Death Valley to Taft

Part IV - TAFT

Skydiving At Air Trash Days






Story by John Bull


On Saturday Oct. 29th, Perris Valley Air Trash members went to join forces with the Air Trash Taft Chapter, headed by "Stormin' Norman" Van Pelt BG ! [by God] The Perris gang began arriving on Friday afternnoon / evening & continued arriving through early Saturday afternoon. The Perris attendees were : Tim Farnam, Larry Walsh, Fred Basile, Danny & Melinda Hayden, Mike Gerwig, Lyle Cameron Jr., "The Flying Butts' " [Mary Jane & Bob], SCR "007" Don Henderson, Stan Troeller, C - 3361 & D - 3361. That's right folks, identical license numbers, his wife Mariann, [they flew in from Hawaii], Barry Lastinger, Harry Leicher, "Little Don" Vredenburg & myself. ["Big Don" couldn't attend the Trash Bash because of a family wedding] Anyhow, we all agree that "Little Don" is much cuter, and he doesn't tell as many tall tales as his dad, "Big Don"......

There was a slight mishap Saturday morning. During the process of moving the beautiful PAC - 750 jumpship out to the tarmac, the steering dampner on the nose wheel suffered some damage. Air Trash Taft & Perris would not be denied however, from jumping together & flailing their bodies all over the blue skies above Taft. Under the quick thinking & watchful eye of grizzled skydiver & veteran load organizer Norman Van Pelt, formation loads flown from the two available Cessnas on hand, enabled us to complete an 8-way "round" from aprox. 12,000 feet. [not bad for Air Trash] ..... Meanwhile, Bob Butt began working diligently on fixing the mechanical problem with the PAC - 750.

Saturday night brought entertainment & great food. Patty Van Pelt [daughter of our good 'ol buddy Phil Christman], shared her "world renowned" home baked chocolate chip cookies with the gang, while her hubby Norman spent the evening feeding all the hungry souls at the DZ, his "Firehouse" chili from his very own "secret recipe" ..... Also, Danny Hayden proudly cooked up & served some tasty hamburgers from his way too cool, brand new portable propane barbecue & grill. Way to go Danny !!!

The evening's entertainment included a live performance of Don Henderson singing & playing original songs with his trusty ukulele. Also featured, were songs & poetry recitations by the Air Trash "Tallywacker Choir"..... not to be confused with the ..... "Morman Tabernackle Choir" ..... The highlight of the evening however, was the indoctrination of several new members into the Air Trash Taft Chapter. Also, we inducted some new members into the "Late Great" .... Perry Armstrong's ..... "Silly Tit Club". We are especially honored to now have veteran Air Trash guy Stan Troeller, an esteemed member of the "Silly Tits".

Sunday brought jumps from the PAC - 750, thanks to the determined labor of Bob Butt, in completeing the necessary repairs to the steering dampner.

The only injury of the weekend, was incurred by our Air Trash Webmaster, Larry Walsh. He chose to undertake the risky business of walking his dog "Tabby" [our Air Trash mascot] during the downtime between jumps. In so doing, Larry inadvertently stepped into a hole & acquired a nasty hematoma on his left leg, which necessitated his having to scratch from the afternoon Air Trash load. Folks, this only goes to prove that these "close to the ground" activities & pastimes are exceedingly dangerous & should be avoided at all costs. Larry, we wish you a speedy recovery & hope you have learned a lesson from your careless ways . Ha ! Speaking of which ..... Christmas will soon be upon us. Use extreme caution if you must climb upon your rooftop to decorate your house with lights, displays & the like. I personally know of someone who actually fell while doing this. Luckily we didn't need . His recovery was swift.

On another note, It has come to my attention that the 8 way formation load that we did was also Norm Van Pelt's 2300th jump. What a way to celebrate it! Let's hear it for Norm! HIM, HIM!

Anyway, that about sums it up for this year's trip to Taft. A special thanks goes out from all of us Perris Air Trash, to Dave Crouch & all the great folks at Taft DZ, & for their hospitality & great vibes.

This is John Bull reporting live..... for Air Trash News .....



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This Air Trash party starts as any of them should. The locals call this drink "Pie". It really does taste like apple pie! Ya know I bet my truck would run on this stuff! I drank this stuff all night long and never felt a thing! Fred shows his Mountain Dew. I drank his share of pie.
Uh... guys? Could someone feed the dog here please? Guys? Fred seems to be enjoying life! The PAC 750 ready to jump! Or is it? Seems the gremlins came in the night and stole some parts off it. Cessna Time...
Somebody couldn't make up their mind here.... Cookies and milk? What a shamefull bunch. Cookies and beer. That's more like it. Who knows?
Don sings to the ladies... The ladies respond. People from Taft are inducted into Air Trash and the Silly Tit Club. Self explanitory.
Some of us were a little more happy to see ya then others. And then there was these guys.... There's no Trash like happy Trash. We can laugh about it now. But what about in the morning?
But seriously folks, this is dangerous stuff we're talking about here. You could get hurt drinking like this... Some brightly colored gang members show up. The gang members increase in numbers. Meanwhile, MJ sits in the motorhome contemplating the "Employee Of The Month" award...
And the crowd laughs.... Tabby goes to sleep wondering if she's ever going to eat again... Wake up folks it's time to SKYDIVE! Uh, where's my parachute? In place of the ill-fated PAC we will use two Cessnas in a formation load for eight of us. Four in each plane.
We did it and we all lived! An 8 way formation load. Tabby approves... Bully (yellow) and Me (multi colored) coming in for a landing at Taft. I didn't do this landing. Honest. I did it walking Tabby... Honest!
The next 16 photos are from Mike Gerwig. Thanks Mike!
Andy does a great swoop... Lil Don and I ponder the meaning of life... Don Henderson sings! Thanks Mike!
Mike and Lil Don also pondering the meaning of life. Are we awake yet? OK There's the shot. Tabby doesn't like what she sees.
Don Henderson's new money pit. Lil Don tries to ride off in Dons new car. It takes one to Trash one... And the members rejoyced!
If you know what I meeeeeean...... Learning the Silly Tit Handshake is not as easy as it sounds. But once you learn it, you don't forget it... Too often... much... anyways... Part of becoming a Silly Tit is to show off your,,,, well.... You get the idea...
What happens in Taft............ Ends up on the front of the website! And the members rejoyced... The old guys REALLY got into it... And then we all came down. Mickey does a nice swoop.


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