I was really happy to get an email form Pop one day. He had tripped on my web page, liked it,
and had a few comments.
Below is a short exchange of e-mails between Pop and I.
He clarifies a few things about SFPI and updates us a little on his family.
If you knew him I'm sure you'll enjoy.
From: Paul Poppenhager To: William Robinson Sent: Wed, July 18, 2012 3:43:58 PM Subject: Web Page
Hey Bill, I just ran across your web page while looking for another site. Wow,great job and very
impressive. You have lived a busy constructive life and that makes me honored to have known you .
Are you retired from the work force yet ?How many young ones are in the house ?
I know you were smarter not to have 6 like me however, I would'nt trade them for anything.They
have all done well in life an some took longer than others!!!
Our FF First jump course was approve by USPA 3/70 and I had to send the BOD an annual report for
the first 10 yrs.We were the only DZ in the USA that had the approval.
I still work on airplanes (mainly annual inspections).and try to skydive 2 weekends a month at
Palatka.Just had 2nd class medical renewed and it will probably be my last one since I will be over
80 when it expires.( if I make till then ).......
Love your site....Lots of good memories..
From: William Robinson To: Paul Poppenhager Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:47 AM Subject: Re: Web Page
I'ts really great to hear from you, and to hear you are of course still active. With your
permission I'll add your information to my web site. Did you teach FF First jump prior to 3/70?
Anything else I should include? Any other incorrect memories on my part?
Any news from Paul Jr and the rest of the family?
I'm still working, I'm now at a small company called Sonavation, we are working on fingerprint
sensors. Nancy and I have been married about 17 years and have one child Elizabeth who is 13 now.
Elizabeth keeps me very busy, currently we are fighting, and fighting over, algebra. She is in a
few of the pictures in the wood working section of my web site.
It's you that needs to be thanked, without you there would not be any memories of SFPI and
Thanks for everything,
Paul (Pop) Poppenhager with his daughters Peggy and Patty day of their 1st jump 05/23/1981
From: Paul Poppenhager To: William Robinson Sent Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:28:13 AM
Bill, You can add any info I have to your web.
I always thought Static Line parachute jumps were a waist of time and only tought PLF's based on my
personal experience of being a Paratrooper.I believe if you are told you have to pull a ripcord to
open the parachute (you WILL ).In 1961 I was training 5 Cuban (Castro defectors) to infiltrate Cuba
at nite from 5000'. I new that altitude of 5000' was out of the question for a SL at that height.I
did not speak spanish and they could'nt speak english.I was given an interpreter and permisstion to
go FF!!! Gave them a day of practicing Ripcord pulls,Main & Reserve,reading the Altimeter,pulling
@ 1200',canopy steering (28' blank gore),and FLF's....2nd day,2hrs refreshing,1st jump,pulls were
between 2&4,000' ,1jumper out of control pulled 4000',2nd jumper stable pulled 2000',3rd jumper
pulled 1000'stable rolled on pull,4th jumper stable w/slow left turn pulled reserve (wrong RC !!)
@ 1500'..........Each made 5 jumps in 2days , all got better with each jump and were pulling in the
900/1200' range...........and were within 200 meters from target !!! And they all pulled there
RIPCORD even though 1 pulled the wrong one.
NOTE; These records are from 4/61 and faded.the 5th jumpers sheet is missing.
Over 30,000 aircrew members pulled their ripcords and were saved during WW2. I tryed for many years
for PCA/USPA to allow me to do a FF program.I was told by Dan Poynter they gave me the waiver because
the thought I was going to go FF anyhow....How true!!
Paul lives in Homestead,Fl. is married and has the same job 21yrs.Works for the EVERGLADES ALLIGATOR
FARM as airboat mechanic,driver,and manager.I made a jump at clewiston with him and Smitty on Pauls
45th BD and 2000th jump.That was over 3yrs ago and he has'nt jumped since.
Suzanne My oldest (59) worked in IRAQ 4yrs as a contractor along with her 2 Sons.Made lots of money
and is retired.Lori works in DC at the Pentigon approves Radio freqencies for the Military,will
retire next year has 3 grown children.Peggy is still in Indiantown owns a beauty shop and road
building company with her husband.They have 2 grown boys.She used to do Ronda's hair!!! Patty lives
in Panama City,Fl. is a property manager for a large Corp.She has 2 grown children.And finally theres
Julie who is married to an Oral Surgeon and lives in Tulsa,OK. No kids. I don't need anymore Grandkids
anyhow !!! I see the all often.
I really missed Soaring, there were a couple clubs in the aera but all went under by the time I could
take time for it.I was jumping at Zhills occationally and they have a Glider operation on the field.I
went down to jump with some friends for a weekend so I went over to the gliders on Sunday morning and
got recertifyed.Had a good time but it was to scary trying to consentrate on finding lift with all
the Skydivers in the air (40/50 at a time) and all the lift was on the wind line!!!
Don't know if you know or not that Carol and I were divorced in 93.I remarried in 94 to Marie
(a nurse) retired now.Carol and I were married 39yrs.The Kids were really hurt about the divorce.
She passed away last November from cancer at 75.
well,cant think of any other news and have to get to Airport.
Paul (Pop) Poppenhager, 1st solo in a glider 09/13/1981
If you know Pop you may find these links interesting