Sometimes opportunity knocks at just the right time. This was the case with the start of VSC, which opened on a great note, but we needed to do something different for an aircraft, in order to make the Drop Zone a fun and awesome place to jump. We were leasing a King Air that provided a fast ride to altitude, but it was a fuel hog, and the small door was not great for licensed jumpers who wanted to launch formations bigger than a 4-way out of the door. Then, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, while I was on a sailing trip, I got a call from Gene Paul Thacker, one of the great heroes in skydiving, and an old friend, who I have known for more than 16 years. He let me know that a Cessna Grand Caravan was available for lease from Tim and Joe D’Annunzio of Paraclete Aviation. After a weekend with the airplane, we knew it was a perfect fit for the drop zone. So, it will now be our main aircraft for the remainder of 2011 and all of 2012! Come on out and enjoy our awesome new plane! It is the cleanest Caravan flying jumpers anywhere, with a 675 HP Pratt Whitney turbo-prop engine, and a full avionics package that even includes a TCAS traffic warning system. This is an electronic system that will alert the pilot with a warning on an electronic screen if there are any nearby aircraft! We can carry 17 jumpers at a time, or fly as light as six jumpers, if we need to turn the load around in a hurry.
So, in late October, we got an awesome new airplane, and I learned that sailing in the Atlantic when the winds are at 27 knots, is just begging for trouble! I think I will stick with flying and skydiving. Come and visit us, and you will see just how terrific VSC is for everyone, from first time students to the most seasoned veteran. See you there.
Virginia Skydiving Center, LLC