ABOVE: Brigade during a previous jump over Lake Dora (photo supplied by Chris Stephens)
It’s guaranteed to be an uncommon and impressive sight. Over eighty Airborne “jumpers” parachuting from a vintage Douglas C47 into Lake Dora doesn’t happen every day.
The jumps, organized by Phantom Airborne Brigade, will feature 88 total jumpers that are former military Airborne members and one active duty member of the military. The vintage military plane being used, Tico Belle, dropped troops on D-day in Normandy and is now based in Titusville.
The recreational Brigade, based in Zephyrhills, will have four airlifts with 22 jumpers per flight. The first jump is expected between 10 and10:30 a.m. After each lift there will be a 20 to 30 minute break for the plane to return to Leesburg airport to pick up the next lift of jumpers. The drops will start near the west end of Lake Dora near Tavares and continue east toward the center for the lake.
The group chose Lake Dora because it seemed to be one of the best lakes for public viewing. The drop area is a safe distance from observers and is closest to Wooton Park and Kalua Beach Bar, according to Chris Stephens, the event organizer.
The jumpers will descend over Lake Dora and be plucked from the water by volunteer boaters that will have attended a safety briefing prior to participating.