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Riverview - Tampa Bay Parachute Ranch

Submitted by Pat Moore D-1814

In the early seventies, many former members of the Tampa Bay Sky Divers began jumping at a dirt strip in the town of Riverview not far from Tampa. The DZ was operated by Walker Dancy "Mac" McCraw and his wife Pearl. I made my 2000th jump there in 1976. It was the last load of the day and I was awarded my Diamond Wings by Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The next morning a load of jumpers climbed to altitude in Mac's 182. As they climbed out on the step, the wheel strut snapped off clean with the fuselage. The jumpers found themselves in freefall with the spinning strut. They opened safely and the strut buried itself in a nearby field. Mac, a Navy veteran, radioed nearby MacDill AFB and said, "Guys. You're not gonna believe this". They foamed the runway and Mac delicately touched down on his two remaining tires only incurring a little "runway rash". We retrieved the strut and had some fun with it. The SSgt examining the plane below is Joe Capps who was also a jumper and pilot at Riverview.

Tragically, Mac was killed in a helicopter mishap in Lacrosse, Wisconsin in 2008



Checking out how the wheelstrut looks on a '73 Chevy van

The first all-couples star. March 8, 1975. Four sets of husbands and wives. I built seven of the harnesses and containers shown in this picture. Photo by Mike Swain.

mac mccraw

Mac McCraw


Rick "CrazyRick" Whitlock D-27983 on an accuracy jump