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Palatka - '65-'66

Submitted by Pat Moore D-1814

Not be confused with the current operation at Palatka.

In 1965, the University City Sport Parachute Club moved operations from Williston to Kay Larkin Field in Palatka. Spearheading the operation was University of Florida Aerospace Engineering student Dave Henson (D-1938) who went on to be a key figure in the US Space Program. Other frequent jumpers were Lionel Gazeau and Dave Weeks - the first person I ever connected with in freefall. Jamie Barton became an enthusiastic student. Sadly he lost his life in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

In the span of fifty jumps there I managed to experience two Mae Wests. In both cases I hand-deployed WWII vintage 24' twill reserves. I actually made a standup landing on the runway on the latter reserve ride. Our regular pilot was another U of F student, John Wegenka of Vero Beach.

On one of the malfunctions I managed to destroy my canopy (surplus C-9 5TU). I got a job bussing tables at a diner in Gainesville to earn the $25 I needed to buy another canopy.

palatka skydiving

Pat and Dave 1965