Life As A Skydiving Airplane

Monday, June 26, 2017

As a young airplane, just 52 years old, with an upholstered not yet duct-taped interior, and sporting a plethora of seats (so many seats, more than you’ve ever seen in your life) the 85D (a Cessna 182) was purchased by Tim Allen in 2008 and transported to Frontier Skydiving. Here would begin the journey of transformation that changed the aircraft forever into a magnificent littleskydiving airplane.

Skydiving airplane at WNY Skydiving
The skydiving airplane that started it all

Bright-eyed and aluminum-tailed, 85D arrived on the scene, ready to work. It was unaware that first, an agonizing makeover had to take place. Door ripped from its hinges, cutting metal, tearing fabric, and oh the seats! Gone forever were the comfy seats.

Being A Skydiving Airplane

But despite 85D’s trepidations, this new life turned out to be one of great joy. First, the aircraft began serving as a jump plane in June of 2008. It was then quickly, seamlessly and peacefully moved to the brand new drop zone, WNY Skydiving, in 2009. In between jump days at WNY Skydiving, 85D got to go fly other jumping friends at Rochester Skydiving in Albion. Soon, 85D was flying more than ever before. I mean really, more than any plane should fly, and flying harder too. They flew the shit out of that thing.

When Things Went Sideways

Skydiver packing parachute and 85D skydiving airplane
Skydiver packing parachute with family and 85D

Things were really looking up for 85D (no pun intended), and word came that the skydiving airplane would get to serve at yet another airport. WNY Skydiving would move to Bethany Airport in 2014. Bethany was an interim location while Tim located a more permanent home for the dropzone. More excited than ever before (I mean what skydiving airplane doesn’t want to operate off of a grass runway?), 85D made the trip to Bethany, not yet knowing how this move would change its life forever.

On 85D’s very first flight at the new airport, the evil, clumsy, villain of our story, Jimmy Two Times, murdered the unsuspecting 85D with a windsock. 85D felt the gust, but being an inanimate object, was unable to do anything to prevent the crash and relied on its “pilot” to protect it. Alas, the windsock tore through the wing and grounded 85D forever.

Our skydving airplane 85D in retirement
The 85D still having fun in retirement!

With a heavy heart, Tim sold the remains of 85D to Kinger and Finger Lakes Skydivers in September of 2014, hoping only that one day he would see his plane again. But as luck would have it, in July of 2015, Tim bought 85D back and brought it home.

85D is Still Helping at WNY Skydiving

Missing its propeller, engine, tires, struts, step, pilot seat, tail, wings, and anything else that would make it remotely useful as an airplane, the fuselage from the mighty 85D has now been retired behind the hangar at the Pine Hill airport, serving out the rest of its harrowing life as half of a mock up.

Come check it out at your next skydive with WNY Skydiving!

Follow WNY Online

Get news and updates in your inbox!