Airport/Facility ID :  CFJ
Facility Key :   05210.*A
Facility Type :  AIRPORT
City :  CRAWFORDSVILLE (04 miles S)
State :  IN
Lattitude/Longitude :  39.975125/-86.920477777778 (Estimated)
Elevation :  799 ft. (Surveyed)
Magnetic Variation :  02W
Current Owner address :  ROUTE 7 - BOX 4, CRAWFORDSVILLE IN 47933
Current Owner telephone :  317-362-0907
Current Manager :  DARIN SCHROEDER
Current Manager address :  RT 1 BOX 59, NEW ROSS IN 47968
Current Manager telephone :  317-362-0707
Sectional :  ST LOUIS
Control tower :  None
Lights :  DUSK-DAWN
Segmented circle :  Yes
Beacon :  CG
Landing fee : None
UNICOM :  122.800

In 1973 PI decided to move west again and open a DZ near a major metropolitan area that wasn't already taken by another DZ.  They chose Crawfordsville, Indiana which is about about 45 minutes to an hour NW of Indianapolis.  The usual route was take Hwy 74 and cut off to North Union on 234 trhu xx to North Union which is a little village on the SE corner of the airfirld.

It was also the highest DZ PI operated, though 799 feet ASL really isn't that high compared to DZ's in Colorado and New Mexico.

Crawfordsville is a college town of about 50,000 (then) and jumping by college students was big in the 70's, more so than now.  The C'Ville airport is on Rt 231 about 10 minutes south of the city center.  It has a single runway and the landing area was located in the SE half of the airport.

C'Ville wasn't as lavish as Orange or especially Lakewood and only had a small office, small makeshift class room but did have the full standard wood mock up of the Norseman for exit training and a PLF training platform.

The whole airport was surrounded by cornfields and oddly the Center used 7-TU's which above sea level didn't exacyly let you down easy.  7-TU's were not that uncommon for students then even at the high ASL DZ's and the argument of the day was between getting the student into a soft safe area with a 21fps decent TU or in a more general area with a Telsan Rurn LoPo or a surplus 28' with a Double-L cut in it at 16fps.  However a good student could do quite well with a Tern or Dbl-L and my personal accuracy with a Tern was about 30 foot average once they let me do the flying and  66 feet with a Double-L in high winds.  I went to a 5-TU on my 20th jump at a 1100' ASL DZ and after 7 bone crushing jumps sold it.

Anyway, one suspects that the TU's might have been used LoPo's discarded in favor of a new Paracommander and could be bought up cheap by PI.

The first manager was Dan Ivey, who also flew 795 "Red Lead" to C'Ville to open the Center.  He and Lee Levenson did most of the training and jumpmastering that first season with Dan and Ron Anusiewicz flying the Norseman.

In the second season, they sent Dan Ivey to open up Elsinore and they also brought the Norseman back to Orange.  We believe it was replaced by 853.  Bill Mehr recalls

"One story that I remember about Crawfordsville was when I was asked to go out there and bring a Norseman back to Orange. Rueben Lee was working full-time for PI at that time and he went along for the ride. We launched out of Crawfordsville on a very hazy, summer day. Like 2-3 miles visibility. Now, these aircraft had no nav equipment other than a compass. Rueben and I soon became lost. A strong SW wind did not help our dead reckoning. A miracle occurred. We found an airport. Did you ever land at an airport  and climb out of an airplane and ask, 'where are we?' Very embarrassing. But, once we found out where we were, we paid much more attention to business and found our way back to Orange. The day grew hazier in late afternoon and we became lost again but that old friendly Quabbin showed up beneath us and I made a strong 90 degree turn to the left to get home!"


At this point in time we are trying to find out the closing date of Crawfordsville.

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Project PI is an online collaborative effort to document the first commercial parachute company, Parachutes Incorporated, its 5 DZ's, it's 15 aircraft and as many of the personalities that worked or jumped there that we can find.  Anyone may contribute with stories, information and photographs and are encouraged to do so. Click on the logo above to send e-mail to Thom Lyons, Project coordinator in Melbourne, Australia