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Zephyrhills - The Tampa Skydivers - mid 60s to early 70s

Not to be confused with the present operation at that airport.

At other times the DZ was home to the Rangers and a commercial DZ operated by Jeff Searles.

Submitted by Pat Moore D-1814

In April 1967 the Air Force transferred me to MacDill AFB in Tampa. At the time I had a little over a hundred jumps and was delighted to discover the Tampa Skydivers. Among their members were Bob Branch, Warren Kauffman, Ski and Donna Chmielewski, Ron Schott, Bobby Gilbert, Louie Howell, Paul Duncan, Harvey Brower, Jim Ellmaker, Step Lively and Paul Healy, the "Fastest Man Alive - Straight Down", a 300+ pound jumper. Opening shocks were Paul's nemesis and he was always trying to get me to design something to cause his PC to open more slowly. He even had me sew velcro into the panels of the canopy.

The club occupied a surplus military barracks just off the airport. The building next door alternated as a home to rotorcopters and a pickle processing plant. The airport operator's name was Bob Porter. In the early days, our 182 didn't have a step on the right wingstrut and we just had the students stand with their left foot on the tire while the pilot held the brake. When I hollered "GO!" to a female student out on the step she yelled "NO!" right back at me. I told her to climb back in and she shouted "NO" again. The plane was getting close to stalling so I told the pilot to take his foot off the brake. Her feet were spinning so fast on that tire that she looked like a hamster in a cage before she fell off. The static line deployed the canopy and she thanked me later.

The US Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights, made an annual trip from Fort Bragg to ZHills to train for the Nationals.

Tampa Sky Divers Golden Knights