It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s unbridled jackassery

Hi again!

I’ve had two memorable flights since my last post. One for all the right reasons, the other for all the wrong ones.

First the good one. I flew to the coast for the very first time as a pilot. It was beautiful! Have a look:

Now for the bad one. My lesson today involved practicing my instrument skills with the hood on. After a while my instructor told me to take the hood off, figure out where I was and navigate back to my home airport.

I began the 5 Cs of lost procedures (climb, circle, conserve, communicate, confess) and just after I pulled back my power to conserve my fuel and consulted my sectional something whizzed past my windshield.

“What…was that a bird?” I asked.

A split second later there was another. Less than 100 feet away a man in skydiving goggles dropped from the top of my windshield to the bottom.

I looked out my side window. Yup, a group on skydivers below…and above still?

CFI #5 grabbed the controls and turned the plane on it’s side. We both wildly searched the sky above us.

Nothing.

No plane. No skydivers. Just blue sky as far as the eye could see.

It was eerie. There was no radio call. There were no NOTAMS that day for it. Not a word. Not a hint that people would be dropping out of the sky above us. And just for good measure I have to add: who drops parachute jumpers where two Victor airways intersect without taking a few seconds to clear with ATC that there aren’t other planes in the area?!

It did, however, help me locate my position on the sectional.

Eureka! We must be where that little parachute icon is located!

So if you are a pilot out there and you find yourself in the vicinity of Molina, OR (a few NM SE of the class D Aurora State airport) head’s up: there is an organization called Skydive Oregon that I have learned is begrudgingly known in the area for dropping skydivers without clearing the airspace, making a radio call, or giving a damn about anyone else in the sky. I believe the official aviation vocabulary for this type of behavior is jackassery.

And if you are thinking of jumping with Skydive Oregon, you might want to reconsider unless the idea of being sliced in two by a propeller is part of your skydiving fantasy.

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2 thoughts on “It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s unbridled jackassery

  1. When I flew up to Seattle from Santa Monica I crossed over that airport and it was referred to as “Skydive Oregon.” As in, “You are ten miles south of Skydive Oregon, no targets between you and the airport.”

    Am I correct that you are saying that your CFI steered you into an area MARKED on the chart to have skydiving activities, without getting a transponder code and talking to a controller?

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    • I suppose so. He said there should have been NOTAMS about it and there weren’t, and that we were listening on the frequency where they would have announced skydiving activities and they didn’t. Our transponder was on at the time set to 1200.

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