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Skydiving Reunion : 7 March 2009
By Jeff Ayliff D374 and Terryl Cliffe D342

Hi everyone

We’d just like to say a belated “thank you” once again to everyone that took the trouble to join us at Wonderboom for the SA Skydiving Reunion. We had approximately 350 visitors during the course of the day and evening, including many of the legends of the past. Virtually everybody was making contact with friends that they had not seen since they left skydiving, and it was truly rewarding to see some of the emotion that happened on the day as former teammates and friends reunited!

R17 000 of bar sales goes a little way to telling the story of the evening, and we have confirmed orders for about 130 T-Shirts, so thanks again to all for the support.

If I may have just one small gripe, we had bucket loads of promises for all those amazing stories that were going to be submitted for the history book, but we are still watching and waiting! So, an appeal again folks, please set aside just one evening, and write us your short accounts of those great moments in skydiving that you feel  are worthy of being kept in history, with photographs where possible!

The “Bird men” after their demo jump, with Peter Hazelhurst who did the first ever bird man jump in 1956

A reminder again, the stories can be sad, happy, funny, victorious, and can cover any aspect of your career that you feel was something that will make interesting reading.

Please send all information to only one address:

If anyone is still interested in purchasing reunion t. shirts, please contact me at the above email address for an order form and banking details.

Blue Skies

Terryl D342 and Jeff D374

Group of the old boys who started jumping in the Sixties ... possibly also a few from the Fifties

The Seventies

The Eighties

Some stories to inspire you to put pen to paper:

Submitted by: Tania Garcia-Warner a.k.a. “Spin Queen”, Citrusdal B2137

I had my Instructors totally confused because no matter how hard I arched I just seemed to spin faster and faster. Not that it bothered me much, I was only on my 10 second delay freefall and because it was the only way I had experienced freefall it felt quite normal. The only problem was that the Instructors were freaking out, and I was disappointed weekend after weekend as they would not allow me to go onto the next level. They really did try to help me but all they could tell me was to “arch harder” which I duly did. I remember correctly I did about 10 or 15 ten second delay freefalls !!

Many an Instructor followed me down, and once we reached the ground, they looked pale and confused and I was grinning with exhilaration.

So finally some sparky decided to follow me down with a camera and what we saw made even my jaw drop. I haven’t mentioned yet that I was a ballerina – having completed a 3 year diploma at UCT meaning I am (or was) very supple. So, what was happening was that each time they told me to arch harder, my body bent further back until as per the video I was practically bent in half, backwards …….I was making myself into a freefalling spinning top …..I was then told to “arch less” !!


My Skydiving career began in the days of the round canopies, the C9 (alias C Nasty) as well as the old military T10. The year was 1983 the 12th March – the day Pietersburg Parachute Club turned six years old.

It was a few dives later, that my landings became entertaining. On one particular weekend I had to endure our pilot, Trevor Wilson asking me “which tree do you want to land in now – I’ll take you there !!”…….I had landed in trees after two consecutive jumps !

My most memorable being my hangar landing …..late afternoon … strong wind …..C9. Exited beautifully, headed toward the club..…Whoa, What Club ?? Narrowly missing the control tower I prayed that I would not land on someone’s car. I couldn’t afford to pay for damages! The next moment my vision was filled with a hangar hurtling towards me. Miracle upon miracle, I landed neatly in a sitting position atop the roof – the nails about 2” long (I know, my sisters designer jeans having a neat tear on the backside).

As I was thanking my lucky stars, the unthinkable happened. The wind inflated the chute, promptly pulling me off the hangar where I landed in a cloud of dust face down on the ground !!

All I remember is that I was seriously winded and couldn’t reply to the Pilot (the late Johan “Dippies” Dippenaar) asking “Is jy alright?”

Ten o clock that night, I was ‘sipping’ beers with my fellow comrades around the bar – still hauling dirt out of my ears.

I would like to end this with a fair comment from our Instructor Garry Wilkinson (D295) leading a group of whuffos (potential jumpers), he casually turned to them and stated “Now watch this landing …..this is how you don’t land !!”