DZGone logo


Submitted by Pat Moore D-1814

After the Pelicans left the Targeteers Drop Zone in Manassas, VA, they settled into a field in rural Ridgely, Maryland. Legendary skydiving characters like Bill Ottley, Bob Holler, Johnnie Crews, Billy Gifford, Mike Schultz, Dave Dulin, Tommy Bryant, and Cesar Aguilar were regulars there in the mid to late sixties. I was stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa at the time but never missed an opportunity to head to Ridgely when home on leave.

When I attended Bill Ottley's Memorial Service in 2006, a lot of stories were told. One has to be shared here. Bill and another guy were in a borrowed Beechcraft Bonanza that belonged to a board member of the National Pilots Association. Bill was the President of the organization. They were returning from New Jersey when Bill's friend suggested they stop by Ridgely. Bill thought that wa a bad idea but his friend said, "What could possibly go wrong?". Bill reluctanly agreed and parked the plane as far from the activity as he could. Shortly after that, a couple of the Pelicans went aloft with a dead raccoon attached to a pilot chute and tossed it out. Unfortunately, the pilot chute became detached and the raccoon went terminal. You guessed it - right through the wing of the plane. It was like a scene out of the Roadrunner cartoons with Wile E. Coyote crashing through leaving a perfect outline of outstretched arms and legs.

Bill was never able to explain to the plane's owner how a raccoon fell from the sky. Life at the Pelican's DZ was never boring.....

Photos from Oct 1967 issue of Freefall Magazine

Here's a shot of club members taken a few years earlier at Gambrill.