the option to entrust all that made Everybody's special to others and couldn't place their faith in any candidates. Maybe they didn't. It was their business. They chose to resign it to memories.

I really want an Everybody's pizza pie right now...
Now this is cool! I hit Everybody's with great frequency 1972-1977. Very convenient as it was only about five blocks from the B school and the proscribed haven for post exam resuscitation. I do admit to cheating over to Jaggerz occasionally.
 
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#94

Tin Man

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#94
Miss MyNookie

In the Spring of 1944, my father, a 21 year-old B24 pilot arrived in Italy with his crew. They were assigned to the 513th squadron of the 376th bombardment group. Bombardment group personnel were known for decorating their aircraft with nicknames and nose art. Being something of an artist, my father was drafted to adorn the nose of a B24. He elected a profile of a comely young woman seated, with her feet together, knees up, and long hair flowing behind. She was nude, of course, facing into the wind of her ship in flight. Thus adorned, the ship was christened, Miss MyNookie.

Miss MyNookie was an older model B24, with a glass nose lacking a turret. She became the first of four aircraft that my father would land short of the airfield. A number of the 376th's sorties and missions were without fighter escort. Many aircraft were severely damaged by fire from German fighters and flack guns. Whether the reason was damage to the ship or a lack of fuel, my father elected to land in a suitable field other than the airstrip on four occasions. There's a disciplinary note in his record for this. There's also an entry for his being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. War time.

Though Miss MyNookie was an older model aircraft, arguably she had the best nose art of the entire BG. Northern Star, Strawberry Bitch, Lil Abner, Boomerang, Hardway Ten, Babs, The Blue Streak, Constant Menace, GI Ginnie, Miss Oklahoma, Bubbles, Gentle Annie, Gin, Yum Yum, Mis-Chief, Pistol Packin' Moma, Corn Fed, Harry The Horse, Minnesota Marge, Bull Moose, Sweet Meat, Badger Beauty, Vitamin-P, Carpenter's Masterpiece, Per Diem the Second, Elsie, Brewery Wagon, Satan's Sister, Kako, Miss-I-Hope, The Wild Wolf, Wittle Wed Wabbit, Dragon Lady, Ole John Silver, The Wheel, Little Richard, Dasie Mae, Boiler Maker, Butch, Benghazi Express, Battleaxe, Boudior Commandos, No No Cleo, Georgia Cracker, Red Ryder, Ripper the 1st, Kitty Quick, Angie the Ox, Joey Uptown, Frankie Ferocious, Tobias the Terrible, Shanghi Lil, Wongo Wongo, Eight Ball, Miss Incendiary, Bomb Boogie, Let's Go, Send Me Baby, Sexy Sal, Lady Hell, Four Fruits, Swede John Deere, not even Dirty Gertie could match Miss MyNookie's alluring schnoz. Alas, the only photo of Miss MyNookie that I know of is lost. I've no image to post, here.

Every named ship also had a number, and there were aircraft aplenty that were never named or adorned with nose art. These were only known by their number. Bearing a name did not influence an aircraft's fate. A great many were lost. Some were scrapped, and their salvaged parts used to make other damaged aircraft serviceable. Crews were assigned to fly "air worthy" ships for a mission. The crew who had been flying Bubbles might be assigned to fly Number 503 for a given mission while Bubbles was being repaired. Maybe they brought Number 503 back to base. Maybe they didn't make it. They were at war.
 
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#95

Tin Man

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#95
Open Mike Night

During the late '70s, The Longbranch Saloon on Cumberland Ave would have open mike night one day a week. Aspiring musicians and even one wannabe stand-up comedian inflicted their artistic stylings upon the beer swillers there present. The prize for the evening could be anything - a pitcher of beer, an odd promotional item from a distributor, etc.

A friend of mine, Gary had learned two Pure Prairie League songs from Bustin' Out (heck of an album) - Falling In and Out of Love and Aimie. He played these together, with a pause of a few beats between the last note of Falling In and Out of Love and the first note of Aimie. He had this medley down pat, singing the melody and playing guitar accompaniment without fracking a single note.

Gary wanted to play open mike night at the Longbranch, only he was nervous about being in front of everybody, alone. He asked me to sing backup, doubling refrains and bits of harmony here and there. I was agreeable. We practiced a few times one afternoon and then headed to the Longbranch.

Our slot was advantageous, about two thirds of the way through. Listeners would be lubricated but not three sheets to the wind and likely to stick around for the selection/announcement of that night's winner. We set up on the small stage with Gary seated on a high stool and me standing just behind his right shoulder. Our performance was spot on, not a slip or discordant note from beginning to end. We received raucous applause with a few shouts & whistles.

At the end, we were pronounced winners. Our prize was a case of beer. We hauled this back to the house I was sharing with two other students where it was rapidly consumed by all present. Gary and I reprised our winning performance on the porch, with our friends loudly joining in on the choruses. When we finished, there was a smattering of applause from nearby neighbors and one loud cry to "SHUT UP!"

This was my PPL moment, @hmanvolfan. Here's Gary's inspiration
[VIDEO=]
 
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#96

Tin Man

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#96
@Vjcvette, this is my "story thread." Ignore the abusive posts from Endzoners. I started this Oil Can thread after a few tl;dr replies to some of my posts in other threads. If you elect to create a story thread, do so in the Pub. That's my two cents.
 
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