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Throwback Thursday – Moe Viletto

Written by Kolla

Moe Viletto is well known as a BASE jumping legend, but he has of course spent a bit of time around regular good ‘ole skydiving too.  The “‘ole” being the keyword here.  See below.

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Photo above: 1973ish..Z Hills Turkey boogie..Team name “Pittsburgh Pollution”..Front row,far right is Bobby Brown who held the record number of jumps in a day;101. All on rounds, many were 28 ft C-9’s. Me at 21,and fresh out of the Army, front center. I had 2 back to back mals on this trip on Russian PC’s.
In those days aircraft spotting and judging were done from the ground using telemeters. In the plane we would get the following commands.”STAND BY, STAND BY, STAND BY” Then we would line up and wait for “EXIT, EXIT, EXIT”. We were in the rear of the plane and first to exit. We had a team-mate named Bob Stanley. Some one from the front of the plane was trying to get his attention and yelled his name 3 times over the roaring engines of the Loadstar “ Stanley, Stanley, Stanley.” Jokingly a voice spouted “Exit,exit,exit”. We lined up and bailed out. We landed in a cow pasture 24 miles away. The female owner scolded us. “ You tell your commanding officer to notify me when you are going to drop so I can put my cattle inside so they don’t get frightened.”

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Above: Pittsburgh Pollution mid 70’s. Note the single piggyback rig.They were just becoming popular. That was our own twin beech. It doubled as a club house. We would play musical drop zones and take off from various airports, depending where the good weather was and land in farmers fields; party in the Beech at day’s end. Note the plastic reserve ripcord handles. They would snap off in the cold and leave that lil silver ball to yank on. The main Capewell releases just loved to snag reserve pilot chutes after a cutaway. 

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Above: Early 1970’s jumping my brand new Mini System; one of the first “ modern” sport rigs, after military surplus. The high-mounted reserve attachment was a big innovation. Surplus models left you suspended just above the hips for a horrible body position on opening and landing. If you had the strength after the reserve opened, you could grab the left and right line groups , pull up and lodge the lines behind your arm pits and shoulder blades to allow for a feet first landing. Motor cycle helmets were common. The Frankenstein boots were hinged fore and aft, had elastic laces and 2 layers of rubber sandwiching a pocket of air. The svelte curved front mount reserve would totally container lock every time I would pull it on the ground for a repack. A sharp punch with both hands would displace the forces holding it shut and then the pilot chute would launch. The mantra was “Pull, Punch, Pray.”  I pulled this reserve 9 times in the air but never had to punch it…or pray….to Superman.

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1 Comment

  • Great stuff, My era of skydiving. I had a 28 foot lopo that had been a Navy team canopy, then a competition PC that I destroyed in a malfunction, And my last round was an american papillon.

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