Gus Wing

Lydia Wing c/o Skydive Deland
1600 Flightline Dr. Deland, FL 32724

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I met Gus 10 years ago when I went to fulfil a childhood dream of learning to skydive, anyone who met him instantly had any fears allayed by the calm, joking and friendly way he spoke.

I was shocked to read in a newspaper in London of the tragedy that has befallen someone so inspiring, and such a fine example of a human being. From shooting a sh!tty game of pool on my first night in DeLand to critiquing my first landing the following morning Gus always had a ready smile and a wisecrack.

I look back with fondness to that time and would like to express my deepest condolances to Lydia and Gus' family and all @ Skyduve Deland.

It really does go to show the GOOD really do die young. Take care Gus and see you again someday.

Ian Walton
i4ian@hotmail.com

DAMN IT HURTS TO WRITE ABOUT THIS. DUDE U WERE MY FIRST CAMERA MAN. THE FIRST MAN I WANT TO SEE WHEN I GO TO DELAND. I EXPECT TO SEE U. WHEN MY EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT MET, I FLIP. RIGHT NOW IM FOLDED, BROKEN, METAL PIPE MELTED. STILL NEW TO JUMPING. U TOLD ME "WAIT, ITS TO WINDY" I NEVER JUMP  TO WINDY OR TO CLOUDY CUZ OF U. DAMN. HEART GOES OUT TO U AND FAMILY. BIG BABTIST BOY HERE, U KNOW MY PRAYERS WILL BE STRONG FOR U. MAN RIGHT NOW THINKING OF YOUR LUAGHTER. YO GUS. BECAUSE OF MY GREED I MISS YA. ONE LOVE MAN. U KNOW U WERE MY FIRST FRIEND I EVER MADE UP THERE IN DELAND.

LOVE U MAN- LIFE ON EARTH GOES QUICKER THAN WE DROP- LIFE ABOVE THE CLOUDS AND RAINBOW... I DON'T KNOW NOT THERE YET BUT IM SURE WE WILL FLY MANY MORE TIMES BUDDY. ONE LOVE

               YOUR BOY -HENNY

Harjenis the lovin menace
hennyba18@hotmail.com

Even though I didn't get the honor to meet Gus and have just a few dives, I know his legacy will endure in the sport and live on in the lives of everyone who knew him.

Eternal BLUE SKIES Gus.

Michael Minor
Michael_K_Minor@raytheon.com

Gus - a gentle man in every sense.
The relaxed grin, the calm persona, the wonderful chuckle.
What a great man, what a great loss....but what a great, great legacy he left behind.

Lydia - I love and admire you, your strength is an inspiration to me.

Rosi Sigmon
rosibint@yahoo.com

Just wanted to say that Gus and his family are in all our thoughts and prayers here in Texas. I never meet Gus but from what I've read he was a great person and skydiver. I'm sure Gus is still jumping but in a much better sky.

Gabe
movinlow@yahoo.com

In the way-back times, when "high-performance" canopies were relatively new some of us were standing around on the DZ deck - what there was of one then. Gus says, and I paraphrase - "these guys aren't finishing their flares. Look, they flare and get the canopy planed out and then give up. Just start running. They don't come close to getting their arms straight. You don't have to run. All you have to do is finish flaring." And he proceded to analyze most of the rest of the load, many of whom thought they were shit-hot, but hadn't gotten the flare right yet.

So these days, as my toes are skimming the grass, I think about finishing my flare.

Then there was a time, in the last couple years, when I pulled my Stilleto around a 180 with the front riser, planed it out, dragged a foot all the way thru the pea pit and finished my flare. I thought I had it right on. I went and dropped my stuff in the hangar and was all happy with myself. I walk in the restaurant and there's Gus giving me that crooked finger wag and sideways smile: paraphrasing again " You were pretty steep on that one."  I had a furrowed brow, I'm sure.  Photo by Gus WingI questioned him back,  he made his point then walked away. All quite friendly. Then Lydia walked by and patted me on the belly and said " We want you around for a long time:" That introduced some healthy self doubt in my flying that led me to ask more questions of people I respect, find the problem with the way I was swooping, and to keep analyzing my own flying.

And recently, we'd been discussing wind tunnel design. I'm always happy to hear informed input, and Gus had his share, for sure. I was looking forward to flying with him in the tunnel.

I wouldn't say that Gus was a good friend of mine, we didn't spend enough time together for that. But my skydiving and safety improved vastly due to maybe a combined 2 minutes with him. The DZ is a lesser place without him.

Photo Caption: Myself flying over the Deland DZ quite a few years ago. I didn't realize Gus was framing this shot with the whole DZ in the background until I saw the print. One of my favorites.

Big John
johng3592@mindspring.com

Gus was a very special part of our lives. He made our first jump spectacular! My sister and I are attaching a special clip of Gus, please share it with his loved one's and know that he is still in our hearts and memories.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who knew Gus, he was an amazing man.

Love,
Doug & Tina
djsatan@earthlink.net

I am a low timer from Vermont  and have been to Deland about 10 times. Every single time I ended up talking to Gus. I never had him as in instructor or photographer but he always took time to talk to me about the sport and safe practices. He was very genuine, real, and honest.  The most approachable person at the DZ. I hardly knew Gus but he is one  of my most positive influences as a skydiver. I am so sorry for everyones loss. Thank you Gus for making a difference in my life.

Mike Millstone D-27091
mike@bundygallery.com

Over the last seven years, we (myself and wife) have shared many rides to altitude with you. And while we might have not communicated in abundance, your presence was always felt and appreciated.

You will be missed.

Matthias and Angelika
mpohl@matthiaspohl.com

Dear Lydia,

I am so very sorry to hear of your loss!!!If you remember me, I worked at The Perfect Spot 2003-2004(I was pregnant at the time)...I always enjoyed listening to Gus talk about Photography and His Loving Wife he adored so very much***** He was the first person I met when I went Skydiving for the first time (before I worked there) and he did a beautiful tandem video that day for me, I will never forget him!! He was a Joy to be around and a Good Man!!! He will forever be up in "The Clouds of Heaven" watching over you and the ones he loved so much.

With Sincerity & Love,
Gretchen R. Hansen
PicturePerfectG@aol.com

In January Gus did a video he called "The Jean & Janet Show" of the two of us on our first skydive. Meeting Gus and the skydive are two memorable moments in our lives that we will never forget. He laughed and talked and kept our minds from worrying about what we were about to do. He made it an awesome experience for us.

Thanks for the memories, Gus.
millimanj@yahoo.com

I talked with Gus almost everyday from late '03 to early '04.  He was usually the first face I saw when the day started, "Big day, big day", was the mantra. On slow days he was always in the store talking about wind tunnels, jump suits, cameras and skydiving history. I'll never forget the story about a french cameraman that was set to jump with 10 feet of cable hanging out of his suit.

Blue skies Gus, you taught me so much and I never got the chance to thank you for it.

Ben Wallace
anyjoe@angryforlife.com

I will see you in the land of light, fair winds, and the company of all skydivers.

You have left an indelible inspiration for youg and old alike.

Ty Zellers BMCS (SEAL), USN, Ret,
D-1068, POPS 2,000, SOS 900
tyzellers@comcast.net

Two things I will always associate with Gus: The summer of 94 he, Gareth Evans and Vinca (?) came from the Ranch with Kim Emerson to visit me in Vermont. We all spent a hot and sunny day at Jamaica Falls, eating, drinking, reading, napping and swimming naked in the breathtakingly cold water in the mountains. We returned home to my house and a storm with 80 mph straight winds. It was time out of time. What I took away from that time with Gus was his love and appreciation for magnets and Pustefix bubbles - the 'best' brand. Connection and light. Sublime. Always thinking...He was a friend to Kim and I thank him for that.

"What do you mean I'm not going to see him again?!" was the first thought that my mind grasped for when Kim came upstairs and told me, "Gus Wing is dead." The shock and grief on his face... I counted on seeing Gus again and having him enjoy our daughter Stella and to enjoy with him his love found with Lydia. I was so happy when I heard from Kim that Gus, too, had found someone to love and love him and that he blossomed in it.

This community, and Gus particularly, has given us incredible life.
And unbelieveable death.

Magnets and bubbles. I weep.

Thank you.

Katie Emerson-Hoss
stellamama@earthlink.net

GUS WING...what a guy he was and still is !. He just had that laugh that will stay with me for ever and many others too.

I first met Gus when I was camera man on the Red Devils in Deland around 1991 but really got to know him better later on, our paths crossed many times over the years, once in France when he was working with Patrick De Gar. We did a parachute display into the centre of Gap town, Gus landing perfectly on the centre of the cross. (But who would have expected anything else from Gus...!) Gus's sense of humour was second to none. He once watched me land on my face outside the hangar in Deland (me trying to be super cool). Gus said "Hey, there you go Dave, one minute you're a king and the next minute you're down in the dirt like a pauper"  He walked off with that unforgettable laugh we all know.

Gus also came and took some great photographs of people very special to me. Harry, my twin brother doing his AFF over Deland and my girlfriend, Lizzie (or Elizabeth as Gus always called her) on her first AFF jump.

Not so long ago, Gus told me how much he loved Lydia and his exact words were "She's the most beautiful, graceful thing I have ever seen falling through the air" For Gus to say this one guy to another must mean that he truly loved her.

Gus was, undoubtedly, "one of the nicest people on the planet".

Our thoughts were with Gus and we gave a toast in his memory over the starlit sky of Australia. I can still hear him laugh now.

Dave Mitchell
kaymitchell2004@hotmail.com

I was very privileged to have Gus photograph my very first skydive in Deland. I was at the beginning of my AFF course with Jon Turner and Dave Mitchell and I will never forget Gus's positive attitude. I have him on my video after I'd landed saying "Elizabeth, you're a skydiver now, God bless you" and I did feel blessed.

Later in the bar, Gus came over and told me I was a "vicious backslider". That made everyone laugh!

Later on my course, one of my jumps didn't go so well and I was completely unstable, kicking and screaming, as you do. It scared me, but Gus gave me wise words. He told me the definition of an adventure. He said "its just a disaster that you look back on!" Its something that I have never forgotten and although I only met Gus a few times, he is one of those special people who inspire you and make a difference to your life.

Gus will always be one of the good guys.

Lizzie (Elizabeth - Gus always used my full name) Kay
kaymitchell2004@hotmail.com

I met Gus only briefly while filming in Gap, France maybe 1993 - he was working with "GayHardon" - we shared a few drinks and he made me laugh almost all the time - can say I was a friend but my memories are warm - this is horrid news - please accept my deepest sympathy.

Scott Dougall

Gus was also quick witted. Ready with a comeback if needed. It was early Spring. 1991 or '92 or so and Gus had been to Daytona or Flagler beach getting some warmth and some sun. Serious sun. He was a tad red, that virgin sun bather red. After he got back to the DZ at the end of the jumping day, Gus came up to Gareth Evans and me standing by the packing hangar. (we had work that day after all. No luxury trip to the beach fopr us) Gareth took one look at Gus and said, with a sneer and some condesension, "Tourist!" To which Gus, without a pause, put his hands on his hips (just like in the picture on this site of him at SkyQuest) and cut back, "Tourist attraction!" Damn near leveld us right there. Gus laughed at himself with that one. And he made me laugh when he'd come running through 'tent city' yelling for me in the middle of the night to come out and play. We'd already closed the airport bar as it was. But he'd go plodding through the tents - entering the wrong one once - calling out, "Commie Yankee!" demanding I come out and keep pace.

The bubbles. Huge, special blend bubbles.
Gaffer's tape by the truckload.
He also jumped a ton of jumps with Niklas Gummeson and me, doing video, without once expecting pay because we were all working on something together. That was back when sit-flying was so new, the only Americans doing it were in DeLand. When the French (Phillipe Vallout) brought it over. Gus was front floating exits on his back, seated, so easily and readily. Though I do have a lot of video with his knees and Teva'd feet in the lower half of the frame.

Ah, Gus, Gus, Gus...
kim Emerson
stellamama@earthlink.net

It has been brought to my attention that I mispelled my tribute to Gus.I asked what part?

The person responded.." all of it! " Well, then perhaps they should look at my E-Mail Address.....hint hint...

Again , still saddened by this horriable disaster..no matter how it's spelled. I love you Gus and Bill,

Your friend,,,,forever,
Beth Bird 352-583-4334
Zippiethepinhead@yahoo.com

 I had the privilege of diving with Gus as my camera man last year, and I can honestly say I have never met a better person that was more excited about his job and  could not have made me feel any better about my first jump along with my two other friends. I have a video from him that now means more than anything to me and Gus narrates the whole thing and it's a comic show the whole time thanks to Gus. Anyway I know theres many people that know him a lot better then I and I had only met him for 1 dive and it still brings a tear to my eye to know he is gone. See you in heaven Gus

Ryan coombs
coombzisgod@hotmail.com

What a terrific guy.

Lydia, all i can send now is a big imaginary hug i always enjoyed hanging out with Gus, at deland, at competitions, and all. i guess the next time we hang out will be in heaven. all my love!

joe jennings

I didn't know Gus personally but jumped with folks who knew him - just wanted to send my condolences and love to Lydia and her family

peace
blue skies
breathe,live,love

Tom Ginsberg

If you love Gus, please take a moment to reflect joyfully on what an extraordinary pain in the butt he could be. Well, maybe he mellowed with age, but somehow when I see this photo of him with his hands on his hips and his head cocked to one side just so, I can tell he is just about ready to tell the whole DZ how you went low, or backslid or opened too low and nearly killed yourself or any of a thousand other screw-ups.  He never missed a thing.

Gus and I started jumping around the same time back in 1979, at Buckingham Parachute Center in Orange County, Virginia.  We did all of our "firsts" together. First 8-way, first night jump, first night 8-way, first 4-stack, 8-stack, night 4-stack and so on. We shared an apartment, and we met our wives at the DZ (his first, my second). And on many a beer soaked evening we were all forced to listen as Gus argued his point of view using some form logic that most reasonable life forms in this galaxy did not recognize or comprehend. But somehow he moved us. Most of those firsts at our little backwoods DZ would never have happened if Gus hadn't helped us believe in ourselves enough to try.  Yes, you were a pain sometimes, but now that you're gone the pain has moved to my heart. I'll miss you, Gus, but I know you're still around somewhere.  After all, it's another day, another opportunity in which to excel.

Dan Gillespie
daniel.gillespie@alcoa.com

 ... I've read this site so I've send some tears ....greetings from germany

Andy Wich
skydiver, pilot & with a big faible for the sky ..
andyfwich@aol.com

My deepest and most sincere thoughts to Gus' family, in particular to Lydia, and all my old friends at Skydive Deland, where I spent four amazing years of my life.

I moved back to Italy over two years ago but Gus, I will never forget you and the time I spent in Deland.  Thank you for everything I had the opportunity to learn from you.

Gian Claudio
gcguiducci@yahoo.it

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