Although the Conatsers were not of the skydivers’ ilk, they understood and appreciated their passion for flight, and began cultivating a new passion of their own.
Word spread of their willingness to learn more, and the happy-go-lucky pack grew. It didn’t take long for the Conatsers to realize that the stunning Howard “jump plane” they’d bought (along with its plush velvet interior) was unsuitable for their new endeavor. By 1977, the Conatsers were investing in bigger and better planes: Beeches, DC3s, a Skyvan, and a Twin Otter. They dug a swimming pool, built bathrooms, and added a makeshift restaurant and bar that – once camouflaged in a mix of paint – was known as The Bombshelter.
And so it went. The creative, charismatic skydivers continued to give the Conatsers ideas, and they continued to oblige. “I was just so totally impressed by skydivers. And I still am,” Diane said. The airfield earned the nickname, The Fun, Friendly Dropzone That Cares.