The 90’s became the first time a separate skydiving school was developed for training students. In 1991 Dave Ropp and Ruth Sondheimer began Skydive Westpoint, Inc. and began training students in a separate trailer from the old club house. Their school continued to grow and increase in business over the next four years until both Dave and Ruth were killed in the 1995 Queen Air plane crash. After a few months, the school started up again with new owners Benny and Terrie Sherman, who renamed the school Westpoint Skydiving Center. They owned the school for four years before selling the school to Jim Crouch in April, 2000 and the school was renamed to its current name: West Point Skydiving Adventures.
This is from summer 1992 with Michael Gelardi getting stepped on by a group of beautiful women. From left to right are: Becky Smith, Melissa Wirt, Joanna Smith, Jane Marchant, Sandy Wambach, Carol Clay, Judy Augustine, Robbie Conner, and Ruth Sondheimer.
Sadly the ’90’s proved to be a trying decade for the Peninsula Skydivers and after decades of good fortune and good times we suffered through several tragic events.
Peninsula Skydiver’s most difficult time came with the crash of the Queen Air. On September 10, 1995 just before sunset our Queen Air carrying 11 jumpers lost power in the right engine and stalled at about 300 feet. The plane crashed into the back of Reverend Vincent Harris’ house, killing him and the 11 on board the airplane. On the plane were Gina Arbogast, Nick Christian, Mike Faulkner, “T” Isherwood, Brett Jordan, Ches Judy, Jim Pratt, Pierre Richard, Dave Ropp, John Shaw, and Ruth Sondheimer. This was an incredibly difficult time for all the families and club members. There was a memorial service at West Point for all the families on September 23 and the press was allowed limited coverage. The prior weeks had been a zoo with the media as they swarmed the airport trying to get a story. Over 500 people attended the memorial service. Club members looked weary after the previous 2 weeks of traveling across the Mid Atlantic to the individual services, planning the West Point Memorial and working, all at the same time. Their memories will stay with those that knew them forever.
More difficult losses occurred during the 90’s including the loss of Jane Marchant in a private plane crash with her husband, Sandy Wambach was killed in a July 18, 1998 freefall collision during the World Record attempts at Skydive Chicago and finally Bill Kenny, who was killed on November 14, 1998 after a total malfunction on his main at Skydive Orange. Bill was 71 and still skydiving hard at the time of his death.
But we continue on as Skydive The Point and carry the memories and stories of all those wonderful people with us.