Above: Phatom Airborne Brigade jump over Lake Dora on May 1, 2021 (Mount Dora Buzz photo)
It’s arguably the most impressive sight ever seen over Lake Dora. Last May, as a vintage military plane roared overhead, dozens of Airborne “jumpers'' parachuted into Lake Dora. On October 9, the jumpers will return, but this time approximately 100 daredevils will jump during multiple passes over the lake. The jumps, organized by Phantom Airborne Brigade, feature former military Airborne members parachuting from the Tico Belle, a vintage Douglas C-47 that dropped troops on D-day in Normandy and is now based in Titusville. The recreational brigade, based in Zephyrhills, will have multiple airlifts with approximately 25 jumpers per flight. The first jump is expected at approximately 10:30 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 of the Tavares side of the lake.
Previously 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. Follow Mount Dora Buzz on Instagram. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, visit the area's websiteand download the area's free mobile app.